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Ramadan Drinks

It is the very last day in this holey season! Days went so fast, but were very blessed and we are so sad that Ramadan is leaving.. However, i want to take this very limited time opportunity to write you how did we enjoy our drinks during this month.

let’s agree that most of the drinks are cold and fruits based (specially during summer), some are thick and some are clear and thin; except of course the coffee

Ghamar Eldeen is an apricot juice that is originally from Syria. it comes as a dry puree concentrate that you should melt in in hot water to prepare it. what makes it so special is the Texture! it has slightly thick liquid texture, with tiny perceived particles on the tongue. It has fruity, floral, candiesh notes sometimes. You will feel strong apricot flavor. to me it leaves an aftertaste that reminds me of a sun dried fruits. Some add dry apricot pieces to it, some mix it with orange, or add a little rosewater.

Karkadeeh (hibiscus) in other languages is names after the flower Roselle. interestingly it can be consumed hot or cold – cold in Ramdan-. It is prepared by soaking a big amount of the flower and boil it with water until you get dark maroon concentrate that will keep in fridge and mix it with cold water and sugar before drinking. Nowadays it can be found as an infusion in tea bags. Typically, it is sour and bitter even when you add sugar. it is very similar to cranberry, except it has more floral hints, very refreshing drink. one of the mixtures i adore with hibiscus is pomegranate juice and rosewater. Quick fact: this is a popular drink consumed to control blood pressure (if consumed cold elevates hypertension , if consumed hot lowers hypertension)

Tamar Hindi (tamarind) is the soft moist pulp of the tamarind pod-like fruit (that’s the only edible part). It comes from India (the name in Arabic basically means Indian date). If it’s taken from a concentrate, it will not be clear, it will be dark brown cloudy drink. Now this drink is really sour! it is tangy less sweet than other drinks generally and has some datey notes with some bitterness. The cloudy drink will deliver some small particles on your tongue when consumed. But again, it is really acidic! this fruit is used a lot in cooking. Quick fact: it is very helpful for digestion, also maintain blood sugar levels.

Jallab I am a big fan of this one! it comes from Levant in general, very famous in Lebanon. This is usually a syrup that is rarely prepared at home. This syrup is a blend of molasses of: carob, date, and resin. While these are being cooked together, an Arabian Bokhoor is placed on cooking pan and covered so the mixture can catch some smokey hints, interesting right? all you need to do is pour your water and add your rosewater and put your choice of nuts ( i prefer pine nuts and pistachio). This drink is really sweet! and the flavor will confuse you! all the flavors you will be guessing are correct. If this is your first time trying Carob you might not like it immediately – it is a sweet fruit by its own, it taste wired a little bet-

My advice, if you ever came across any of those drinks give them a try, you will absolutely discover another dimensions of drinks you have not been exposed to before!

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What’s on the Table in Ramadan?

Time to eat Iftar yet? let’s see what’s on the table to decide so.

I know, it took me forever to write this very particular article! I do help in the cooking and preparation so that’s where i disappeared 🙂

If you remember in my last article we agreed that we will talk first about food items that we must put on Iftar meal during Ramadan. You can read the previuso article in this link https://artofsenses.com/2019/05/04/ramadan-eating-habits-in-saudi-arabia/

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Soup! Soup! Soup! Soup is the king of Ramadan table! After long day fasting hours, you need nourishment and warmth; this is why soup held it’s importance during this season as it delivers both. The most 2 popular soups in Saudi are: Quicker (oat) and Jreesh (groats) soup. They both are tomato based, and they could be prepared with chicken or beef (or vegetable stock which i don’t prefer). They are very similar in terms of the overall flavor; both have cooked tomato flavor, similar seasoning – Saudi seasoning (cumin, black pepper, curry, dry coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some other stuff in little quantity) but! they differ in the thickness and mouth-feel

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If soup is the king Sambosa is the queen! Historically, many refer it to Turkish origin then transferred to Yemen and that’s how it got to the The Arabian Peninsula; but many confirmed that it is originally invented by Indians and then traveled around the world until it landed on our tables today.

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Sambosa is basically a dough that is made of: flour, oil, corn starch, and water. You can find it sold as raw long rectangle leaves in the markets; in which you fill it at home and shape it as triangles, or you can make your own dough and shape it as half moons. It used to be only fried, but thank god with increased awareness we discovered that we can bake it! and am so grateful for this, as i love the texture of the baked ones more! but you will still spread any fat on the top to give it the color, the crunch and some flavor hints.

