A mixed platter of battered and fried fritters are a go-to for iftar during Ramadan. Most of these fried dishes are made by dipping vegetables into a thick gram flour batter and deep frying in bubbling hot oil for only a few minutes.
Vegetables such as potatoes, eggplants, carrots, papayas, malabar spinach and so on are the more commonly used items that are used to make the batter-dipped fritters, Aloor Chop and Beguni being the most common ones.
Lentils, a variety of legumes, also make up for a large part of these platters. Piyaju - another dish belonging from the fritter family - is one of the dishes most iftar platters remain incomplete. Chickpeas, a type of legume, plays an equally important role. Almost every iftar platter has a side of chola cooked with onions and spices.
These fried delicacies sure taste good and the vegetables are extremely beneficial to health as well, filling our systems up with protein, fibre and vitamins. However, being high in calories and saturated fat, eating too many fritters after over 14 hours of fasting can lead to serious indigestion issues which may later lead to heartburn.
Dietary guidelines recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of a person's total daily calories. If you consume 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.
Whether you choose to feast on a platter full of fried goodness or healthier alternatives, it is important to know the nutritional values of the former so you can sketch out the latter. Here's what your favourite side dishes get broken up into once it enters your body.
A hearty mix of mashed potatoes, sliced up onions, chilis, coriander or mint leaves and a mix of spices make a delicious fried ball of carb-loaded goodness. You can even stick in a whole or quartered egg or some cheese in the middle to level up a simple aloor chop.
Being a rich source of calories and carbohydrates, one piece of aloor chop has 102 calories and 11 grams of carbs. Aloor chop is also rich in sodium and potassium - 356mg and 240mg each. It also has meager amounts of vitamins A, C and calcium.
Consuming one large or two small pieces of aloor chop at iftar should provide your body with enough carbohydrate and calories after a long day of fasting. But remember to drink plenty of water after a heavy loading of carb as it can dehydrate the system.
Beguni is a tasty fritter-type dish that is made by dipping a thinly-cut slice of eggplant in spiced gram flour batter. This is one of the staple dishes most Bangladeshi households look forward to during iftar.
It is loaded with carbohydrates, fat and protein. One piece of beguni has 1.5 grams of protein, 4.6 grams of carbohydrates and 2.1 grams of fat. It also has 43 calories, which translates to energy once it enters the digestive system, and nine percent Vitamin B9, which is commonly known as Folic Acid.
Beguni is comparatively healthy since it has less amount of carbs and saturated fats. A person can consume up to three pieces of beguni but be mindful if you are allergic to eggplants. Eating too many Beginus may flare up the allergies later on.
This lentil-based dish is made by mixing soaked mushoor daal with a lot of onions and some chopped chilis along with spices and frying up small, flat fritters in hot oil. It has a strong lentil taste and a crunchy texture.
Being one of the staple iftar items, people can lose track and eat a plateful of piyajus in no time. However, you have to keep count of how many you have eaten as it is rich with fat and calories. One piece of piaju has 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. On the bright side, piaju contains little to no carbohydrate - only 3 grams.
A few pieces of small to medium sized piaju possess no harm to the body but if you tend to experience bad cases of uric acid, the lentils in the piaju can flare it further. So, it is advisable to people with uric acid issues to refrain from eating it as a safety measure.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a type of legume. The most common type has a round shape and a beige color, but other varieties are black, green, or red. Their nutrients have various health benefits.
Like other legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain several key vitamins and minerals.
The chola dish on our iftar platters are first boiled and then cooked in a mix of spices and sliced up onions in a bit of oil. It is often garnished with coriander leaves and ginger slices. The chickpeas are soft and taste flavourful from all the spices. Most people like to eat it with puffed rice.
Per 100 grams of chola has 257 calories, 38.9 grams of carbohydrate and eight grams of fat.
Being high in energy and carbohydrate, one cup of chola at iftar can restore energy in the most healthy way.
This meat-heavy dish is not only popular on iftar platters, haleem is also craved for all year round.
Prepared by mixing a variety of lentils, legumes, spices and herbs, haleem can be an extremely healthy stand-alone dish if eaten in controlled portions. Haleem is made with chicken, mutton and beef - the latter being the most popular kind.
One serving (two cups) of haleem has 109 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 21mg cholesterol, 82mg sodium, 164mg potassium and 7.8 grams carbohydrates.
After a fulfilling iftar, two cups of haleem can be quite a large amount for an average person. However, enjoying a cup worth of Haleem should help fulfil the lack of essential elements and fibrous nutrition in our body.
Jilapi is one of the most popular dessert items for iftar. This spiral shaped crispy and crunchy dessert is dipped in sugar syrup and is loaded with flavours and taste as good as they look. The rich batter for jilapi is made of all purpose flour, curd, ghee and occasionally saffron.
The richness in jilapi comes from the ghee and sugar, which makes this dish loaded with calories, carbohydrates and saturated fat.
One standard serving of jilapi has a whooping 338 calories and one piece has 150 calories, five percent fat, 11 percent saturated fat, 8.5mg cholesterol and 29 grams carbohydrates.
People with a sweet tooth find eating too many pieces of jilapi hard to resist but it is advisable to not eat more than two pieces of this sugary delicacy.