August 17, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 6

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I didn't fast today but did engage in some extra worship ie: sunnah prayers and taraweeh alhamdulillah. Did more dhikr than usual and feel we are getting into a routine insha'allah. As an entire family that is.

I am going to try to fast day 7 we'll see what happens. My stomach is hurting a little but maybe nothing serious; I should be able to tell by the time I wake up again insha'allah.

Let's see, an Aaminah update. She knows 2 surahs masha'allah I would say very well for a 2 year old. Surat-al-ikhlas and surat-al-fatiha. She knows 90% of the words and has good pronounciation too masha'allah. She also knows her dua for going to bed and will recite it herself even! I am very proud of her and please sisters make dua for me that I continue to remind myself to teach her in a good way and show her how she needs to be insha'allah. Ameen.

I made a really nice soup last night, a little different from the traditional grated veggie shorba that is so popular in the Arabic world or parts thereof.

I started by browning my stew meat. I cut it into small pieces; only used about a pound to a pound and a quarter so it was important to make them small. Anyway browned them in a little oil and then in the meantime I made my base. I took some oil, enough to coat the bottom of a heavy stock pot and added a can of drained diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. I added crushed garlic to that and salt and pepper. I let it cook, stirring frequently, until the oil separated from the darkened tomato mixture. This is important because it lowers the acidity of the tomatoes. I don't like acidy sauces.

Anyway then I took a bag of frozen mixed veggies, the browned beef cubes, and some water. Brought it to a boil and added fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved. In the last hour or so of cooking I added a medium peeled grated potato, a nod to the textures of my husband's favorite. I added a little chipotle hotsauce for warmth and added depth of flavor; it's my favorite condiment besides mayonnaise.

I let this cook for a loooooong time because I like my meat browned yet tender. I let it simmer for 3 hours. Oh I added water and some oil to it because the meat was pretty lean. I like a little fat in my soup to make it filling but not an entire glossy red layer of it! Oh I put some paprika and a spice mixture of cumin, caraway, and coriander (freshly ground by me and mixed) to this tomato mixture as it cooked.

I also put some lightly soaked bulgar in for fiber and to bulk it up. I only partially soaked it because I knew I had a long enough cook time for it to get tender and I wanted the bulgar to taste of the broth, not water.

Anyway we all enjoyed it and I made enough for 3 iftars. If you're gonna do a big batch of soup do it right and don't cook again for a few days. Give yourself a Ramadhan break! We ate this with salad and bread from the lovely Brazilian bakery in our town. Hot fresh homemade crusty rolls I didn't have to make myself...score!

Alright insha'allah maybe this will help inspire you to make your own off-the-cuff shorba to suit YOUR family's taste preferences.

Ma salaama!r

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