CAIRO: No one can tell you how much tastes vary as someone preparing a meal for a Ramadan iftar. With a usually extended list of guests, the person preparing the meal has to keep in mind the different tastes that span everything between favoring the traditional local dishes to opting to try a new recipe everyday, no matter how unconventional it is.
To add the necessary variety to your iftar, consider the compilation of these following recipes.
Before putting these recipes into work, remember that the filo sheets can turn dry and brittle if left uncovered so you should always keep them covered with a clean cloth if you’re not working with them.
Chicken Pasta Soup
It s a light, easy and very tasty soup, ideal for Ramadan. The pasta used in this soup because of its shape and size, is called “lessan asfour in Arabic which means “bird’s’ tongue. Its Italian equivalent is known as semini or orzo.
Ingredients: 4 cups of chicken stock (you may also use homemade chicken stock); ¼ cup of bird tongue pasta (or vermicelli); 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil; 1 well beaten egg; salt and pepper.
1. Heat the oil in a soup pan. Add the pasta and stir continuously till it turns dark brown. This will happen very quickly so be careful that it does not burn.2. Very gradually, and carefully, add the stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes. Season it to taste.3. Add the beaten egg to the soup in a slow stream while continuously whisking the soup.4. Serve hot with lemons or lime.
This is a different and interesting way of serving everyday pasta.
Ingredients: 14-16 sheets of Filo pastry; 3 tablespoons of melted butter; Spaghetti with tomato or white sauce.
1. Gently melt the butter in small saucepan, and with some of it, thoroughly brush the bottom and sides of the oven pan. Heat the oven to a high temperature.2. Cover the bottom and the sides of the oven tin with 8 to 10 single overlapping filo sheets, brushing each with melted butter as you go on.3. Put the spaghetti with the sauce you’ve chosen in the middle of the filo layers, sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Close the filo parcel by folding over the bottom sheets firmly over the spaghetti. Add another 4 to 6 layers, brushing each with melted butter, tucking them down the edges of the pan. Finish by brushing the top with melted butter.4. Place in the hot oven for around half an hour, until the top browns.5. Leave to cool slightly, then turn over on a platter. Serve with whipped yoghurt.
Lemon Garlic Chicken
This recipe is so good you’d think it’s actually complicated, when it’s actually quite simple. Ingredients: 2 (smallish) chickens; ½ cup of fresh lime juice: ¼ to ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil); 10 – 12 garlic cloves; 1 tablespoon of vinegar; 1 tablespoon (or 1 teaspoonful) of fresh dried oregano; 1 tablespoon of flour; salt and pepper.
Recipe: 1. Start by heating the oven to the maximum heat.2. Cut the chickens into halves and remove the backbone. Coat with some of the oil and place them skin-side down in an un-greased oven tin, and put in the hot oven. 3. Broil the chicken for 25 minutes; the pieces should turn very crispy and brown. Turn the chicken over, coat with some oil if very dry, and leave to cook and brown for another 25 minutes.4. While the chicken is in the oven, combine the rest of the ingredients; the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano and seasoning.5. Remove the chicken from the tin, and when cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into about 5 or 6 pieces per half; you want small pieces. Drizzle the tin with some oil and put back the chicken pieces.6. Lower the oven heat slightly, but still keeping it fairly hot. Pour the lemon mix over the chicken and place back in the oven. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn over the pieces and leave for another 10 minutes, or until cooked. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.7. Add about 1 tablespoon of flour to the remaining lemon mixture in the cooking tin, place on a medium light and stir for 1-2 minutes, then very gradually add around one cup of hot water or stock. Leave to simmer and thicken until you have nice gravy.
BaklavaBaklava, or baklawa in Arabic, is a very popular Egyptian dessert, particularly in Ramadan.Ingredients: 1 roll of filo pastry or around 18 sheets of filo; 4 tablespoons of melted butter; ¾ – 1 cup of salt-less mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, etc); 2 tablespoons of raisins or currants; 1 tablespoon of sugar; 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon.For the syrup: 1 cup of sugar; 1¼ cup of water; a few drops of lemon or lime juice.
1. You should always start by making the syrup, because it really needs to be cool before pouring it over the cooked Baklawa. Put the sugar and water into a small but heavy saucepan. Place on a medium light. Leave to heat up then boil without stirring. After around 10 minutes, add a few drops of lemon juice and leave the syrup to continue boiling until it starts to turn slightly to a caramel color. This will take around 20 minutes. Once it’s done take off the heat and put aside to cool down.2. Heat the oven to very hot. Put the mixed nuts in an oven tray and place in the hot oven to roast, it will take around 7 minutes. Once cool, chop them up coarsely; the pieces need not be too small. In a small bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cinnamon. 3. Melt the butter gently in a small egg pan. With some of the melted butter, brush the bottom and sides of a rectangular or round oven tray.4. Start by lining the bottom of the tray with the filo pastry sheets, cutting and arranging them according to the size and shape of your tray. 5. Brush each sheet you place with the melted butter. When you have a base of around 7 or 8 layers, sprinkle on the roasted nuts and sugar mixture. 6. Cover with more of the filo sheets in the same way, also 7 to 8, and then finish it off by with a last brush of melted butter for the top.7. With a sharp knife, cut the surface of the Baklawa into small geometrical shapes; triangular, square, diamond, etc. 8. Put in the hot oven for around 30 minutes; the top should come out nicely browned and crispy. 9. The minute you get it out of the oven (and while still in its oven tray); pour all of the (cool) syrup slowly and evenly over the surface. This has to be done immediately; otherwise the Baklawa will lose its crispness and will become soggy.10. Leave to cool, and then turn onto a serving dish. Serve either hot or cold, with fresh cream.If you have any questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org