Four simple Ramadan recipes from a fasting and working mum

If you're fasting solo, here are easy-to-make recipes to help you

Spaghetti pasta with tomato meat sauce (bolognese) (iStockphoto.com)

A lot of people may be fasting Ramadan by themselves this year. And while in previous years, if you weren't planning to cook, you could still manage Ramadan iftars thanks to family gatherings and iftar buffets with friends, this year is, as we all know, a little different. However, you don't have to be a cook to make yourself a delicious iftar meal.

As a working mum of three, my biggest challenge every Ramadan has always been managing my time between work and home. This year, even during quarantine, it is no different. Between working from home, homeschooling two children, and a little toddler around the house, prepping an iftar dinner for the family, all while fasting, is an even bigger challenge this year. That's why my solution is to go for simple, but delicious recipes. So, if you're doing Ramadan solo, here are four simple recipes I make that you can try at home. Let's start cooking.

1. Lentil Soup

Ingredients

2 cups of orange lentils

Fresh vegetables. I like to include 1 potato, 1 carrot, 1 zucchini, and 1 tomato. Include 1 onion and 2 gloves of garlic as it adds flavour

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Spices: salt, cumin and curcuma

Method

Chop the vegetables into medium size pieces. In a large pot, add the lentils, olive oil, cumin, curcuma, and all the vegetables (including the garlic and the onion) at the same time and cook in 4 cups of water under medium heat until soft. Once the lentils and the vegetables are soft, add salt and blend using a blender until smooth.

Serve warm. Some people like to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon, or add small pieces of fried pita bread. It's optional.

2. Fattoush Salad

Ingredients

Five Romaine lettuce leaves

1 tomato

2 cucumbers

1 small onion

1 lemon (squeezed)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of pomegranate syrup

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

Spices: salt, sumac and cinnamon

Method

Wash the vegetables very well and chop them into medium size pieces. In a small bowl, make the dressing by adding garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, pomegranate syrup and half a teaspoon of salt. Add the dressing to the chopped vegetables. I like to add one teaspoon of sumac to the lettuce leaves and one teaspoon of cinnamon to the onion after chopping. Mix well.

Some like to add fresh pomegranate seeds and small pieces of fried pieces of pita bread. It's optional

Fattoush
CREDIT: Wikimedia

3. Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce

Ingredients

Spaghetti

250 grams of minced beef

1 small onion (chopped into small cubes)

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup of warm water

Spices: 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cinnamon

Method

In a pot, boil the spaghetti. Add a drop of olive oil and some salt to the spaghetti while cooking, so they're not sticky.

When ready, drain and set aside.

In a pot, add olive oil to fry the onions under medium heat. Once soft, add the minced beef, and then the salt and cinnamon. Let it cook with the onions for a few minutes.

Add the tomato paste and the water to the cooked beef. Cook it for another 10 to 15 minutes until the tomato sauce is thick.

Once ready, add the spaghetti.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Some people like to add cheese, so you can add grated mozzarella or parmesan if you like.

4. Mdaradra, or Mujaddra (A rice and lentil dish)

Ingredients 

1 cup of rice

1/2 cup of green lentils

1 large onion (chopped into half moon shapes)

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt

Yogurt (1/2 cup per serving)

Method
Soak the rice in water half an hour before cooking. I use Uncle Ben's. Boil the lentils in two cups of water until they're al dente. This should take about 12 minutes. Drain the lentils but don't throw out the water as we will use it to cook with the rice later.

In a pot, fry half the onions in two tablespoons of vegetable oil until golden. Then add the rice (after draining), add the lentils and a cup and a half of the water you had set aside from the lentils. If the water you have from the lentils is not enough (not a cup and a half), then don't worry, you can add regular water. Add half a teaspoon of salt, cover the pot, bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low heat.

In a small pan, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and cook the rest of the onion until they're almost burnt.

Garnish the dish with the fried onions. I really can't have this dish without them as they add incredible taste to it.

Serve with yogurt on the side.

There's a Palestinian version of this dish on our website, if you're interested in taking a look. 

If you're having trouble making any of these, write me. I'm always happy to help a reader out.

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