Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Iftaar delights

So I promised a post on Iftaar items and here it is. For clarification Iftaar is the name for the food that's eaten at the breaking of fast. It could be anything, your usual dinner, salads, drinks etc but its Sunnah (practice of prophet pbuh) to open the fast with water and dates and thats what most muslims do. At our household, my we usually prepare various snack items and drinks. Here are some pictures of what we usually eat,
Pakoras - Its basically a gram flour preparation that's fried. Its high in calories so we restrict the amount we consume, but its really tasty. Its also a special favourite in the rainy season.

Black chick peas, cooked in spices and onions
These are lentils that are usually mixed with the black chick peas .

Dahi Baras - These are fried and boiled baras, made out of lentils, and then mixed with yoghurt. Spices are sprinkled on the top

A banana, pineapple and peach smoothie !


Kidney beans
Fruit chaat (Fruit Salad)

Egg halwa ( Its basically egg cooked in sugar and oil)

A little bit of everything
This is Rooh Afza - Its a herbal drink that's often favoured in iftaar.I got this picture from the net because I'm usually so thirsty that I gulp the entire glass down before I can actually take a pic :)    

These are just some of the items that are usually prepared for Iftaar in a typical Pakistani household.

PS - These pics were taken on various occasions. Its not that we eat all that in one day, the max we have is 5 - 6 items per day :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I have a lot to write about today but I think I'll just focus on one major thing. My activity this Saturday. I'm sure it was the best and the most rewarding Saturday in the history of Saturdays :)

Image courtesy - blog.ning.com
The floods have wrecked havoc in most parts of the country and it's time we took some social responsiblity. Many of my my friends are volunteering for the flood relief efforts, all in whatever capacity they can and so I thought I should play my part too. Mobashir, a friend had been volunteering for the Pakistan Medical Association and was involved in fund raising so the rest of us came up with a plan to help him out. We did a door to door fund raising campaign in the colony I live in. Maryam, Azka, Huzair, Hunain, Mobashir himself and I knocked almost 60 - 70 doors on Saturday morning and afternoon to collect Zakat and donations for the flood victims which shall be delivered to them in the form of medication and food items through the Pakistan Medical Association which has medical camps set up in the affected areas. We collected a staggering amount of around Rs 45 000 !!

And I really want to mention this guy whom we came across in the block next to mine. We knocked his door, and introduced ourselves to him ( Azka, Huzair and I, we did the campaigning in two teams) , he gave us and our cause a patient hearing and then when he handed me over the cash for donation , he refused to take the receipt for it by saying "Its all about trust" , smiled and then closed the door as I hurriedly thanked him. It really was inspiring to see that a total stranger was trusting me with his money just based on the few words of introduction I had given about myself and the cause !

Well, after a long tiring walk in the sunny afternoon all of us headed back to my home, offered our prayers, played board games, watched a movie and then did our Aftaar (breaking of fast at dusk)..

Not only was the aspect of doing something good very rewarding but we also had a lot of fun and it was a new experience all together. And the subsequent board game, movie, and aftaar session with my dear friends was the added hype and happiness :)

Zakat - The annual donation that affording muslims have to give as a religious obligation

PS - Keep visiting the blog cuz the next post shall be on Aftaar delights !! You dont wanna miss that :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Indepence day and Ramadan

There used to be a phrase "Time flies" which I think is totally invalid now, because time isnt just flying these days, its whizzing by at ultra sonic speed. Its just been a week since my last post and yet it seems like a gazillion years have gone by. So much has happened and so much has changed.
First of all, Ramadan greetings to everyone ! The month of Ramadan had a pleasant start for me on Wednesday as the moon was sighted ( The muslim calender is the lunar calender). I just got back from a friends birthday, and was with my bestie Uzma when the moon sighting commitee announced the month of Ramadan on the news, we greeted and hugged and got to see the moon together ( on the TV :), we just couldn't spot it in the sky).With Ramadan comes the fasting and worship and a change of lifestyle since all the eating and drinking is shifted from dusk to dawn instead of the other way round that usually happens the rest of the year. But I just love Ramadan its my favourite month of the year, filled with blessings, internal satisfaction and of course followed by Eid !!

Secondly, my dad had his birthday on the very first day of Ramadan. I brought home a Chocolate fudge cake on my way back from college and we celebrated it at Iftaar (breaking of fast). One important lesson I've learnt is that the best present for my dad is definitely good food. I'm sure even a blackberry wouldn't have made him as happy and excited as the cake did ! The saying "the way to a man's heart is through his mouth" proved itself right in my dad's case !

Thirdly, the flood has wrecked havoc in Pakistan and I don't remember seeing any situation this worse as long as I've lived here ! Millions have been displaced, the death toll is rising and not just that, diseases like Malaria, diarrhea, dysentry stand a risk of becoming epidemic in the displaced population. Its a relief to know that the Pakistan Army is diligently working to help the people, and I find great pride in the fact that the general population and citizens of Pakistan are actively donating to help the victims. My own college mates are busy in fund raising and are volunteering to make packages and parcels of life saving drugs, tents, kitchen utensils and other equipments to be delivered to the affected areas.

A man trying to save his children after losing everything in the floods

Fourthly, its the 14th of August today, the day Pakistan got its independence from the British ruled sub continent back in 1947, this day naturally holds great meaning and importance but this time there wont be any national celebrations since half the nation is in mourning and its our duty to stand in solidarity and sympathize with them as fellow Pakistanis..

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Top 21 feelings !

There are the best feelings I've ever had. I'm sure  you can relate to many of these

1 - Being surrounded by unknown people, feeling awkward and then suddenly seeing a familiar face, a friends face, and immediately being filled with warmth and happiness !

