It’s nearly impossible to hide your excitement for iftar if you’re fasting. It is, without a doubt, the highlight of every day during the holy month, and for reasons other than going a day without eating or drinking. For starters, iftar is not your typical evening meal. It’s jam-packed with every delectable dish you could
It’s nearly impossible to hide your excitement for iftar if you’re fasting. It is, without a doubt, the highlight of every day during the holy month, and for reasons other than going a day without eating or drinking.
For starters, iftar is not your typical evening meal. It’s jam-packed with every delectable dish you could want.
You’re familiar with the routine. A few sides to break the fast, usually stuffed dates (with butter, halva, mixed nuts…) and a refreshing glass of bsissa, milk, or qamar al din. Following that are delectable classics ranging from hot soups in the Maghreb to rice-based rich dishes in the Levant. These are the staples, but no recipe is off-limits during Ramadan.
Harees is an Arabic dish made of wheat, meat (chicken or mutton), and salt. With only a few ingredients, it is both healthy and delicious. My Arabic friend shared the simplest authentic recipe with me. It is served with ghee(سمن) spooned on top, which adds an amazing rich flavor.
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Time to cook: 2 hours
Time spent soaking: 8 hours
Chicken 750 grams
Harees(wheat) 2 cups (soak it overnight)
Cinnamon stick 2
Black pepper powder 1 teaspoon
Salt as per your taste
Method: Cook the chicken, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and salt in water for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the froth. Take the chicken out, separate the bones, and shred it. Cook for an hour on low heat with the wheat in the same stock.
Blend the wheat mixture with an electric hand blender until it forms a smooth grainy paste. At this point, add the shredded chicken and black pepper powder and mix for an hour with a wooden hand blender. When it’s thick enough, pour it into a serving bowl and top with melted ghee. Delicious and nutritious harees are ready.
And there’s no better way to celebrate the holy month than to try something new. These are the classic Ramadan dishes that never leave the dinner table if you want a taste of iftar from across the region.
Harira is a type of Moroccan soup. It is popular as a starter, but it can also be eaten as a light snack on its own. There are many variations, and it is typically served during Ramadan, though it can be made at any time of year.
1/2-pound meat (lamb, beef or chicken; uncooked, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups water
4 Tbsp dried lentils
3 tbsp tomato paste (mixed evenly into 2 cups of water)
For the Stock:
1 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 Tsp pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tsp turmeric
1/2 Tsp saffron
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 or 2 stalk celery (with leaves; finely chopped)
1 large onion
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tin of peeled tomatoes large tomatoes
Optional: smen (ghee butter)
2 to 3 tablespoons rice
Brown the Meat
1- In a large saucepan, combine the meat and oil.
2- Cook the meat for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring to brown all sides.
3- Create the stock next.
In a food processor, combine the coriander, parsley, celery, onion, spices, and tomatoes. Pour in 2 cups of water and puree until smooth.
4- Combine the lentils, chickpeas, and halved chopped onions with the meat. 1 slash of chopped celery, some chopped coriander, parsley, and pour in your stock
5- Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low heat and add the tomato paste mixture and 2 cups of water to the stock. Allow it to simmer for 45 minutes, covered. 6- While the soup is cooking, make a (soup thickener) by combining 1 tsp flour and 1/3 cup water. Pour the mixture into the soup and give it a good stir or whisk every now and then. Continue to mix in the rice and 1 beaten egg to prevent the egg from setting in one lump. Allow it to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, then serve. With some warm homemade bread, this dish is ready to serve.
Aromatic lamb with dates
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
500g diced boneless lean lamb, preferably from the leg
300g sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
50g pitted dates
2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the onion and lamb and quickly fry until the lamb is lightly browned.
Combine the sweet potatoes and spices in a large mixing bowl. Bring 425ml of boiling water and the tomato purée to a boil.
Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and lamb are tender, adding the dates for the last 10 minutes. Serve with couscous and a sprinkle of coriande.
Egyptian egg salad
2 large eggs
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cumin seeds
400g can borlotti or fava beans, juice reserved
2 Little Gem lettuces cut into wedges
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
a sprinkling of dried chili flakes and roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, optional
Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the eggs and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool slightly before peeling and halving. Meanwhile, make a dressing with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water.
Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes to soften. Add the ground cumin and seeds, stir briefly, then add the beans and lightly crush some of them as you heat them, adding some of the can juice to get a nice creamy consistency but leaving some whole beans. If necessary, season with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Arrange the beans and lettuce on plates, then top with the eggs and tomatoes, as well as the tahini dressing, chili, and parsley, if using.
juice 2 lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Cos lettuce, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped into chunks
small pack flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped into chunks
200g pack cooked chicken pieces (or leftover cooked chicken)
2 spring onions, sliced
2 pitta pieces of bread
1-2 tsp ground sumac
Pour the lemon juice into a large mixing bowl and whisk while gradually adding the oil. Season once all of the oil has been added and the mixture has begun to thicken.
