The healthy Sehri

Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 11:07 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

With the holy month of Ramzan underway, home chefs who've made the shift to a healthier morning meal share recipes to get you through long summer days

As we enter the holy month of Ramzan, the most important question in every Muslim household right now is — 'What to make for Iftaar?' Synonymous with the daily feast after the fast, everyone desires a good spread, replete with fruits, sherbet, fried food, custard and falooda. However, little heed is paid to the most important meal of the month — the Sehri. This meal that is had before dawn is the one that sets the pattern for the 'fasting' day that is currently for 14 hours and hence, it must be had with caution. "Considering that there is very little movement during the lockdown, it is imperative to think of Sehri as a healthy meal that would not only help sustain the day but also avoid bloating and acidity. We usually include a lot of fruits and yoghurt, caramelised dates, bananas and porridges, but on the occasional craving, we do indulge in a kheema-roti combo," says home chef from Andheri, Mumtaz Kazi.

Ariyunda or rice energy balls

Home-chef Shaheena Banu is a doctor by profession, but her passion is cooking. In the past few years, she has been part of different home chef communities where she shares Malabari food with locals. Her favourite Sehri memories are from her hostel days when she would have Ariyunda; these rice energy balls, traditionally made across Kerala, would come to her rescue. "Ariyunda tastes awesome with a warm cup of tea. While I've switched to hibiscus tea now for its health benefits — Ariyunda is my quick-fix for Sehri as it is healthy and provides energy for long summer days,"
she adds.

1 cup red rice
1 cup grated coconut
3/4 cup jaggery
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
10 to 12 cashews/peanuts (optional)

Shaheena Banu

Dry-roast the washed and drained red rice for about 10 to 15 minutes until the rice puffs up. Once it cools down, put it into a blender and grind into a fine powder. Keep this aside. Now, add the rest of the ingredients to the same blender and blend well. Roll into small-to medium-sized laddoos. Keep these in an airtight container. It stays fresh up to a week at room temperature.

Sehri is the most important meal of the month of Ramzan as it sets the pattern for the fasting day and hence, needs to be healthy

Chicken oats haleem

Chicken oats haleem

This quick and easy dish is healthy because it is the right balance of good carbs and protein. "Inspired from my childhood memory of when my mother would make haleem for Iftaar and would reserve some for Sehri the next morning because it tasted better, I made this healthier option on the request of a friend who was on a diet. Chicken oats haleem is great when you crave for some spicy Indian food, but are still looking for a healthy option that can sustain you through the day. As children, we would get small portions to eat and would look forward to having it for Sehri," says Kazi, who is a home chef.

200 gm minced chicken
2 tbsp curd
1 big onion finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tbsp crushed green chillies
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander and jeera powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
100 gm roasted oats
Salt to taste


Heat oil; add the chopped onion to it and sauté until soft. Once that's done, add the ginger and garlic paste and the powdered masalas. Cook this for a few minutes. Now, add the minced chicken and curd, and cover and cook it for 10 minutes or until it is cooked. Add the roasted oats; cover the vessel and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes more until it forms a semi-thick consistency. Garnish with fresh coriander, mint leaves and serve with a dollop of ghee.

Haleem is a popular dish that is prepared during Ramzan. The chicken oats haleem is easy to make and has the right balance of good carbs and protein

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