Ramadan Favourite Dishes

 

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It’s the holy month of Ramadan.  I am so lucky to be in Egypt during this peaceful time of generosity and giving. Streets are full of people 24/7. Mosques are decorated with colourful lights, smell of delicious food coming from local restaurants every where.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. The month lasts 29 to 30 days based on the sightings of the crescent moon. Although fasting is not easy during summer specially that it is not possible to drink even water till sunset, the spirit of patience and sharing makes it easily possible. I’ll share with you some of the famous Egyptian dishes usually served in Ramadan.

Usually the meal starts with famous Egyptian chicken or meat & orzo soup, served with parsley and few drops of lemon. Perfect start after 14 hours of fasting.

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Then “Yamish” is served , dried fruit compote mixed with nuts. Great energy booster.

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Mahshy“: different kinds of vegetables : Eggplant, green pepper , zucchini, and tomatoes; stuffed with rice & herbs mixture .

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Goulash

Filo pastry stuffed with cooked ground beef ,usually prepared  with diced tomatoes and green peppers and seasoned with fresh parsley .

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Fattah

A layer of baked pita bread ,soaked in beef stock,topped with white rice then pieces of beef, lamb or veal.  Fattah is served with special sour tomato & garlic sauce.

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“Bamya” , Okra

Okra is a non expensive yummy vegetable grown in summer. Egyptians have Okra stew at least once a week when in season, stew is usually made with lamb, seasoned with few drops of lime and served with whole wheat pita bread .

 

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Katayef

ِA famous dessert in Ramadan, looks like mini crepe, stuffed with nuts and deep fried then soaked in honey syrup

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Roz blaban “Rice pudding”

A well known Egyptian dessert.  My father is expert in making Roz blaban,I am so proud he taught me the secret of mastering the recipe.

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Baked Chicken with Potatoes

Onion is marinated with salt and pepper then rubbed all over chicken. Chicken is then seasoned a second time with mixture of salt,pepper, ground coriander and paprika. Potatoes and green peppers are seasoned by same spices and  baked with chicken. When almost done, chicken is rubbed with a tablespoon of tomato paste .

 

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Sohour is the second and last meal served before dawn, Foul “fava bean” is the main dish in sohour beside dates shake, milk or yoghurt and cucumber salad.

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Ramadan is great way for detox. By the end of the month I feel great. Unfortunately ,I get back to the way before ramadan in few days !!

Fried brain

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Have you tried brain? Brain is very popular in Egypt, sold fried as fast food in local restaurants. Brain needs to be well soaked in water and lemon or vinegar before cleaned then immersed in boiled water for few minutes as it is very fragile and cooks quickly. Usually sold in Middle Eastern butchers, or in Meat section of Middle Eastern grocery stores.

To Make Fried brain you’ll need

To soak the brain: Water , vinegar (2 table spoons) ,juice of one large lemon

2 whole lamb brains
Bread crumbs – about 2 cups
(2 – 3) large eggs
Cumin (about 2 teaspoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying ( I use sun flower oil)

 

Directions

- Soak the brains in water so that the water cover the brain

- Add vinegar , juice of one lemon, leave   lemon halves in water

- Keep in fridge for couple of hours

- Drain the brain, gently pull the covering membrane . Make sure not to press hard.

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- In a large pot boil enough water to cover the brain. Once boiled, add to pot. Add one teaspoon cumin

- Boil for 5 minutes , remove with large slotted spoon. Place in a colander to drain.

- Let rest till cool enough to handle

- Using a large chef knife,cut up brain into large cubes

- In a shallow dish, whisk egg with 2 tbsp (lemon juice) water. Add half teaspoon cumin, season with salt and pepper to taste.

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- In a separate shallow dish, combine bread crumbs with half a teaspoon cumin, add salt and pepper to taste.

- Dip brain cubes into egg mixture to coat all over. Dip into bread crumbs to coat evenly.

- In large non-stick skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium heat; fry brain until crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove to platter lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil and keep warm.

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Serve with lemon wedges. Dip in salsa if desired.

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Enjoy

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Kiwi-Blackberry Smoothie

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A tasty treat and absolutely refreshing. Use your favourite berries like raspberries,blueberries  or strawberries. You can substitute the soy milk with orange juice if desired.