Add the lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, chicken pieces, and spring onions, and stir well to coat the salad in the dressing.
Put the pitta bread in the toaster until crisp and golden, then chop into chunks. Scatter the toasted pitta pieces over the salad and sprinkle over the sumac. Serve straight away.
Spiced koftas with honey & chickpeas
Spiced lamb koftas are a low-cost option for a quick family meal. Serve with baked chickpeas and a drizzle of the creamy yogurt dressing.
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
500g lamb mince
1 ½ tbsp ras el hanout
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
80g Greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, 1/2 juiced, 1/2 cut into wedges to serve
25g parsley, roughly chopped, to serve
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Using a pestle and morter, crush the fennel seeds. In a large bowl, combine the crushed seeds, lamb, ras el hanout, and pine nuts, and season well. Divide the mixture into eight equal egg-shaped koftas.
Tip the chickpeas into an ovenproof dish, season to taste, and put in the oven while you fry the koftas. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the koftas and gently fry for 5 mins, turning from time to time, until evenly browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Remove the chickpeas from the oven, add the koftas to the dish, then pour over the rest of the oil and the honey, and return to the oven for 15 mins.
In a bowl, combine the yogurt, tahini, and lemon juice with 70-100ml water and season well. Serve the koftas and chickpeas topped with parsley and a good drizzle of the creamy dressing, with the lemon wedges on the side.
Enjoy a nutritious breakfast that will keep you fuller for longer, with eggs, vibrant green broccoli, and courgettes for protein, vitamins, and minerals.
140g courgettes , grated
3 medium eggs
85g broccoli florets, finely chopped
small pack dill , roughly chopped
3 tbsp gluten-free flour or rice flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil , for frying
Squeeze the courgettes between your hands to remove any excess moisture, or tip onto a clean tea towel and twist it to squeeze out the moisture.
Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the broccoli, courgettes and most of the dill, and mix together. Add the flour, mix again and season.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Put a large serving spoon of the mixture in the pan, then add 2 more spoonful so you have 3 fritters. Leave for 3-4 mins on a medium heat until golden brown on one side and solid enough for you to flip over, then flip over and leave to go golden on the other side. Repeat to make 3 more fritters (there is no need to add any more oil to the pan after the first batch). Scatter with the remaining dill to serve.
Make this vegan hummus silky by using high-quality chickpeas. Dips are a great party food to serve with crudités and warm pitas.
700g chickpeas, drained
135ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tahini
1½ lemons, juiced
For the toppings
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sumac
½ small pack parsley, roughly chopped
40g pomegranate seeds
crudités and warm pittas, to serve
Blitz ¾ of the chickpeas and 120ml of the oil with the rest of the hummus ingredients and a good amount of seasoning in a food processor. Add a little water if it is too thick. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl or spread it onto a plate. Can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the fridge.
Dry the rest of the chickpeas on kitchen paper as much as possible. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chickpeas and a large pinch of salt, and fry until golden, around 4 mins. Drain on kitchen paper.
STEP 3 Drizzle some oil over the hummus, then sprinkle with the spices, parsley and pomegranate seeds. Scatter the fried chickpeas on top and serve with crudités and warm pitta breads.
Aubergine & chickpea bites
For these tasty, healthy vegan canapés, combine chickpeas and aubergine with garlic and cumin. They’ll go down a treat with our harissa yogurt.
3 large aubergines, halved, cut side scored
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin seeds
400g can chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp gram flour
1 lemon, ½ zested and juice, ½ cut into wedges to serve (optional)
3 tbsp polenta
For the dip
1 tbsp harissa (we used Belazu rose harissa)
150g coconut dairy-free yogurt (we used Coyo)
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spray the aubergine halves generously with oil, then put them cut-side up in a large roasting tin with the garlic, coriander and cumin seeds. Season, then roast for 40 mins until the aubergine is completely tender. Set aside to cool a little.
Scoop the aubergine flesh into a bowl and discard the skins. Use a spatula to scrape the spices and garlic into the bowl. Add the chickpeas, gram flour, lemon zest and juice, roughly mash together and check the seasoning. Don’t worry if the mix is a bit soft – it will firm up in the fridge.
Shape the mixture into 20 balls and put them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, then leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Swirl the harissa through the yogurt and set aside. Can make ahead to this point the day before and kept covered in the fridge.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the polenta onto a plate, roll the balls in it to coat, then return them to the tray and spray each one with a little oil. Roast for 20 mins until crisp, hot and golden. Serve with the harissa yogurt and lemon wedges, if you like.