2 - Eating the last bit of my favourite chocolate fudge cake and still wanting more, being sad that its finished and then remembering "hey I stored some in another container in the fridge !!"

3 - Playing in the rain with friends or having a pillow fight !

4 - Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing I still have more time to sleep.

5 - Standing against harsh challenges, all tired and alone, but turning around to see that I'm not alone, I have an entire team of friends and family to support me..

6 - Having a child hold my finger and tug me to do something as harmless as opening the door for him/her.

7- Getting involved in an arguement with someone and then having friends race to help me out and support me !

8 -  Having my Dad express his love by patting and and rubbing my head, especially when I'm about to fall asleep.

9 - Knowing that at times my mom trusts me more than I trust myself !

10 - Reading and understanding the Quran .

11- Talking to Allah in solitude and knowing that he's always there to protect me, feed me, and give me the courage to face life !

12 - Having hours to spend with nothing on my To-Do list..it means time for leisure, time for myself ! :)

13 - Sitting on a window or behind a glass wall oblivious to the world and watching people go about their chores and their businnesses. In other words - Observing life in movement while I stand still and invisible to the world...

14 - Having heart to heart conversations with my girlfriends !

15 - Having someone tell me - "Im there for you" ( Alhamdollilah I've a lot of friends who've not only said that but proved it)

16 - The immense satisfaction when I do something good for a stranger !

17 - Being hugged while crying

18 - Seeing something so magnificent that the only word I could possibly utter was "wo..."

19 - Having a lengthy heated debate with someone over something where the other party is adamant that he/she is right and I'm wrong and then seeing their stuck up nose turning downward and their lips turning inward when I show them the proof and prove them wrong !

20 - Winning a match ! Especially when you're on a team ! (As in - not solo, like tennis or badminton...

21 - Have a friend rudely tell me..."Hey ! You're not a friend, you're a sister !"

PS - Picture courtesy - Google Images

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Help the flood victims !! - Here's how

As if the tragic plane crash wasnt enough to keep the nation mourning , now we have the floods that have devastated most of the northern areas of the country. There's not much I feel like I can say on this subject besides the fact that it isnt a pretty picture out there. Thousands have died and  many millions displaced. The food and clean water supplies are running out. The victims are stranded without the basic necessities of life and need shelter, medication, food and water supplies. I hope the Pakistani nation stands strong to help out those in distress like it has always done.

Here's a short list of organizations you can contact if  you're willing to help

Al Khidmat foundation

Edhi foundation

Sungi Development Foundation

Pakistan Red Crescent Society

Pakistani Youth

PS - The pictures have been collected from various sources on the internet

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Red Fort and Anarkali !

I'm not a restaurant reviewer but I really wanted all my non-Karachite blog readers to know about this place. Its one of my favourite theme restaurants in Karachi. Lal Qila - Translated as Red Fort is located in almost the centre of the city with an easy approach from just about everywhere in Karachi. What I like best about it is the ambience and the environment. It has been designed to look like a fort back from the mughal times, the exterior just gives you a slight idea of what you can expect inside, a guard dressed like a Mughal soldier is there to welcome you at the gate. Once you step inside, the exquiste decoration, architecture and the waiters all dressed like Moghal fortmen will take you back to the 1600s. Just to give you a brief flashback of  history, the Mughal emperors who hailed from Central Asia ruled the sub continent from the 16th to the mid 19th century and that period was one of the most culturally and architecturally gifted periods that the sub continent has seen. The remanescents of their glory still stand majestically and include the Taj Mahal, Lahore fort, the Badshahi mosque etc.
The buffet with live cooking...Did I mention it's out in the open air ?

Coming back to Lal qila, I would suggest that every foreigner who comes to Karachi and likes eating out should make a visit. All my relatives from abroad have been there, loved it and have a special request to be taken there everytime they come to Karachi. The food there is excellent, I love the Mughlai cusine, and my dad is a special fan of the quails that are served there.The only glitch I find it to have is that it serves a a few Chinese dishes also which really doesnt go with the theme of the restaurant and I think should be replaced with more of the Mughlai dishes.

The interior
And ofcourse , if you wish to throw a birthday party there, that too would be in the true Mughal fashion as  around six waiters dressed like soldiers with fake swords and a cake in between will make a small parade to your table and then announce the emperor's order out loud to have you cut the cake ! Sounds interesting right ?

Something that I really look forward to is meeting the dressed up character of Shahzaada (Prince) Saleem ! He roams around and visits people on their tables, reciting duets in the love of Anarkali. The story of Prince Saleem ,son of Emperor Akbar, and Anarkali is probably a tale that every person from the subcontinent knows. In short Anarkali was a dancer who used to dance in the court of emperor Akbar for the entertainment of the courts men. Prince Saleem , the son of Emperor Akbar fell in love with her and wanted to marry her, Emperor Akbar found this bond unacceptable and ordered Anarkali to be burried alive. Many contoversies suuround this story, some say she was provided a secret passage to Afghanistan , others say she was put behind a wall and bricks were laid thus hiding her from the world's view forever. Whatever the story behind it, Prince Saleem and Anarkali have been a subject of great fascination and this restaurant makes good use of it.

The dressed up Prince Saleem
Here's a song which shows the story of Anarkali and Prince Saleem. The conversation that you'll hear in the start and in between of the song is in Persian, the official language of the Moghal courts. I'm sorry I couldn't find a subbed version of this song, but I think you'll understand the nevertheless. This song has been sung from Anarkali's point of view who cries and sings for her love.