The ready to use leaves taste like ordinary dough! some of them has too much oil – so that hits in flavor too- your Sambosa really depends on your filling!

It can be vegan! mix of vegetables (potato, peas, coriander and spices) this is the Indian filling. It can be as simple as cheese! spreadable, cheddar, haloumi or feta (you can add greens: mint, parsely). Or you can complex it and make you chicken or meat mixture!

Your flavor will relay on two important factors: your dough (choose recipe or brand carefully), and you spices and seasoning. Your texture will mainly depend on how deep you fry or to which extent you will bake! Unfortunately, this is one of the foods that must be eaten as soon as it’s ready. It loses texture and becomes soggy or chewy after a while.

Salads are very important too! there must be one large bowl of salad on Iftar table. It could be standard green salad, or a salad with unusual creative ingredients. Fatouch is very famous and popular- even though it is originally Lebanese not Saudi-, simple to prepare, rich in fibers; with the right sour sweet dressing as a mixture of pomegranate molasses and lemon with salt.

Hope the article helped you understand how our Iftar table look like!

Ramadan Eating Habits in Saudi Arabia

Ramadan is a one month season in which Muslims fast during the day, basically from the sunrise until the sunset. And when we say “fasting” we mean completely fasting, no water no nothing.

This is why this season in particular have it’s own unique diet, dishes, and drinks. They are prepared in a way that makes you compensate and nourish our body once you break the fasting. That being said, still there is a number of exteremly fatty and sweet and heavy recipes that are only prepared during Ramadan.

So Ramadan Breakfast “Iftar” table consist of many things, and you decide how to start your meal.

Mainly, everyone like to start with Dates! and the date mate is a cold heavy cream “Gishta”. You divide dates in half and dip it in Cream and indulge your senses as you earned it after a long fasting hours. The cream is firm not loose in body, and it is really creamy and heavy, very slightly sweet – from lactose not added sugar- , the date whether it’s moist or hard, too sweet or not too sweet; it will be great when dipped in Gishta!

Some replace the Gishta with Laban “drinkable yogurt”, as it makes you feel fuller faster. You will enjoy the combination of sweet and sour and hints of dairy if you choose to consume this choice.

Arabic coffee must be on the table (You can read more about Arabic Coffee here) https://artofsenses.com/2019/01/09/arabic-coffee/ and some like to start with it first along with dates. From a health point of view, it is not recommended to drink coffee first thing when breaking a long day fasting, as caffeine causes dehydration and Arabic coffee has a high caffeine content. But am one of those who start with it !

Now many choose to pray and then come back and start eating the meal, and some like to eat on one go. Once they come back from prayer, they will find the table ready to be attacked!

I will only list table content in this article, and then will explain the properties of these items on a weekly article during Ramadan.

For Food, Ramadan table must contain: Soup – is a must eat daily-, a choice of pastry or bakery -Sambosah most popular-, and a salad. Some people choose to add rice, pasts and other dishes that are eaten in regular days.

For Ramadan Drinks: (again bear with me and try to pronounce the following names) Ghamar Eldeen, Karkadeeh (hibiscus), Tamar Hindi (tamarind), Jalab, Soobia

For Ramadan desserts: Loqimat, Sweet cheese Sambosa, Kataief, Puddings like Mohalabiahو rice pudding, and Debiazah

Next week, the article will bee about Ramadan foods. stay Tuned!

A little about me!

I started my career in the sensory evaluation field back in 2012.

The journey was vague at the beginning, because i have a bachelor degree in Nursing Sciences which is too different from what i decided to move to.

I Can’t deny how difficult it is to start a career in your region as the first and only one in this profession. Because not having resources around you like professional colleagues or training institutions will make your progress a little bit slower. Am lucky that traveling was not an issue for me to reach proper top class organizations to learn more.

What made me learn quicker was the amount of different products i was involved in evaluating and also the great product and process developers i worked with.

One day, i came across a wonderful program given by University of Nottingham that was very suitable for my needs and working hours.

So the education journey began. Pssion and eager to learn really helped me enjoying this journey.

In December 2018, i completed my studies in Post Graduate certificate in Sensory science, qualifying me as the first Saudi in my field leading it in my country.

I decided that this is a big responsibility for me to to raise the awareness about the importance of this scientific discipline.

So, i started writing articles about different ptoducts that i would love to share with you hoping that you find them interesting.

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