Ahmad Alzahabi invites 5.1 million people every week into his kitchen – virtually, of course.
Alzahabi, known as @TheGoldenBalance on social media, is working to make kitchen duty less intimidating for his followers. The Syrian American posts instructional videos from his Flint, Michigan, home on creating some of his favorite dishes. For Alzahabi, his YouTube Shorts videos are a family affair: he showcases some of his mother’s recipes while his father serves as a trusted taste-tester.
While Alzahabi is a social media celebrity, he’s also been noticed by other marquee names, including “Truth Hurts” singer Lizzo, who honored the YouTube chef by uttering his signature signoff, “Now Bismillah,” an Islamic phrase meaning, “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
Alzahabi joined correspondent Trevor Ault during ABC News Live Prime’s weekly segment “Tik Talk,” where popular Tik Tokers explain the stories behind their viral content. Alzahabi told Ault that the Ramadan holiday is much more than fasting for him: “For me, it’s a spiritual cleanse. You’re stepping away from your day-to-day and thinking more about why we’re on this planet… It’s not just refraining and holding back from food.”
He also cleared up some common misconceptions about the month of fasting. “A lot of people think we’re not eating the whole time,” Alzahabi revealed, clarifying that Muslims only fast from sunrise to sunset. He also explained that Muslims cannot drink water or take medicine, with some necessary exemptions.
He hasn’t let refraining from food or drink during the day get in the way of his kitchen lessons. In his annual series, “The Ramadan Chronicles,” he continues to demonstrate step-by-step instructions to make delectable meals like a buffalo chicken style mac and cheese or a mango lassi, only this time refraining from indulging in a taste and providing updates on how he's faring with his fast.
He explained that “The Ramadan Chronicles” is the perfect name for the series because of his current “all over the place” filming schedule that he adjusts to satisfy his cravings during the designated time to eat.
The content creator also shared a “heartwarming recipe” to enjoy when you’re breaking your fast – his mother’s lentil soup. Soup is his recommended way to commence your first post-fasting meal after your one to three dates, a common practice in Muslim households.
He also educates his large fan base about his Muslim faith, most recently breaking down the meaning of Ramadan. Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islamic culture, believed to be when the Quran was first revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims observe this holiday by fasting – one of the five pillars of Islam – throughout the month. The month is dedicated to self-discipline and bettering oneself and their relationship with God through charitable acts and prayer. The month concludes with Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration, also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast. This year, Eid al-Fitr begins on Sunday, May 1.
In a video that received 871.1K views posted on April 1, 2022 – the first day of this year’s holy month, Alzahabi explained what Ramadan meant to him.