To make Kiwi-Blackberry  Smoothie you’ll need:

2 kiwi fruits

1 large ripe banana
8 blackberries
500 ml Chocolate soy milk

Directions

- Place all ingredients into a blender, purée until smooth.

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- Serve cold. Keep leftovers in fridge.

- Enjoy

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Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I am a subscriber and a big fan of Taste Of Home magazine. I try many of the magazine’s recipes using clean/healthy ingredients as possible.

This week I made Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies with a twist. I made them with local spelt flour and raw sugar. I added chunks of chocolate on top. Oatmeal makes the cookies chewy and less breakable than regular chocolate chip cookies. Substitute one cup of raisins or nuts for one cup chocolate chips if you desire.

To make Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ll need:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup organic raw sugar
2 large free run eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate chunks for topping (optional)

Directions

- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
- Drop cookies using a large ice cream scoop with a release bar into two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten cookies slightly with the palm of your hands.

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- Bake at 350° preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.Top with Chocolate chunks while still hot if desired.

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- Yield 1 dozen.

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Orange & Honey Cornmeal Cake

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Orange blossom water* and honey give this cake a beautiful middle eastern flavour. Great with minted Tea!

To make minted tea (the Egyptian way) : Simply boil water,place one red tea bag (like Orange pekoe) in a cup with few leaves of fresh mint. Add water and let brew for few seconds. Remove tea bag and mint (optional) and sweeten with sugar if desired .

*You can purchase orange blossom water from most middle eastern markets

Recipe adopted from Everyday Food Magazine, you can find original recipe on  Martha Stewart Living

To make Orange & Honey Cornmeal Cake you’ll need:

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
2 large free run eggs
1 cup organic raw sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/4 spelt flour, spooned and levelled
1/2 cup organic yellow cornmeal ( I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Cornmeal)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp orange blossom water.

Directions

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush bottom and sides of an 10-inch round cake pan with.

- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, sugar, orange juice and orange blossom water until smooth.

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- Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and orange zest; whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan.

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- Bake until a tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cool in pan 20 minutes. Place cake onto a rack.
- Heat honey in microwave for about 20 seconds. Brush honey all over the cake. Top with coconut.

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- Cool completely before serving.

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- Enjoy

Eggplant Fattouche (Syrian Eggplant Salad)

Try this colourful salad made with citrus dressing and crispy bread. Original recipe calls for frying the pita,however  I baked it for a lighter version.

Serve chilled or at a moderate temperature

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Ingredients

3 large eggplants,peeled and cubed
1 large red onion diced
2 to 3 cups chopped parsley
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 small pita breads
Oil for frying

Dressing

Juice of 1 large lemon, white vinegar (about 1 tablespoon), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons sumac, pinch of black pepper, salt to taste

Directions

- Sprinkle eggplant with salt, let sit in colander till all liquid is released. Rinse with cold water and dry. Use kitchen towel to make sure eggplant is completely dry.

- In a large skillet, pour enough oil to cover the eggplant. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly. Fry eggplant in hot oil till golden brown, place on cookie sheet layered with kitchen paper to drain excess oil.

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- Prepare vegetables and place in a large bowl with eggplant, set aside.

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- Tear pita by hand into small pieces, distribute on one layer on a cookie sheet. Bake in 350 preheated oven till crispy.

- Stir vegetables to combine, mix dressing ingredients and add to vegetables.

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- Add baked pita to salad, mix well. Add more dressing if needed.

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- Serve … Enjoy!

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Buckwheat & Blueberry Mini Muffins

 

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So I’m surfing Facebook and I saw  Jamie Oliver’s Gluten-free blueberry mini muffins recipe, this brought about the idea of making buckwheat mini muffins! Absolutely heavenly.
This recipe is a cleaner spin on classic blueberry muffins with good for you ingredients like buckwheat flour,raw sugar and organic blueberries. These muffins make an easy, portable breakfast or snack.

To make Buckwheat & Blueberry Mini Muffins you’ll need:

4 free run eggs
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup organic raw sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh organic blueberries

Directions

- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

- In large bowl combine eggs, butter, raw sugar, and vanilla.

- In a separate bowl mix buckwheat flour, salt, and baking soda.

- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, then stir in blueberries.

- Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini-muffin cup.

 

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- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until risen and golden.

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- Makes 24

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