Sukari Smoothie Overnight Oatmeal – Suhour Diaries



Ramadan Kareem to you! The Blessed Month has arrived and I’m thrilled to be sharing my first recipe. In fact, I have been working a little harder than I normally would have to bring you four fantastic recipes for each week of this month. So let’s start with Suhour. 

Suhour is the pre-dawn meal taken before sunrise to prepare the Muslim for their day of fasting. Fasting commences at sunrise with the call of prayer for Fajr, the morning prayer, and we are not allowed to eat or drink until the sun sets. Growing up, Suhour was always the same as breakfast would have been – cereal and milk. And Farleys biscuits. Yes, baby biscuits dunked into the last few drops of leftover milk and stirred into sweet mush. My brother and I are assigned a box each by Umma. My husband, however, has grown up eating Suhour differently. Chicken, fish or egg curry for dinner the previous might is prepared with extra portions for the early morning accompanied by hot thattu dosa. The first year into marriage, I would eat the same. However, I have a sensitive stomach and curries prepared in south Kerala are quite spicy and lack the addition of coconut milk as I am used to. This usually meant that around mid-day, I would get an uncomfortable heartburn. So I went back to eating my muesli and milk. 



If you too would like to keep it light, I’ve got just the recipe for you. Overnight Oatmeal has been doing its rounds for a while. It’s been my dinner for months now. What I do is prepare the oatmeal first thing in the morning and refrigerate it till night. I love reusing my empty Bonne Maman Fruit Preserve jars for this meal. My favourite part is how easily you can customise it to your whim and fancy. Scan through the Internet and you’ll find Cinnamon Roll, Carrot Cake, heck even Cookie Dough overnight oatmeal. So as you can see, it is far from boring. 



As unbearable as the heat is in the UAE, it is the season that bears the fruit every Muslim uses to break their fast. As the warm winds starts blowing signalling the onset of summer, thickets of the date palm can be found with branches lowered by the weight of clusters of fruits. Bright shades of green, as the heat intensifies it goes through varying stages of ripening, gradually turning yellow and deepening to brown signalling its ripest stage. Umma bought me my first box of Sukari and since then, the refrigerator always has a stock of them. 



Sokari or Sukari has a paper thin skin revealing a soft and sweet flesh. It’s true to its name from which the word Arabic word for sugar can be derived. It’s my favourite way to sweeten milkshakes and smoothies completely omitting sugar. Which is how I sweeten my oatmeal too. I make a smoothie using two dates and a glass of milk along with the spice of the day from the following selection – cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, dried ginger or all-spice. I’ve used cinnamon in today’s recipe.

Oatmeal is a smart choice for Suhour as it fills you up and takes time to digest, yet being gentle on the stomach. Keeping nutrition in mind, If it is available, you’re better off buying wholegrain rolled oats in comparison to white oats. You don’t need to cook this beforehand which is perfect for mother to toddler moi. The longer the oats thickens, the thicker it becomes texture-wise. Off late, I’ve been snacking on sunflower seeds and love adding them to this oatmeal too. I don’t eat a lot of fish and so I’ve incorporated flax seeds which are an excellent source of Omega-3 into my diet. I line my jar with a layer of flax seeds, add the oatmeal and stir it with a spoon before adding my date smoothie.



Chocolate by the bar is an absolute vice of mine and I can inhale them before you even finish spelling it. My husband and I try not to snack unhealthily during the week. Come weekend, despite the fact we would have just finished Biriyani for lunch, you’ll find us munching on some sugar nasties, headphones plugged in watching a movie, trying to stifle laughs (we are probably catching up on Big BANG Theory) and not wake up Ali from his siesta. Off late, my husband and I have been downing our share of 1.5  Reese’s peanut buttercups each. One particular weekday, those cups were twirling around in my mind while making my dinner oatmeal. I happily blended a teaspoon of cocoa and natural crunchy peanut butter with my milk. I haven’t ever been excited about oatmeal and was anxious to learn how it would taste. Not exactly close to Reese’s but it did taste like I was eating pudding than oatmeal that night. 



Here’s a tip. The ratio of oatmeal to milk is 1:1. The rest is entirely up to you. You could blend seasonal fruit, use nut milk if you’re off lactose or sweeten it with raw honey. Top it off with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of nuts and tuck in to your wholesome nutrient packed far beyond bland porridge. These Greek strawberries were actually more sweeter and you know how chocolate and strawberry are meant for each other, right? The sunflower seeds add a delightful crunch and here once again, you can go nuts with your choices. 



 I’m going to be trying this oatmeal with a mango smoothie soon and see how that works. And if it’s your thing, maybe you should try Nutella. Just a thought 😉

I hope you have a blessed Ramadan filled with answered prayers. 

