Posts Tagged ‘Ramadan’

Ramadan Kareem – Ramadan Generous, in deed!

There is just something in Moroccan dishes what hugely attracts my appetite. The spices, the combination of sweet and spicy, which creates this irresistible flavor.
I discovered for myself Moroccan cousin at it’s very best last year during Ramadan. That time I was going to the house of one woman, very good friend of my in-laws. This woman (I will redder to her as A.) has a very big heart and every Ramadan she is making her cooks to prepare fresh daily meals and give it to poor.
It was amazing experience for me to be part of it!
Every day there was a full on cooking happening in her kitchen. The cooks and servants (who were also fasting) were waking up early and starting cooking up to Iftar. Daily meals included:

Freshly made from the scratch Moroccan Harira – hearty soup with chickpeas, lentils and lamb. Huge three pans were steaming on the specially installed stoves from early morning:

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Moroccan bread “Msammen” – was also prepared fresh on daily basis

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from this amount of dough:

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And that was not all! There was also Moroccan Pancakes made of semolina and served with warm butter and honey mixture:

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Before every single Iftar poor people were gathering close to the gates and waiting for their tern to get a set of those three course meals. Majority of those poor people do not have meat ever since it is too expensive to afford.
In meanwhile we were putting in plastic containers servings of bread and pancakes and pouring steaming hot Harira with pieces of best quality farmed lamb into their thermoses. By the beginning of evening prayer – all the food would be gone and then finally the cooks could rest and have their Iftar and rest a bit, since the same cooking pattern would begin the next morning.

It was an amazing experience and this is all what real Ramadan meaning is.
Ramadan Kareem!

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Iftar Treats

It is still ramadan in here – 17 days through. Every single evening we are visiting my hubby’s family and have festive Iftar. We ate a lot recently. I felt really challenged to maintain healthy diet despite all the treats, sweats and white flour products on the table! Oh, god it is all look so tasty every single evening.
Sometimes though I feel like I miss some really not Arabic dishes like Thai curry or Indian tikka or dosa. Or even sushi for that matter! Mmm would sure indulge into huge plate of sashimi with hot sake right after Ramadan! I recently found that cool gluten free soy Tamari in organic section of my local supermarket and thought that it would be cool to take with you your own gluten free soy sauce to the sushi place. Anyone does the same way?

So far some recent eats. I made this dish for one of the Iftars, when my mother in law travelled and I tried to make something special for father in law and hubby’s cousins (tow young boys in their twenties). I have not ate it though – since it is just loaded with gluten and indulged into some minced lofts and tahina which was perfectly cooked by atHe maids.

Shish Barak (Arabic dumplings in yogurt sauce)

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Make dough:
Combine 2 cups of all purpose flour and 4 tbsp of olive oil, add 1 tsp of salt and mix. Gradually add up to 1 cup of room temperature water and keep kneading till the dough become elastic and not sticking to the hands. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour.

Make filling in the mean time:
Chop finely 1/2 of big onion, toast 1/2 cup of pine nuts. In a skillet heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry onions until soft. Add 280 gr of minced lamb (from the local farms, low fat) add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp dry mint, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Baharat (Arabic mixed spices), salt and pepper to taste. Stir fry meat until brown all over and most liquid evaporated – about 25 minutes on medium to low heat. Remove from heat and mix in pine nuts. Leg it cool.

Make dumplings:
Knead the dough again and make sure that it has the right consistency. My mother always used to gather dough into the ball and cut through it with a knife – it should not stick to the knife and should have very even structure inside without any bubbles. If the dough is sit king to the knife – then add a little flour and kneed, if it has bubbles – then it needs to be kneaded longer.
After dough reached desired consistency – cut it in half and roll on the slightly floured surface into thin layer. Cut out 3 inch circles. Place one tsp. Of filling into center of the circle and fold it in half. Stick together both sides of the dough and then fold over each other sharp ends.
Prepare all dumplings. optional: spread them evenly on baking shit and let them dry in preheated to 190C oven for 5-10 minutes.

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Make yogurt sauce:
Mix 5 cups of plain yogurt with 3 tbsp corn starch. Heat on medium heat stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper. When yogurt will come to simmer and thicken, gently add dumplings. Lower the heat to minimum and let cook for 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, prepare the garnish:
Heat two tbsp. Of olive oil in small sauce pan, add 2 garlic cloves and toasted pine nuts. Pour it over the dish with shish Barak.
Shish Barak usually served with macaroni rice on the side.

They also had some Arabic sweets for dessert:

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Home made Kunafe on the right.

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Happy feasting,

Elena

Recent Iftar

One of the recent Iftars at my in-laws -)

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Every evening we gather there for a fantastic dinner. One of the dishes every time on the table is beans – foul deep with yogurt or like here red beans deep with tomatoes and oil and lemon dressing:

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“Manaishes” – typical Arabic pastry with meat or cheese filling, served with yogurt. Often we purchase a bulk of them from the bakery and freeze ahead.

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Every Iftar there is at least one or two main dishes other then appetizer and pickles on the table – everything freshly cooked and prepared from the scratch. This time it was “shakryie” soft lamb pieces cooked in yogurt sauce (vermicelli rice is on the background of the picture typically served on the side):

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I made apple spice coffee cake for dessert:

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Recent workouts: morning yoga and kitchen work out 😉

***off to making burritos freeze ahead -)) yam yam with law carb tortilla

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Karem!

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This month has began with a great festival spread across Muslim world – Ramadan started right on 1st of July. Ramadan is religious holy month for Muslims when they supposed to be fasting from sunrise till sunset and pray as always five times a day. This month brings peace and prosperity to all and brings families together. Read more about on this website in different languages http://www.islamreligion.com/index.php?searchword=Ramadan&searchphrase=all&submit=Search&option=search&fromform=1&modifier=entire
Every day fast breaks with a flavorful meal called Iftar (افتر), which translates as “breakfast” from Arabic. Iftar normally being called with maghreb prayer – which is commences at the sunset. At this time all families gather at a big table with and break their fast with water and dates, followed by a festive meals cooked at home. Since it is a first meal after long hours of fasting it is advisable to have it as light as possible and as healthy as possible, it is recommended to limit spices and salt content of food since your taste buds re very activated at this time.
After sharing Iftar with family all proceed to comfort yourself on the couches in the leaving room. Often Arabic sweats and coffee will be served shortly after main meal.
Iftar this year is bit on a late side – started at 7.07 pm on 1 st of July, but every day becoming earlier and by the end of the month will reach somewhere close to 6.40 pm, I think.
After “breakfast” with family – younger crowd heading to the Ramadan Tents and shisha places spread all across Dubai. It is comfortable restaurants where you can meat up with friends, smoke shisha and drink some fruit cocktails or even order some food if you like, but trust me from my experience wit is very difficult to eat at such a proximity to Iftar.
Originally as per Koran – the next meal supposed to just before sunrise around 4 am or so right before Fajr prayer, but a lot of fasting people do not follow this regimen since it is not easy to sleep for a couple of hours and then interrupt your sleep for a short time and go back to sleep after that is nearly impossible for a lot of people especially if you have work the next day. So, a lot of people make their morning meal called Souhur into a night dinner – around 1 or 2 am – it might be any possible meal from porridge to typical manaishes (oven baked breads with cheese or meat or egg or altogether). Forgot to mention, that working hours during this month also get shorter by law – normally fasting employees are entitled to work no more therm 6 horse per day. But in reality it gets as difficult as 8 hours during regular months.