Mumbai Food: Iftar at home with Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem

Updated: Jun 04, 2018, 08:17 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

Of chilled roohafzas, melt-in-mouth kebabs and Delhi tehzeeb, iftar for actor siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Salim is no different in Mumbai

Huma Qureshi and Saqib Salim
Huma Qureshi and Saqib Salim

At the Qureshi home in Greater Kailash, New Delhi, Ramzan is a special time reserved for family. Everyone gets together twice a day, for sehri or the simple pre-dawn meal and a lavish spread of iftar at dusk. The dastarkhwan table is laden with khajoor, Delhi special fruit chaat, a variety of pakodas, and an assortment of kebabs including shami, kakori, galouti and mutton seekh.

All this is to be washed down with fresh lemonade and a tall glass of Roohafza. But it's not the feast but the fast that remains Huma Qureshi and Saqib Salim's fondest memory. "We must have been seven [when we kept our first roza] old and there was excitement among all at home. We received special treatment. Our cousins came over bearing gifts. That first iftar was truly very special," remembers Huma.

Traditionally, fresh dates are eaten to break the fast
Traditionally, fresh dates are eaten to break the fast

The siblings moved to Mumbai a decade ago to pursue modelling and acting. Living together alone has brought them closer, they admit. And Ramzan is just the same here as it was in Delhi "because mom comes down, and creates the same environment we are used to having at home," says Saqib, excited about his Eid release, Salman Khan starrer Race 3.

Trained to perfection
Back home the two looked forward to their restaurateur father, bring back something special from our restaurant, Saleem's. "There was always a wide variety of kebabs," Saqib adds. Meanwhile, here, their cook has been trained by their mother to ensure the iftar spread is a generous one. "Saqib and I keep and break our fast together on most days. The table has a stock of khajoor that mom sources from a vendor in Delhi, and there's lassi which is a respite in Mumbai's weather. The preps begins as early as 3.30 am and the kitchen is buzzing till dish after dish is hurried to the table," says Huma.

Chaat
Chaat

Saqib is particularly fond of shammi kebabs and mutton seekh, which is why their home often sees the arrival of friends. "Our cook makes delicious shamis and mutton korma, although it's nowhere close to mom's. She is a Kashmiri and I for one, want to learn all the staple Kashmiri dishes including rogan josh and gostaba. She makes them like a pro!" says Huma.

The new order
Because Saqib was a cricketer, he is mindful of what he eats. And Huma does too because of what her profession demands of her. So, the two have made a few healthy tweaks to the iftar menu. The mutton korma is a thick gravy that is best mopped up with homemade parathas but the siblings prefer a dry version, so that it can be eaten from a bowl. The pakodas too have gone missing from their table and are replaced by homemade dhokla, black chana chat and sugar-free sweets. Sherbet is made with chia seeds, almond milk, stevia and cardamom. But when they are in the mood to indulge, they call for phirni from Bhendi Bazaar's Tawakkal Sweets.

Malai Kebabs. Pics/Sameer Markande
Malai Kebabs. Pics/Sameer Markande

Huma and Saqib's friends are free to bring their dishes, making it a pot luck of sorts. "It's fun when everyone comes together and breaks bread. Ramzan is a glorious time for togetherness a," says Huma. "Mom's signature haleem and biryani signature are quite the specialty. Our friends wait to try it."

Huma and Saqib's iftar tips:
Let there be lots of food, lots of love and lots of people. It's a different feeling to break your fast surrounded with the people you love.

Inform your guests that a fast is broken with dates at a specific time (the time may vary every day). Keep the plate at the centre of the group and pass them around so that everyone has at least one. Your invitees must be told about timings. Although iftar is a feast, it's not a party.

Keep an assortment of food around. Everyone has different dietary needs, so create a balance. Keep lots of fruit, lean cuts, grills, kebabs and healthy treats so that no one binges on unhealthy snacks.

Serve tea/green tea after iftaar. Your guests will need it!

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