Ramadan 2018: Introduction
It is said that the month is called ‘Ramadan’ because it burns out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground. Also, in the Holy Qur’an, the Almighty declares that “fasting has been written down upon you, as it was upon those before you”. It is believed that fasting teaches the followers virtues of ‘patience, spirituality and modesty’.
Meal times, however, in Ramadan, is when families gather to enjoy a rich spread for there isn’t a better way to mark the start or end of fasting than with your favourite savoury foods with your loved ones around.
‘Suhoor’ and ‘Iftar’ are two main meals that are served during Ramadan. The Suhoor – is served before dawn, and the Iftar – after the sunset. Suhoor is ought to be wholesome enough to provide energy to last for the whole day, while Iftar is the time when energy levels are needed to be replenished so the fast observers prefer to include lots of vegetables, fruits, meat and rice in their meal.
Ramadan 2018 : Recipes you must try
Here are few ‘traditional Ramadan recipes,’ mostly popular in the Middle East:
A healthy yet filling salad ideal for Ramadan is Fattoush, made with of lots of vegetables, toasted or fried pieces of pita bread and herbs.
Serves: 6 people, Preparation time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for salad
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 pieces Pita bread, each cut into 4 pieces
- 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways, deseeded, chopped
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 3 small radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sumac
Ingredients for Dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- For dressing, follow this simple method: combine all ingredients in a screw-top jar. Secure lid. Shake until well combined.
- Fry bread with a little oil on medium heat, until it turns crisp and golden. (should take 1-2 minutes)
- Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, radish, onions, parsley and mint in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sumac. Put copious amount dressing and toss gently to combine well.
- Break bread into small pieces and add to salad before serving.
Recipe courtesy: http://www.alfez.com/moroccan_lebanese_cuisine/sumac-fattoush.html
One of the commonest dishes of Egypt and Middle East eaten along with Koshari during Iftar is ‘Kousa mahshi’ or zucchini stuffed with rice and meat. If you are not a meat lover, you have option of replacing it with peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, vine leaves, etc.
Serves: 4-6 Persons, Preparation time: 20 minutes, cooking time: 1hr
- 10 small Lebanese zucchini, approximately 10 cm long
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
Ingredients for Stuffing
- 1 cup (200 g) long-grain rice, washed
- 250 g lean minced beef (optional)
- 1 medium tomato, finely diced
- ½ onion, finely diced
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ⅓ cup chopped mint
- ⅓ cup chopped coriander
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp baharat (spice mixture)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 20 g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Cut off the zucchini stalks and slice off the dried tips at the opposite ends without removing too much flesh. Carefully hollow out the zucchini from the stalk end for a generous cavity.
- Wash the zucchini in salted water (to keep them firm when cooking), then drain.
- Combine all the stuffing ingredients and fill each zucchini with the stuffing with hand, and remember to keep 1 cm free at the top to allow the filling to expand.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and add 2 tbsp salt and the tomato paste. Add the stuffed zucchini and any meatballs and bring it to boil. Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour, allowing the sauce to reduce.
- Serve the stuffed zucchini with a little of the sauce and a spoonful of yoghurt.
Recipe courtesy: www.ramadan.co.uk/stuffed-zucchini-kousa-mahshi/
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A popular dish in the Arab world, Harees is easy on stomach and can be served for Suhoor or Iftar. Made of boiled, cracked wheat and meat, the consistency of Harees ranges between porridge and a dumpling.
Serves 8-10 people, Preparation time about 1.5 hrs
- Samen (local-made clarified butter) or melted butter
- 2 cups of harees (wheat-berries) (soaked overnight or for at least 8 hrs).
- 1 kilo (2 pounds) of chicken or lamb
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder
- 2-3 teaspoons of salt
- Boil the chicken/Lamb until tender. Debone it and save the stock for later use.
- Take a large pot and mix all the ingredients, Harees, deboned chicken/ lamb, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and the stock, check the consistency. The stock/water need to cover the Harees by about 2 or 3 inches. Add water if needed.
- Bring it to boil on a low heat until it reduces to a watery oatmeal-like consistency.
(Anticipated time: 1 hr). Frequent checks recommended.
- Use a hand mixer to blend Harees for an even thick consistency.
- Put a generous amount of samen and serve it piping hot.
Recipe courtesy:: https://emiraticankitchen.wordpress.com/category/lamb/
Iftar meals are incomplete without Ramadan desserts, especially Mouhalabieh which is a delicious pudding made with rice and milk and garnished with ground pistachio.
Serves: 4-6 Persons Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup rice, soaked in 1 cup of water for 3 hours
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoon meske
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rosewater
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
- Grounded pistachios
- In a bowl, crush and add in a pinch of sugar.
- In a pan; mix the milk, sugar, rosewater and orange blossom water together with 7 cups of water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture starts boiling.
- Drain the rice and set aside.
- Reduce the heat and add in the drained rice slowly while constantly stirring until the whole mixture starts to boil and thicken.
- Add the crushed meske to the rice mixture and stir continuously to prevent the Mouhalabieh from sticking to the pan.
- Turn off the heat and pour the warm Mouhalabieh into serving bowls. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate for several hours. Garnish with pistachios and serve cold.
Recipe courtesy: http://www.grouprecipes.com/124852/mouhalabieh.html
Quench your thirst with a delicious fruit syrup made from grape molasses, rose water, date, and carob – Jallab! A very popular drink in Middle East, Jallab is served at Iftar – usually with crushed ice and floating pine nuts and raisins.
Serves: 4-6 Persons Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 5 cups of Jallab syrup
- 6 cups of cold water
- 6 teaspoons of raw pine nuts
- Crushed ice or ice cubes
- Mix all the syrup and cold water in a big pitcher and mix well.
- Pour in glasses and add crushed ice or ice cubes.
- Garnish with raw pine nuts and raisins.