A special shout out to my wonderful hand model Ali for waking up an hour before he was supposed to and walking in onto the ongoing shoot. Especially for being such a sport and letting Umma finish her way-overdue photoshoot and helping her capture her favourite photo EVER taken for her blog. Umma loves you.

Sukari Smoothie Overnight Oatmeal

Serves One

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup wholegrain rolled oats

  • 1 cup full-fat milk

  • 1½ teaspoon cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter

  • 2 Sukari dates – washed and pitted

  • ¼ teaspoon choice of spice – cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, all-spice

  • 3 teaspoons flax seeds (optional)

METHOD

  • Blend milk, dates, spices, cocoa powder and peanut butter very well.

  • Prepare a clean glass jar by adding flax seeds and oatmeal into it.

  • Pour blended smoothie over the oatmeal and mix gently with a spoon.

  • Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

  • Serve with fresh fruit and choice of nuts.

Have a good food day. 

Homemade Strawberry Compote – Salvaging Sour Ones



The first time I ate a sweet strawberry was on a holiday in Aberdeen. They were picked up from Asda, the local supermarket, when I went grocery shopping with my cousins whom we were visiting. We were preparing breakfast in her kitchen the next day and I carelessly took a bite of the fruit that I had just finished washing up. I came to a halt jolted by an explosion of sweetness. I couldn’t stop wondering if this is how strawberries really tasted. I sat at the kitchen table, eyes still wide and expressed my disbelief to my cousin.  We were visiting in March and she tells me that strawberries taste much better (Whaaat?! Better than this?) when they are in season.

On returning to Abu Dhabi, I’ve lost count of the number of boxes of strawberries I have brought home yearning for that same sweetness. That vacation was three years ago and I haven’t tasted anything like them. Last month I spotted a much robust gleaming red variety that hinted sweetness. They were packaged in a tiny wooden crate and I wanted to believe today I would be lucky. Deceptively sweet smelling, the sourness made my head throb. Or maybe it was the thought of how I would finish all these strawberries. I turned to the Internet with the responibilty of solving my dilemma. Food52’s homemade strawberry compote couldn’t have been more perfect for the situation.



This was a no recipe recipe which means there aren’t exact ingredients or directions. Just basic instructions which you can toy around with. It says lemon zest but I only had fresh oranges at hand. It mentions a splash of vinegar so I added Balsamic Vinegar while patting myself on the back for coming up with the idea all by myself. I really wish I had whole vanilla beans at hand and I resisted the urge of adding cinnamon and cloves as mentioned. I didn’t add any sugar in the beginning. I wanted to gauge the flavor of the compote and didn’t want to mask it with a sugar rush. Surprisingly as the compote cooked the tartness mellowed out and I could taste a hint of sweetness. A little close to a teaspoon was all the sugar I added to it.



Such a luscious outcome! And all under thirty minutes. When I walked into the kitchen to keep an eye on the simmering strawberries, the aroma wafting from the stove had me teleported to acres of lush fields as far as the eye could see. Ripe fruit gleamed under the sun waiting to be plucked. A few for the basket, a few to be enjoyed right there and then. I allowed myself to daydream a minute more under the whit fluorescent light and the cold tiles under my feet. Instantly I wanted to celebrate this compote and I decided I have to make pancakes.



Who knew Strawberry hulls could transform your tepid glass of water?

Well, I certainly didn’t. A link in this no-recipe page instructs to steep these tops from washed fruit in a jar full of water for a while. I let them steep their magic while I made the pancakes. I poured a glass for myself right after everything was laid on the table and took a sip. The infusion took me to the childhood voyages back to Kerala during the monsoons. As you step out of the flight, the smell of the ground freshly rained upon. It tasted exactly like that. A bit grassy was my husband’s comments. Probably not for everyone. It’s probably my frugal heart that was pleased nothing was going to the bin.







Blobs of soft butter and generously smeared compote, I stacked my pancakes and enjoyed a hearty breakfast for tea at 5 pm. In the following days, I added spoonfuls to my morning muesli and slathered it thickly on bread for my Peanut butter and Jelly snack. It didn’t take too long for my little jar to finish. Pancakes are still my favourite way to have this compote. I’d love to hear how you would enjoy it.

Strawberry Compote

Recipe from Food52

INGREDIENTS

  • 10-15 Strawberries, washed and hulled

  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Orange Zest

  • Desired sweetener – Maple Syrup, Jaggery or Sugar – to taste

METHOD

  • Gather all the ingredients in a saucepan.

  • Simmer on a low heat till fruit breaks down.

  • Ensure fruit does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

  • Once the compote has reached desired thickness and consistency add the sweetener if you would like to.

  • After a final stir, take the saucepan off the heat.

  • Transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate only when compote has reached room temperature.

And here’s how you make your strawberry infused water,

Have a good food day.