The first time I ever had Keema (that wonderful Indian-spiced ground beef dish) was during one of my very first Suhoor (pre-dawn) meals with family friends. I was invited to spend the weekend with them in Chicago during Ramadan. I had no idea whatsoever that people actually ate savory foods for a meal so early in the morning.
Nadia Hubbi of Sweet Pillar & Co. gives us her take on how two of the healthiest and most traditional nuts of the Middle East stack up in food history, health benefits and culinary use. It’s an interesting look at both walnuts and pistachios, some of the most widely-used nuts in traditional Middle Eastern cooking that are making big waves in American cuisine, too. Be sure to check out her site and consider something as delicious as the chocolate-covered dates for your next hostess gift.
Gorgeous Green Pistachios
It’s summer. It’s Ramadan. Do you blame me for craving a burger? Hopefully not, because maybe you are, too. Chances are there’s plenty of people grilling the summer away as much as possible, since that’s usually the most popular item to throw on. In my case, grilling isn’t so easy so I opt for either oven baking or pan sautéing my burgers. Either way you have them, I think you’re going to love this recipe for a super-quick burger topped with what I think is one of our nation’s best cheese..and it’s halal-certified.
Cheese from Vermont-based Cabot Creamery has long been on my list of favorite cheeses and in my shopping cart for many years, especially since I noticed that several of their products were halal-certified by IFANCA.
If you live anywhere in California or nearby, you’ve probably heard of date milkshakes and the pretty well-known stands at farms and orchards who sell them. I have lived in California, driven through it many times from all different angles and have never tried one, but I’ve heard plenty about them.
A date shake perfect for iftar, and a great way to incorporate dates into your diet
My recipe for Slow Cooker Haleem is a favorite in our house during Ramadan as an Iftar meal and many Muslim households have a similar version they hold dear. What helps me make the best haleem and many other dishes like perfectly braised meats, stews, and even soups that require slow cooking is the Calphalon Electrics 7-Quart Slow Cooker, one kitchen appliance I use over and over again.
It is a great machine for simple, but delicious cooking without the worry of when to turn it off because it has a digital timer on it- perfect for busy folks who don’t have time to add one more list of things to remember throughout the day, especially a fasting day.
I’ve been told for years that haleem, the puréed meat and grains dish with South Asian flavors, is a favorite Iftar dish for so many Muslims observing the Ramadan fast. Though not a common way of eating meat American-style, (cooked down for hours and combined with grains all puréed together) if you pre-judge it and dismiss it, you may never really experience the potentially satisfying eating experience it offers. It’s also quite nourishing.
My version of mildy-spiced haleem
I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to the world of Ramadan foods from Lebanon by way of the following recipe for Kibbeh Patties from my friends at Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen. If you’ve never visited their blog, please be sure to visit their site to take in all the wonderful, healthy Mediterranean dishes they offer in addition to this one below.
Written by Edgard Sammour of Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen. Photo credits to Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen
For some reason, during Ramadan I tend to see, make, eat and enjoy appetizers the most. It’s nice to have something light but substantial at the initial breaking of the fast, but it’s more than that for me. Maybe it’s because when the fast-breaking time comes every evening, it’s one of the sweetest moments I experience (whether the appetizer is sweet or savory). I love biting into something I can hear crunch, maybe because it then actually feels like the sound of food. I’m not sure what it is, but I enjoy it.
Dates, Tamarind & Walnut phyllo appetizers
While Ramadan could begin tonight, I am beginning to think about one of my favorite times of the month- the breaking of the first fast. What will we have to savor the moment when the sun sets and it’s time to enjoy something sweet, a date perhaps, and then something quick yet savory before it’s time for the maghreb (sunset) prayer?
Cilantro & Mint Dipping Sauce with Saffron Road’s new savory phyllo hors d’oeuvres
I love crunchy appetizers, but I’m not fond of deep fried foods, particularly after a long day of fasting. I love baked things and I particularly love anything wrapped in flaky phyllo dough, so Saffron Road’s new savory appetizers– Crispy Samosas with Saag Paneerand Crispy Samosas with Vegetables will be on our Iftar table with my homemade Cilantro & Mint Dipping Sauce. Its creamy yogurt-base is stretchable- if you want more, just add more yogurt; if you want it thicker, use less yogurt to begin with.
We’ve been talking so much lately about how important it is to be prepared for Ramadan- spiritually, mentally and practically. With long summer days to face ahead of us, we’ll either be prepared or up against a wall of how to get healthy food on the table for Iftar and the early morning pre-dawn meal … Read more