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  • Last Update : 08:54 am

A menu for Ramadan

  • Published at 07:06 pm May 21st, 2018
food iftar
Nourishing the body and mind / BIGSTOCK

What is your soul food?

What one eats for suhoor or iftar is really dependent on one’s beliefs. For example, some people believe that beef is the best source of protein, while others believe that coffee and tea are the best sources of quick and fast energy. 

In the quantum world, if you can imagine it, it is true, said Candace Pert, biophysicist, and according to inventor and physicist John Moussouris, perception and the representation of information are more important than the objects themselves.

Religion stems from the world of the mind. The mind is the world of quantum mechanics (a branch of physics that tries to make sense of the wacky and unpredictable behaviour of subatomic material). 

Doctors would say that the best suhoor and iftar would be what you normally eat, with as many colourful fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. 

But that mishti your doctor told you to stay away from might be the thing that frees you. 

So, let us all become magicians. Our minds are the computers that create our physical reality. Perhaps, this is why we are told that if we bless our food with Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim, it is purified. 

More than the food, it seems that being with friends and family in harmony and joy for iftar, and giving each other 3am calls for suhoor is more endearing and energizing. 

What is your soul food? The food that makes you feel nourished and loved? 

Our beloved Buddha tried to free himself through severe food restrictions, and then he had a delicious bowl of rice pudding. We say in southeast Bangladesh that the deliciousness of that pudding immediately led to his enlightenment. 

But another story says that having the pudding helped him to relax and remember a favourite memory, which gave him the positive emotions that reverberated throughout his body, leading him to freedom. 

The following is a delicious payesh (rice pudding) recipe by Nisha, a contributor on The Magic Saucepan.


1 litre full fat milk

¾ cup rice 

4-5 cardamom pods, crushed

2 tbsp pistachios, cashews, almonds

Strands of saffron

1-2 sticks of cinnamon

1-2 medium-sized bay leaves

Sugar to taste


1) Rinse the rice and soak it in water for half an hour. Then, drain the water and keep aside. 

2) Meanwhile, just heat the milk. Heat a deep-heavy-bottomed vessel. Add a teaspoon of ghee and once it is hot, add the nuts and roast. 

3) Add the well-drained rice in the pan. Give it a quick stir. Now add the milk, bay leaves, and cardamom pods. Simmer and let the milk boil. 

4) Keep stirring frequently to prevent it from burning in the bottom. Once the rice is cooked, add sugar. 

5) Keep simmering until the milk reduces to almost one-third and becomes very thick. It takes almost 45 minutes, if you keep the flame low. 

Shireen Pasha is Berlin Bureau Chief, Dhaka Tribune.

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