The time has come for our dear Muslim friends to fast and pray, to repent and praise their Lord. Ramadan brings with it a serenity, a calmness and an atmosphere of practical divinity which envelops multitudes of people. In this month, the Holy Quran was sent forth as guidance to mankind and hence this is a most revered month for Muslims. Aside from worship, what interests many is the diverse food cooked for Suhoor and Iftar. A little experimentation with our favourite dishes doesn’t harm anyone, presenting to you the Top 20 food ideas for Ramadan:
1. Creamy-Pistachio Dates
For every Muslim, breaking one’s fast with a Khajoor (Date) is the Prophet’s Sunnah. Therefore, you will notice that Dates are a must on every platter. This Ramadan let us try beautifully to modify our Common Khajoor by giving it a rich, creamy-crunchy taste. All you require is to stuff each date (preferably, Mejdool dates) with 2 whole almonds (after removing the seed) and then lightly pinch it close. Following this, just drizzle some crème fraîche on each date finishing by sprinkling lemon zest and chopped pistachios. These little delights are easy to make and satisfying to look at during Iftar!
2. Dates with Ms Vanilla
The name may confuse some but this is hands-off the easiest cook on this list. The splendid combination of sweet juicy dates with the ever-simple Vanilla ice cream is truly mouthwatering. This duo reaches perfection in the form of a shake (Told you it was easy!). All you need to do is to blend milk, dates and vanilla ice cream in the blender until it reaches frothy- smoothness. This is apt to give you an energy boost during Suhoor (Sehri) or even Iftar.
3. Spicy Corn Pakoras
Alright, I agree eating oily food is not desirable, especially when your throat has been left parched for the entire day! But, this dish is too tasty to be left off the menu. We all are familiar with our holy Aloo and Onion Pakoras but this one is a hot-hot affair. Preparation includes making a mixture consisting of cornmeal, chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, grinded corn kernels, salt, turmeric and baking powder. To this mixture ingredients such as chilli, ginger, cilantro is added to obtain a thick batter. Once this batter is ready, fry the Pakoras away! Don’t forget to serve this with a sweet chutney.
4 Chicken Stuffed Gift Box
This is the most adorable snack I’ve ever seen! The process of making these is like that of making Samosas, the only difference is to make the ribbons. They are prepared by cutting the dough using a cookie-cutter, it can be done in any shape you prefer. Once the stuffing is ready, just place it on the dough, fold it, wrap it using the ribbons and then fry until crispy. Notably, you may change the stuffing as per your choice. Go, start your experiment now!
5 Pizza Pockets with Chicken Filling
The best attribute of this snack is that it is oil-free. The stuffing can be changed as well. Just prepare the desired filling, place it onto the wheat flour dough and then fold in a half-moon shape or as we know it, The Gujia Way. Rest of the work is done by the mighty oven. What’s the need of Domino’s if you get this right, right?
6 Bread Tartlets
This finger food is delicious and a creative use of bread. To make the tartlets, place white bread in muffin tins brushed with some oil and bake them. For the filling, your choice of herbs may be added mingled with a heavy (or light) dose of cheese and oregano. The tartlets are baked again once you put the filling inside. Quick to serve, this dish has the potential to be the ‘Star’ of your Iftar.
Haleem or Daleem is widely served at several stalls during Ramadan. It is essentially a stew consisting of meat, lentils, herbs and a tangy blend of spices. Traditionally, it is cooked slowly on a wooden fire and is often a favourite dish for Suhoor.
Since it is the summer season, Aamras can be a healthy addition to your Iftar. Quite simple to prepare, you need saffron, cardamom powder, sugar, ginger powder and milk or water and of course, mangoes. Blend all these to get a refreshing appetiser which can also be eaten with Pooris or Roti.
Gulgule are a Ramadan delicacy in every Indian Muslim’s household. It has a sticky-sweet texture which is cherished by all the young ones during Iftar. Gulgule is made out of a thick batter consisting of Atta, gur,saunf and ghee. This sugary goodness is then deep fried in a Kadhai.
10 Tex-Mex Pasta Salad
A twist on the macaroni salad, this salad is infused with plenty of Mexican-inspired flavours mixed in a creamy dressing. It takes very little time prepare and is best served cold. You only need to add cooked macaroni, bell pepper, onion, sweetcorn, tomato, chicken and olives in a mixing bowl. Following this just add the spices and cream for the dressing, mix well and refrigerate!
11 Chinese Chicken Salad
You literally just need to cook the chicken for this one. Just layer the vegetables on a platter such as cabbage, lettuce, bell peppers and anything which you’d like to. Add to that the dressing made of vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, soy and oyster sauce and a dash of ginger-garlic paste. Don’t forget to add a salt and pepper along with a few nuts for that crunchy taste.
12 Chana Salad
Chana Salad was a common snack our mothers used to give us for lunch during school days. It is nutritious hence a healthy option for Iftar. The juiciness of the tomato, the freshness of the onion combined with the simplicity of Chana interfused with tangy flavours, proves it to be one of the best salads ever.
13 Omelet in a Bun
This dish caught my eye, it stood out amongst the queue of burgers and regular sandwiches we all know about. This unique dish is rather easy to make- One needs to scoop out the middle portion of buns and then pour the egg mixture and cheese inside it. Once this is done, just bake the buns until the cheese melts. It looks delicious!
14 Quick Vegetable Spring Roll
These home-made spring rolls work two ways. You can use the Chow Mein as a separate dish and also as a filling for the spring rolls. The rolls are made out of sheets of Thai rice paper; Chow Mein was used as a filled after which it was carefully folded and allowed to steam for a few minutes. Serve it with a sauce or a spicy chutney!
15 Nukti Khaare
This snack is difficult to find nowadays. Nukti is sweetened balls (usually dipped in Chashni) made of Besan which are added to Namkeen Khaare resulting in a savory-sweet taste. Interestingly, Nukti is available in red, green and blue colours; The khare used can be of the eater’s choice.
16. Baked Masala Papad
If you want to go for a light Iftar then Baked Masala Papad is an appropriate option. Masala Papad which is easily available in the market is baked, allowed to cool after which a mildly spicy salad consisting of seasonal vegetable is used as a dressing. Finish it off with a good squeeze of lemon for a fresh taste!
17 Good Old Fruit Salad
Nothing beats an inviting fruit salad which is mixed with the correct amount of required spices. Be it mangoes, apples, bananas or even oranges, one may alter the salad as per his/her choice. Though, if you add cream to it, it takes the taste to another level! This versatile dish is found in all households during Iftar.
18. Baked Qeema Samosa
You may think twice before taking a bite of a samosa but during Ramadan, it is nearly impossible to miss this scrumptious snack. Just prepare the best Qeema you can and fill it in the dough then bake it. You can also use the leftover Qeema for dinner later!
This traditional, Red Indian drink needs no introduction. People often experiment with it using milk and dry fruits. However it may be used, one thing is for sure- nothing can replace Rooh-afza!
20 Finally, Water!
Contrary to the title, ‘Water’ is not exactly a Ramadan idea. But, if everything else fails at least you can serve chilled water. Believe me, it will be welcome, no matter what!
We wish you a peaceful and happy Ramadan!