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Jeelan Khan and wife Mahra Khan with Syed Junaid, Tarannum Junaid, Zoya Junaid, Farkhanda Sayeed and Aariz Omar at the Iftar at their home in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The Khans in Dubai can’t wait for Ramadan every year. “Ramadan to me is all about fasting and prayer. It is also about caring and sharing, ” said Mahra Khan, an Indian expat.

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“Every year, we wait for Ramadan to cleanse ourselves mentally and physically. We believe that the Quran came to us [as a revelation] in this holy month. It is therefore very precious. The holy month vibrates positivity and the evening after Iftar is like a festival celebrated with loved ones,” she said.

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Mahra and Jeelan Khan at their home in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Her husband Jeelan said, “Ramadan is about ibaadat [acts of worship] and prayers to God. We as a family take the month as an opportunity to share, do more good deeds and forgive and seek forgiveness. It is a beautiful month to heal our soul,” he said, adding that Ramadan is also a time of service.

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The couple – who hail from Bangalore, a city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka – make it a point to savour their iftars. Mahra prepare a menu rich in protein, fibre and carbohydrates for their guests.

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The huge spread for Iftar at the Khan household. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

For this particular Iftar, Mahra’s friend Farkhanda Sayeed and her sons Aariz Omar and Arhaan Omar joined in. They were the first ones to arrive. In time, Jeelan’s cousin Syed Junaid, his wife Tarannum and daughter Zoya came as well.

Mahra had prepared a menu rich in protein, fibre and carbohydrates for their guests.

On the table were dates, Idli (a savoury rice cake), paddu, a popular Karnataka dish made from rice batter poured into moulds, medu vada (South Indian fritters), bonda, a lemon sized dumpling fried in oil, chicken spring roll, shami kabab, mutton keema samosa made from minced meat, dahi wada (fried fritters soaked in yoghurt) and ras malai (juicy cheese discs served in thickened milk).

The men led the sunset Maghrib prayer before heading to the dining table to break their fast with dates, Zamzam water (from a well in Mecca), and a cool mixed fruit drink.

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The men folk in prayer. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The rest of the meal followed through.

Tarrannum and Zoya complimented Mahra for her delicious treats.

Mahra happily shared the recipes of her dishes, including the ras malai.

The Khans said family and friends were welcome to their home during Iftar. Typically, they also plan a grand Iftar when they invite around 150 guests, including their building friends and extended family. It’s a very cherished occasion, they added.

Iftar recipe from the Khan household: Paddu

Soak all the below ingredients for at least 4-6 hours:

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Paddu is a popular Karnataka dish from India made from rice batter. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

1 cup urad daal ( black gram split)

3 cups rice

1/4 cup chana daal ( Bengal gram lentil)

1 spoon methi ( fenugreek seeds)

2-3 spoons poha ( flattened rice)

Wash the above ingredients for 2- 4 times in clean water and soak it for atleast 4-6 hours. Grind the soaked items and rest the batter to ferment for 6-8

Once the batter is fermented, add salt, chopped onions, green chilli and coriander to the batter and mix it well.

Heat the paddu pan, apply a little oil on it and pour the batter. Once it is cooked from bottom, put a little oil on top and flip it to the other side. Once it is cooked, serve with coconut chutney.