The nutrient-rich fruit isn’t just a great energy booster but tastes good in desserts and drinks too!Published on 3 April 2022
Dates receive a star treatment throughout the month of Ramadan. Being the food of choice to break daily fasts, dates are a common food item found in a typical Muslim household during the fasting month. But why are dates an ideal and healthy choice for fuelling an empty stomach?
Dates are the sweet fruits of the date palm tree, which is most widely cultivated in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa and Southern Asia. These small wonders are packed with nutritional value, which makes them the perfect appetiser during Ramadan.
Dates are high in sugar, fibre, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamin C (when consumed as a fresh fruit). They are also loaded with potassium, magnesium, iron, and small amounts of protein and fat. One of the significant reasons to break the daily Ramadan fast with dates is because they are easily digested, making them a quick source of energy and nutrients.
Consuming dates after a long day of fasting also helps the body’s blood glucose levels quickly return to normal. It is also beneficial to eat dates when not fasting especially before a meal as it will satisfy the sensation of hunger, which in turn helps to avoid overeating.
In a nutshell, we can reap all the benefits of dates during the holy month of Ramadan. Here are three ways you can indulge in the goodness of this small fruit.
Breaking fast with a variety of dates
There is a large variety of dates and more than 40 of them are grown in Arabia alone. Every type of date has its own characteristic. Some of the most popular date varieties available in Malaysia include Ajwa, Maryami, Safawi, and Medjool. While these are easily found in many stores, you can also find many other varieties from Dua Dates. Formerly known as Aswadan Dates, this brand based in Sungai Buloh offers not just the popular varieties but also uncommon ones too.
This brand offers Mabroom dates, a type of soft dry date variety that is similar to Ajwa dates. It has a chewy texture and is mostly used in date-related food products. Dua Dates also sells Sukkary Rutob dates that are distinctively yellow and taste like toffee as it is moist with a seemingly crunchy texture. This texture is a result of the natural crystallised sugar formed on the outside.
You can also find a vast variety of dates from The Saheeh Kurma. This brand, which is based in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara in Petaling Jaya sells premium dates at very affordable prices. The products are also packaged in reusable containers. One of its most popular varieties is Suq’aie, an easily identifiable date as it appears in a distinct two-tone colour.
What’s cool about buying dates from The Saheeh Kurma is that you can purchase them as gifts with a special augmented reality (AR) message inserted on the packaging for the recipient. Regular buyers will also get to experience the unique AR technology by scanning the QR code on their packages.
Include dates in your drinks for an energy boost
Aside from fasting, Muslims also perform special prayers at night called tarawih. Tarawih prayer is encouraged but it isn’t obligatory. It can be performed at home, alone or in congregation, or at a mosque. One would need a boost of energy to perform additional prayers that are longer than the obligatory five daily prayers.
If you do not want to fill your stomach with a lot of food, you can always opt for a nutritious and filling glass of smoothie which incorporates dates. Dates are known to be amazing natural sweeteners. Using them instead of sugar will give your smoothie a delicious and natural sweetness. Don’t forget to also include ice as it will help make the smoothie thicker and keep you hydrated throughout your prayers.
You can also order energy-packed smoothies from Boost Juice via most food delivery services. Protein Supreme is the ultimate drink that will keep you energised. It is a combination of dates, whey protein, cinnamon, vita booster, coconut milk, coconut water, chia, immunity booster, banana, honey, muesli, and ice.
Reward yourself with a tasty dessert
There is one perfect dessert that springs to mind when it comes to dates, and it is the all-time favourite sticky date pudding. Also known as sticky toffee pudding, this is originally a British dessert that consists of a moist sponge cake made with finely chopped dates and covered in a toffee sauce. It is often served with vanilla ice cream or vanilla custard.
If you fancy a good serving of this scrumptious dessert, you can order it from LaZat Cooking School which is based in Sungai Penchala. It began selling a variety of savoury dishes and its signature sticky date pudding for takeaways during the pandemic as it was challenging to host cooking classes. LaZat Cooking’s sticky date pudding is made in aluminium loaf tins and sold for RM20.
Alternatively, you can head to Jaslyn Cakes to sample its version of the sticky toffee pudding. This decadent dish is to be eaten with vanilla custard drizzled on top of the pudding to give it a balance of flavours. You will be able to find this delightful bakery in the urban setting of Mont Kiara and the bustling area of Jalan Telawi, Bangsar.
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