Cooking for Ramadan?  We have recipes!

Cooking for Ramadan? We have recipes!

Ramadan, which begins in the United States on April 12 this year, is the Islamic holy fasting month from sunrise to sunset. Before dawn there is a meal called sahur, which typically consists of foods that will sustain one all day. After sunset, a meal is called iftar, often a feast with a full-course meal of soup, salads, appetizers, main course and of course sweets. While this is the norm, some observers eat lightly too iftar and enjoy a larger meal at sahur.

In some communities, Ramadan meals have become lavish feasts, though more modest meals are also customary. The specific foods and dishes consumed for both meals vary based on locality, culinary preferences and seasonal, as Ramadan can fall in any season of the year because it is mapped on the lunar calendar, which Islam adheres to, which is not synchronized with the Gregorian solar calendar. Still, there are many common culinary threads. Whether you are cooking for extensive parties or for more intimate gatherings, any of these recipes will delight your guests.

In many cultures, once the sun has set, it begins to break the fast with a few sips of water and some dates or fresh fruit. Soup is often served at iftar: a humble bowl of lentil soup can be an appetizer, while a more hearty soup like kibbeh bi’kizabrath (coriander tomato soup with Syrian meatballs) could be the whole meal.

Throughout the Middle East, there will usually be a number of mezze setting the table. Salads and appetizers may include eggplant preparations – in that region they say a girl is ready to get married when she can make another eggplant for each day of the year) – perhaps toasted and garnished with walnuts, flavored with lemon and garlic or pan-fried and marinated in a honey sauce. The bread salad, greasy, is a popular dish like stuffed grape leaves, samosas and tahini-rich hummus, which can be stuffed with fresh pita or mana’esh.

In many cultures, the main meal often includes hearty rice dishes such as muceddere obsessed with lentils and chickpeas, fragrant with cumin. There is usually at least one grilled or fried meat dish as whole roasted lamb shoulder on a bed of jeweled rice or grilled chicken kebab. Tasty stews like sumaqqiyeh (beef tail stew), ingriyi (sweet and sour lamb) as well as tagines are also quite popular.

Fruit will often accompany a large meal, freshly cut and sliced ​​to be eaten as is or in preparations such as a sweet melon with rose water granita or a more spicy watermelon and feta salad. Desserts probably include sweets such as crispy, nutty baklava, milky gullac or knafeh nabulseyeh – make shredded filo (kataifi) and a white sweet cheese drizzled with orange blossom water.

And this is how it applies throughout the month of Ramadan: Fast, party, repeat. Ramadan culminates in the three-day celebration at Eid al-Fitr, after which the fast and the feast finally end. Until next year.

Added garlic and lemon and fork whipped to creaminess, this flame-roasted eggplant spread is an ethereal kind of baba ghanouj.


Time
50 minutes


Dividends
Makes about 2 cups

This Turkish recipe is from Paula Wolfert’s book, “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen”, published by Wiley. Wolfert notes that the slower the grill, the more smoke the taste of eggplant is. She thanks Dr. Ayse Baysal for sharing the recipe.


Time
1 hour 10 minutes


Dividends
Serves 6

Chefs Or Amsalam and Alexander Phaneuf from cult hummus joint Hasiba serve a must-order marinated eggplant that you can now make at home.


Time
45 minutes


Dividends
Serves 8 to 10

“Fatta” means grated to pieces, which is what you do with old pita bread before toasting and tossing the pieces with fresh vegetables and greens topped with lemon and olive oil.


Time
40 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4 to 6

What makes this hummus is that it is very tehina-rich.


Time
2 hours 15 minutes


Dividends
Make a generous 3 cups of hummus

Aunt Mary’s yalanchi (stuffed grape leaves) are filled with rice, herbs and pine nuts in the classic Armenian style.


Time
2 hours


Dividends
Makes about 5 dozen yalanchi

The ground lamb with peas is a delicious, delicate filling, and the dough recipe, made with clarified butter, is simple to prepare.


