In the holy month of Ramadan, Iftar is the most awaited meal that people look forward to after the daylong fasting. Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates and milk followed by a scrumptious and nutritious spread of Iftar meal. All over the world, Iftar meal bristles with a variety of their local delicacies and our land of sand is not an exception when it comes to delectable local varieties that are traditional & popular especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Middle Eastern Lentil Soup: A smooth & velvety, protein-packed bowl of hot lentil soup is a classic Iftar dish that is ideal for your stomach after a long day of fasting. It is made by cooking the lentils and vegetables together with all the necessary seasonings and bay leaves to add that beautiful and subtle flavour to the soup. It’s then pureed well together to get a smooth & thick consistency, and finished with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice to give it a light and refreshing feel.
Kabsa: This is a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish that is a staple in the Arab homes. Although it is considered indigenous to Saudi Arabia, it is a commonly served dish all over the Middle East. Kabsa is usually made with grilled or barbequed meat/poultry served on a bed of long grain rice cooked in stock with whole spices. The popular choice of meat/poultry for kabsa is chicken, lamb, beef or camel. It is usually served with a side salad and a homemade Arabic tomato sauce.
Tagine: The term Tagine is referred to both the North African cookware made of clay or ceramic, and also to the rich meat stew dish that is prepared in this particular cookware. Traditionally, tagine is made with lamb or chicken, slow cooked with some fruits and vegetables resulting in a tenderly cooked meat stew with a balanced sweet and sour flavour.
Harees: It is a traditional Arabic dish and one of the popular Ramadan staples in UAE, made with wheat berries and meat. The crushed wheat berries and the meat are cooked together to a porridge consistency with proper seasoning and it is served with generous a topping of ghee/clarified butter. It’s an excellent dish after a long day of fasting as it is easy on the stomach and is filled with all the essential nutrients.
Katayef: This is a delicious Arabic dessert made and served during special occasions in Arabic households. It is typically a stuffed and deep fried pancake with cream and nuts. The pancakes are stuffed and sealed as soon as they are made, as it could get a little difficult to fill and fold if it is left for long to cool down. For a healthier version, some avoid the deep frying and do the stuffing with one end open so that the stuffing is visible.