I cannot believe Ramadan is already here. I had been so busy that I didn’t have a chance to do my requisite trip to the grocery store the night before. One of the main things I always stock up on is dried fruit and nuts. For as long as I can remember, my mom always made khushaf or khoshaf. It was so nice to introduce it to my husband and make it part of our Ramadan tradition at home. At first glance, khushaf doesn’t seem to look all that appetizing. It looks like a bunch of floating chunks of dried fruit in some milky liquid. However, it is probably one of the most delicious and nutritious ways to break your fast. Let me walk you through the reasoning behind this.
As you may know, Muslim’s abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar, Ramadan is approximately 10 days earlier each year. For the next several years, Ramadan will fall during the summer months, which means longer days, and longer fasts. I often hear how terrible this must be, “How can you do it? Aren’t you starving?” In reality, when done correctly, fasting cleanses your body of toxins and is an opportunity to revisit eating habits. When you are fasting, glucose is the main source of energy, which is stored in your liver and muscles. Once the glucose stores have been depleted, fat becomes the next source of energy. Because fasting is only one day, your body never turns to using protein for energy, which would indicate starvation. Nonetheless, it is imperative that you eat healthily when you break your fast in order to replenish any nutrients lost during the fast.
Now we get to what this has to do with khushaf. Based on the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims often break their fast with a date and fresh juice. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, potassium, and magnesium. The sugars found in dates, and similarly in other dried fruits, release slowly and help maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Now, khushaf if essentially a whole bunch of dried fruits and nuts, which all combine to give your fasting body a healthy boost of glucose and other essential nutrients.
You can be as creative as you like with this dish. Don’t have apricots? No problem. Want to use pistachios? Okay. You can really use whatever dried fruits you like, and whatever juices you like. In this particular recipe, I used coconut milk and mango juice for the liquid. Many people simply use water. Others use milk. The possibilities here are endless But seriously, have fun with it, and try it. You will never look at dried fruits the same after you have had khushaf!!
Egyptian Dried Fruit and Nut Compote (Khoshaf/Khushaf)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes to chill
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 12 dried apricots
- 6 dried mango slices
- 6 dried figs
- 6 dried prunes
- 6 dates
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)
- 1/2 cup mango juice (or apricot or orange juice)
(1) Dice up the fruit and nuts into small bits. Add to a large bowl. Add the raisins and cranberries and coconut.
(2) Add the coconut milk and juice to the bowl.
(3) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The fruit and nuts will absorb a majority of the liquid. Before serving, add a bit more liquid (juice or milk) to each serving bowl if it seems dry. ENJOY!