Common Pakistani sehris include eggs, yoghurt, paratha, leftover curry from the day before and a cup of tea. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

15-minute recipes for a scrumptious and easy sehri: Spicy daal and fried qeema

Keeping in mind the time constraint we face during sehri, here are two quick-fix recipes to help you survive the day.

Arhama Siddiqa May 26, 2017
The month of Ramazan is just a couple of days away, and for Muslims around the world, it represents patience, compassion and self-restraint. Oh, and of course thirst and hunger. Naturally, all this demands a fulfilling sehri to help us survive the long summer days we’re about to experience.

I still remember the good old days when Ramazan used to fall during winter. The roza used to last for mere seven to eight hours – something that seemed never ending back then, but compared to these summer rozas, seem miniscule.

One of the best Ramazans I spent was when I had gone for my Masters to the UK. Sehri used to be at 2:30am and we used to break our fasts at around 8:30pm at night, which is extremely long.

Since this is a blog on sehri, I’ll describe what my sehris in UK used to be like. It was an unforgettable experience to say the least.

Our Pakistani community group, occasionally joined by our farangi (English) friends, many of who joined out of mere curiosity, used to gather together post Isha prayers (which used to end around midnight). The next hour and half was spent playing rung (colour), a card game I have not understood to this day.

At 1:30am on the dot, it was as if some secret power would delegate tasks to us and a mad scramble to take up self-assigned positions would ensue. After brief scuffles, one person would start cutting fruit for the lassi, someone would chop up the chicken and vegetables for the curry. Another person would be in charge of frying the parathas, while another would clean and set the table. The person who’d be late was given the duty of cleaning all the dishes, a task no one wanted when post-sehri sleep was at its peak.

Common Pakistani sehris include eggs, yoghurt, paratha, leftover curry from the day before and a cup of tea. At least that has been the age-old practice in my house. Recently, the trend of dining out for sehri has witnessed a rise. I really don’t know how people manage this because the only time I actually made the effort of going out for sehri in my sleep deprived state (and I am a foodie by the way) was back in my Lahore University of Management Science’s (LUMS) days when we had to go to the Pepsi Dining Center during wee hours of the night.

During these long and scorching summer months, cooking is not met with much enthusiasm. Keeping in mind the time constraint we face during sehri, I decided to post two quick-fix recipes which take up to 15 minutes each (I have actually timed them myself).

Following are recipes for extremely delicious and easy spicy daal and qeema.

Spicy Daal


Daal maash (white lentils) – 250 grams (soaked for an hour)

Onion – 1 chopped

Tomatoes – 2 chopped

Green chillies – 3

Garam masala (ground spices) – ½ tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp

Oil – ¼ cup


  1. Boil the lentils in a cup of water with ½ tsp salt and turmeric until they are just about done.

  2. Heat the oil, fry the onions till golden, then add the ginger garlic paste and fry it for a minute.

  3. Now add the tomatoes and spices. Fry till the oil floats on top. Add in the lentils and cook on a low flame for five minutes.

Fried qeema


Chicken qeema (minced meat) – ½ kg

Onion – 1 chopped

Tomatoes – 2 chopped

Green chillies – 3

Garam masala – ½ tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Cumin powder – 1 tsp

Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp

Oil – ¼ cup


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onions till they’re golden, then add the ginger garlic paste and fry it for a minute.

  2. Add in the qeema and a cup of water, and cook till the meat is properly cooked.

  3. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook till oil floats on top.

Serve these with yoghurt and warm parathas, followed by a cup of tea, and I am sure this scrumptious and light meal will help you survive the long day ahead.

Happy Ramazan everyone.

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa
Arhama Siddiqa The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She is also a bibliophile and an avid foodie. Her food blog can be found @chakhoous ( and she tweets @arhama_siddiqa (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Mushtaq Kadri | 6 years ago | Reply The best one I had was driving in Karachi at sehri time from Saddar to Boulton market to pick up the most delicious 'Maal Puras' the Bohra community made the best and this one at Boulton Market topped the list. One of the bet sehri's when we ate them with balai - I can still taste it!
Hamsid | 6 years ago I had to google maal puris since this is the first time I have heard of them and they look amazing !
Parvez | 6 years ago | Reply As you have touched upon the timing of the fasting period while you were in England, I remember being in Helsinki Finland at the peak of summer and it was the month of Ramadan .... the sun never really set , it dipped below the horizon and about two or three hours later it was up and shining again. I wish to educate such a situation what would be the correct fasting period ? there a prescribed formula or does one adapt what one considers to be right ?
Mushtaq Kadri | 6 years ago somehow my response to this did not get posted. The ruling for those living in areas where the sun does not set for long hours or even months is for residents to adopt timing of the closest city with normal sunrise/sunset times and adopt those. Allah, swt has made the deen easy, SubhanAllah.
Mushtaq Kadri | 6 years ago Pervez you may have traveled to Finland, there are many Muslims who live in countries where they have 6 months of daylight. The ruling is to adopt the Ramadan timings of the closest city which has normal fasting times and follow their schedule.
Hamsid | 6 years ago that is a very interesting situation indeed, I shall look it up and get back to you for sure
Hamsid | 6 years ago and again - your travels should be documented - when will you believe me?
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