Ramadan 2019: Four delicious Iftar recipes that you must try - GulfToday

Ramadan 2019: Four delicious Iftar recipes that you must try

ramadan-food-main

A combo image shows delicacies for Ramadan.

Saleha Irfan, Senior Sub-Editor/Reporter

Ramadan is just around the corner and, if you are like me, you have already planned out the entire month, complete with meal plans and menus for Iftar parties.

For as long as I can remember, before the month of Ramadan, I have listed what needs to be cooked for each day. Planning ahead not only saves me time, but also frees up my mind to focus more on execution. Now all I have to do during Ramadan is to glance at the list every morning, to check if I need any extra ingredients from the market, and cook. I have even jotted down the days when my kitchen would be closed!

Yes, yes, I know: Phrases like “Type A” and “OCD” are crossing your minds.

To be honest, this time my OCD went up a notch. I have already filled up my phone calendar with the items I would need to buy on each date. But, at least now, I can relax and enjoy this blessed month.

For me, Ramadan is the month of peace. It is the time to reconnect with friends and family. Nowadays, we all lead such busy lives and, with hectic schedules, who has the time to actually sit down for a proper meal with family?

Ramadan clears the table for all that with its specific mealtimes and shorter working hours. This is the month to catch up with those who are dear and near to you. It is the month to strengthen those bonds.

Whether you’re into big bashes or small cosy gatherings, hosting a get-together for Iftar requires some serious menu planning. And, since Iftar parties are quite unavoidable in this month, I thought to share some of my simple and no-fail recipes that you can whip up. These crowd pleasures are sure to impress your guests, just like they have mine over the years.

WATERMELON LEMONADE

Quench your thirst with this must-have cool summer drink. You can choose to add a sweetener like sugar or honey to your drink if your watermelon isn’t sweet enough.

ramadan-recipe-1

Ingredients

2 cups watermelon

4 tablespoons lemon

1 cup water

Ice cubes

Method

1. In a blender, add watermelon, lemon, water and ice cubes and blend well.

2. Strain the drink and serve.

CHICKPEA SALAD

If you’re bored of the typical lettuce and macaroni salads, give this a try. This healthy Iftar appetiser involves almost no cooking, because who wants to stand in front of a hot stove during fasting hours and, that too, in the summer? This salad can be served hot or cold.

ramadan-recipe-3

Ingredients

2 can chickpeas (400 grams each)

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium potato, boiled and chopped

1 medium onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon tamarind sauce

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon chat masala

Mint leaves, for garnishing

Method

1. Boil the chickpeas, about 5 minutes, drain them and let them cool.

2. Boil the potato until soft. Peel and cut.

3. Slice the onions and wash properly. Add salt and leave them in a sieve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, wash the onions thoroughly and squeeze the water out of them. This takes the smell and the bitter taste of the onions away.

4. Next, chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

5. To assemble, add chickpeas to a large bowl. Add potatoes, tomatoes and onions to it.

6. Next, add salt, pepper, red chilli powder, chat masala, tamarind sauce and mix until well combined.

7. Squeeze lemon on top and toss to combine.

8. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI WITH SAUTÉED VEGETABLES

This vibrant dish can be put together in less than 30 minutes.

ramadan-recipe-4

Ingredients

400g spaghetti

1/2 cup spring onion, cut

For the chicken

300g boneless chicken

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 tablespoon ginger paste

2 teaspoons red chilli flakes

2 teaspoons soya sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

For the sautéed vegetables

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

Red and orange bell peppers, sliced

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Method

1.Pour water in a large pot and add spaghetti to it. (Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to boil the water before adding pasta to it. The end result will be the same and you will have saved time needed to boil the water.) To make sure the noodles don’t stick together, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil to the water. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Drain and keep aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a pan to cook the chicken. Add the chicken and fry for a minute on high heat.

3. Add vinegar to the pan and mix. Next, add ginger and garlic paste. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Turn down the heat. Add soy sauce, cover the pan and fry until cooked through, around 12-15 minutes.

4. Add the maple syrup to the chicken. Mix and fry for 2 minutes on high heat. Keep aside.

5. For the sautéed vegetables: Slice the mushrooms lengthwise. Deseed the bell peppers and slice.

6. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry on high heat for 3 minutes.

7. Add the sliced peppers to the pan next. Mix in the vinegar and fry for 3 more minutes.

8. Next, add the butter, garlic and ginger paste and mix well. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the vegetables and then add the soy sauce. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

9. To assemble the noodles, add the cooked and drained pasta to a pan. Mix in the sautéed vegetables and chicken. Toss to combine well. Sprinkle the spring onion on top.

10. Taste and add additional salt or pepper if needed. Serve warm.

SWEET AND TANGY FRUIT SALAD

What better way to celebrate summer than with a big bowl of sweet fruits? The only reason I love this season is because of the variety of fruits we get here. This fruit salad will make for the perfect healthy dessert. You can omit any fruit you don’t like or add any that you do.

ramadan-recipe-2

Ingredients

1 green apple, sliced

1 red apple, sliced

1 pear, sliced

1 cup red grapes, halved

1 cup green grapes, halved

1 kiwi, peeled and chopped

1 mango, peeled and diced

3 bananas, peeled and sliced

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 pomegranate, deseeded

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon chat masala

1 tablespoon black raisins

3 dates

Method

1. Deseed the dates, chop and keep them aside.

2. In a large bowl, cut and place the apples, pear, grapes, kiwi, mango, bananas and strawberries. Add the pomegranate seeds as well.

3. Squeeze lemon on top of the fruits. Juice the oranges and pour it in the bowl. Toss the fruits so they are covered with the citrus juices evenly. (The lemon prevents the fruits from browning as well.)

4. Add salt, pepper, red chilli powder and chat masala and mix thoroughly.

5. Sprinkle a handful of black raisins along with the chopped dates as garnish and serve.