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Mada’s Iftar recipes
Mada’s Iftar recipes from local chefs use seasonal vegetables and are good for the health after a day of fasting
 
 
 

Okra salad

Hala Barakat

Okra is an ideal Ramadan staple. It is rich in dietary fiber —  20 percent or more of the daily recommended amount — and fiber is much needed during fasting.

This okra salad is best served with brown rice, which is slow burning and therefore ideal for fasting in order to stay fuller for longer.

Hala Barakat is a trained botanist. Her interest in cooking combines her passion for vegetarian food with her knowledge of food heritage in Egypt, but also in relation to other countries and regions. Hala established Rohana Green, a small-scale vegetarian catering and baking project, to serve her yoga students and friends.

The geographical origin of okra, ladies’ fingers or gumbo (Abelmoschus esculentus) is disputed, but possibly African, due to the greater diversity of varieties in Ethiopia. The Egyptians and Moors used the term “Bamya” during the 12th and 13th centuries, as documented in Arabic cookbooks, which also suggest that the vegetable was introduced to Egypt by the Arabs. It was probably taken from Ethiopia to Arabia earlier, from where it spread east to India. Okra is among the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable species in the world and will grow in heavy soils but not frost.

Directions

  1. Wash and dry okra. Prepare by removing tops and side ribs with a sharp knife.
  2. Heat oil in pot. Add the okra and stir continuously until bright green in color and fragrant. Add finely chopped chili (if used) and stir further.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water, bring to boil, lower heat and cover. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add finely chopped onion, finely chopped green coriander and salt to taste. Cover and leave to simmer until all liquid evaporates.
  5. Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon into the okra.
  6. Serve warm or cold as desired accompanied by brown rice and chick peas and yogurt sauce.

Prawn and green bean cream pasta

Sally Sami

This is a high protein and high fiber meal with a variety of nutrients to compensate for a whole day fasting. The prawns are a low fat source of protein and a good source of zinc, which induces leptin to do its work regulating fat storage and appetite, helping to eliminate unnecessary food cravings. For healthier options, replace the cream with coconut, or avoid cream all together. For a low carb diet, avoid the pasta or substitute with zoodles (zucchini strips).

Sally Sami is a home cook with a passion for exploring how to cook locally used ingredients in unconventional ways for Egyptians. Her recipes have a healthy twist, particularly in her use of oils and grains. Sally runs Mingle Catering.

The green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) originated in Central and South America, where it was domesticated thousands of years ago, and earliest records of its cultivation come from Mexico and Peru. The unripe, young fruit and protective pods we eat nowadays belong to a cultivar, which was introduced to the Mediterranean upon the return of Columbus from his second voyage to what would become the American continents in 1493.

Directions

  1. Heat a saucepan and add the coconut oil, then the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the green beans, chopped in half. Sauté for 4-5 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add minced garlic, the chili, cumin to taste.
  4. Stir in the prawns and cook until the color changes on both sides.
  5. Stir in the cream.
  6. Add the boiled pasta and mix all together.
  7. Add parmesan cheese as you wish. If you like, you can squeeze a lime to bring all the flavors together

Mixed bean and dried fruit bowl

Zeina Aly

This meal is perfect for Iftar — it is packed with proteins that are not heavy on the stomach, and full of fiber. Turmeric and cumin are known to be great digestive aids, while the dried fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Zeina Aly is interested in food culture and acquiring techniques tied both to heritage and innovation. Her kitchen is too small to motivate her to cook for herself properly, so she is often in search of hungry people to feed. Zeina has a special love for Asian food.

The green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) originated in Central and South America, where it was domesticated thousands of years ago and earliest cultivated records come from Mexico and Peru. The unripe, young fruit and protective pods we eat nowadays belong to a cultivar, which was introduced to the Mediterranean upon the return of Columbus from his second voyage to the New World in 1493.

Directions

  1. In a deep, medium pan, preheat the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add diced garlic and halved cherry tomatoes and leave on heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chopped green beans, sliced eggplant, turmeric, onion slices, mixed spices, coriander and cinnamon. Stir on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until eggplant softens.
  4. Add water, salt, salsa and stock, stir for 3 minutes. Lower heat and add dried fruit, hummus and kidney beans. Cover for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, stir gently and leave for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir gently and leave for another 5 minutes.

This dish is best served with couscous and turmeric yogurt.

Allow half a cup of uncooked couscous per person and cook according to pack instructions.

For a yogurt side, you will need 2 100g tubs of yogurt. Stir it for a smooth consistency and then add and stir in ¼ lime, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and salt to taste.

Apricot rice pudding

Hala Barakat

This double recipe is full of fruity goodness, is gluten free and low fat. Perfect as a dessert or for sohour.

Hala Barakat is a trained botanist. Her interest in cooking combines her passion for vegetarian food with her knowledge of food heritage in Egypt, but also in relation to other countries and regions. Hala established Rohana Green, a small-scale vegetarian catering and baking project, to serve her yoga students and friends.

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) was first described as being from Armenia, as the Latin name indicates, but it is nevertheless of disputed origin. The wild species related to the apricot that we know today still grows in the region of Armenia-Turkey, but botanists think that the wild progenitor of apricot is in China where it was domesticated some 5,000 years ago, and from which it spread to West Asia and the Mediterranean region. Early introduction into Egypt is attested through the finds of dried peach and apricot fruits in Lahun (Fayoum), a late middle kingdom site. Its later introduction to Greece is attributed to Alexander the Great.

Directions

  1. Wash the rice until water runs clear.
  2. Place milk, rice and sugar in a heavy bottom pot. Add salt. Bring to boil while occasionally stirring. Lower heat and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently as the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and leave to cool (there should be a thin layer of milk covering the mixture).
  3. As it cools, cut the amar al-din into small pieces and put in a pan with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and leave to cook for 20-30 minutes till dissolved completely.
  4. Pour into mixer and liquefy.
  5. Place back into pot and heat. Dissolve corn starch in half a cup of water. Add to amar al-din and stir frequently. Bring to boil and continue stirring, as the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  6. Pour the amar al-din into a glass bowl and leave to cool completely before adding the rice pudding, and then the finely chopped apricots and coarsely chopped almonds on top.
  7. Place in fridge until served.
AD