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Ramadan, for engineer Abid Javed, and his family of six, means spending quality time together. Hailing from Chakwal, Islamabad in Pakistan, the family has been in Oman since 2012 and takes every step to make Ramadan as enthusiastic and bonding as in the home country.

The family consists of mother, Ameer Begum (63), Javed's wife Salma Abid, their son Aliyan Ahmed (12), and daughters Areej Fatima (eight) and Hania Fatima (eight months). For the Javeds, a typical Ramadan fare includes atleast ten items including starters and desserts. She makes sure to cook extra food, in case there are guests.

'I take almost 90 minutes to cook for six people. With experience, I know the exact process and the time it takes to grill, cook and bake various items. Sometimes my son, older daughter or even husband helps me,' Salma said.

She added that cooking with a small baby is a challenge but with a supportive family she manages well.

The family shops for rice, flour, spices, etc every ten to fifteen days while some items like fruits, vegetables and milk need to be shopped for more frequently.

A Pakistani iftar is incomplete without chana chaat (chickpea salad), pakodas (fritters) and sherbet. So, Salma makes different pakodas and sherbet every other day. She uses vegetables, onions and potatoes to make the former.

She adds pista-flavoured milk to the sherbet so that it tastes better. Mutton or chicken biryani with korma constitutes the main course while jalebi (fermented fried dessert) and rasmalai (cottage cheese dumpling) are the most favoured desserts. Every day, the family prepares two kilograms of biryani, one and a half kilogram of chicken, 500g pakodas and 4lt of sherbet. Salma said, 'Normally, people cannot eat many pakodas immediately after fast as it makes you thirsty. That's when sherbet comes in handy.'

Areej said, 'I love chaat very much and make every effort to help mother and brother to make it nicely.'

For Ameer, this is her second Ramadan in Oman.

She said, 'I have been fasting all my life and I thank God Almighty for all the happiness he has showered upon me. The spirit of Ramadan is same wherever you are if you have faith in God.'

'We often have Omanis and Indians who join us for iftar and it is always a good feeling to pray and eat together,' Salma said.

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Publication:Muscat Daily (Muscat, Oman)
Date:May 13, 2019

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