Time
3 hours 20 minutes


Dividends
Make 24 samosas

Here is a California version of this Middle Eastern staple with whole grain flour, grated wheat, good olive oil and the fresh herb za’atar.


Time
35 minutes


Dividends
Make 8 (6- to 7-inch) flatbreads

This is bread that is built with a percentage of whole grain flour and left to rise overnight. It has flavor and structure and weight and can hold up to the delights packed inside.


Time
40 minutes


Dividends
Makes a dozen pitas

Whole wheat dough spotted with dates and caramelized onions is baked into a chewy flatbread, delicious as it is or served with a blob of peasant cheese or thick, garlic-like hummus.


Time
3 hours 15 minutes


Dividends
Gives 2 (14-inch) oval flatbreads, approx. 16 slices

The earthiness of the lentils is perfectly highlighted by the deep browned flesh.


Time
1 hour and 30 minutes


Dividends
Serves 8 to 10

This North Syrian dish with tomato soup with kibbeh meatballs is fragrant with allspice and fresh coriander.


Time
1 hour and 45 minutes


Dividends
Serves 8

The lamb shoulder is marinated in yoghurt and garlic before being fried and served on a rice bed that smells of rose water and Middle Eastern spices.


Time
4 hours


Dividends
Serves 6 to 8

Mansaf, a feast of lamb in yoghurt sauce on top of flatbread and a bed of rice, is known as Jordan’s national dish. It is also loved in Palestine.


Time
2 hours


Dividends
Serves 6

Spicy fried chicken served with maftoul, the Palestinian cousin to couscous ,.


Time
1 hour and 30 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4 generously

Making this melting lamb tagine evokes the special, almost mysterious quality of Moroccan tagines – fresh ingredients and juicy meat served in a rich, tasty sauce.


Time
3 hours 45 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4 to 6

This tasty Turkish rice dish is made with chickpeas, lentils and orzo pasta in addition to rice.


Time
1 hour and 30 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4 to 6

A variation of the Persian chelo kebab, unique to the Caspian Sea region, here the beef fillet is marinated in pomegranate and onion juice and finely ground walnuts and then grilled.


Time
30 minutes


Dividends
Serves 6

This spicy beef tail stew is rich in tahini and chickpeas and gets freshness from chard and chili.


Time
5 hours


Dividends
Serves 4 generously

Dried limes, which have long been an integral part of Persian cooking, give these tender, juicy kebabs a special, very characteristic sour and earthy taste.


Time
1 hour and 10 minutes, plus marinating overnight


Dividends
Serves 6 to 8

Each bite of this Iraqi stew is a collage of tender lamb, silky eggplant and tomato jam, lit by delicious tamarind juice.


Time
3 hours 10 minutes


Dividends
Serves 8 or more

Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley’s cheese-filled shredded phyllo dough is baked until deep golden, drizzled with simple orange blossom syrup and sprinkled with finely chopped pistachios.


Dividends
Gives 15 pcs. Serves 6 to 8.

Ramadan is unthinkable without baklava – crispy pastry layered with peanuts and saturated with a sweet lemon-flavored syrup.


Time
2 hours 30 minutes


Dividends
Make about 3 dozen pieces

Ramadan is unthinkable without gullac, a pudding made from thin crepes soaked in sweetened milk or syrup flavored with rose water and filled or layered with peanuts.


Time
40 minutes


Dividends
Serves 6

Medjool dates are big and melting sweet. Use three contrasting blends to fill the dates – blue cheese-almond, goat cheese-Grand Marnier chocolate and marzipan pistachio.


Time
10 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4

This dessert is as simple as it gets. If you do not like rose water, leave it out, but use vanilla extract or orange blossom water instead.


Time
15 minutes plus 4 hours freezing time


Dividends
Serves 8

Watermelon is so explosively juicy and sweet that you can add all sorts of great flavors – salty feta, jalapenos, roasted cumin, lime, fresh mint – without overwhelming it.


Time
20 minutes


Dividends
Serves 4 to 6

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