Ramadan – What It Means For Me [ +10 Easy Iftar Recipes]

Ramadan – What It Means For Me [ +10 Easy Iftar Recipes]

Ramadan – What It Means For Me [ +10 Easy Iftar Recipes] 851 553 Rouba Shahin Middle Eastern Cooking

The beginning of the most anticipated time of the year—the holy month of Ramadanis finally here. For Muslims all around the world, this is the time for peace, love, family, and most of all, sharing.  

I have always loved the month of Ramadan, especially the good deeds, the empathy, and the joy it brings to a community. What I appreciate most though is how iftar (breaking the fast) brings people together. 

Sharing good food with family and friends is what I particularly look forward to during Ramadan. On weekends, after a long day of fasting, my entire family gathers together for Iftar dinner and enjoys delicious home-cooked food.

By fasting, I mean no food or drink from dawn until dusk. Not even water! If you’ve never experienced this, it can seem quite impossible to do. However, most of the battle is done in the mind. We break our fast with dates and water once the sun goes down.

Trust me, at this point, drinking water, and eating dates is the sweetest feeling in the world. 

Some of the most beautiful memories I have of Ramadan are from my childhood in Lebanon. I remember an entire month of celebration as most people were sharing the same experience. At night, people came out onto the streets, shared food with their neighbours, and indulged in desserts. 

I also clearly remember someone who would walk around in the early hours of the morning with a drum, waking people up before sunrise. He would walk around the village and call out to those who are fasting to get up and have their suhoor (breakfast).

Now living in Australia with my family, I love throwing iftar dinners. I look forward to the doorbell ringing just minutes before iftar time and my nieces and nephews running in with excitement carrying treats, anxious to know what’s cooking but hungry enough not to care. I spend almost all day cooking, but I love it! 

What to eat for Iftar

In this journal, I want to share with you 10 traditional dishes I usually prepare for an iftar dinner. All these recipes are easy and quick to make and will feed the whole family.

Lentil and Spinach Soup

spinach and lentil soup garnished and served

Soup is usually the first thing we eat after having a date and water. There’s a good reason behind this: a small bowl of soup will prepare your digestive system for the rest of the meal, hydrate your body after a long day of fasting and help you avoid overeating by filling you up.

Lentil soup is the traditional Ramadan soup for us, it’s highly nutritious and it warms your stomach instantly.

Arabian Nut Rice

arabian nut rice garnished with pomegranates

A definite crowd-pleaser, this savoury rice dish can’t miss from your Iftar dinner table. Rice is always a great option for Ramadan as both children and adults enjoy it. You can easily shred cooked chicken on top or pair it with roast lamb and a herb salad. But it’s yummy just on its own too. 

Kibbeh Nayeeh

kibbeh Nayeh served with onion and raddish

Lamb tartare is such an easy festive dish to make, serve, and eat. Don’t forget to place a basket with flatbread on the table so that your guests will be able to dig in at once.

Chickpea Fateh 

chickpea fateh served in a bowl

Chickpea Fateh is a staple Ramadan dish in our home. We have it almost every day, but I can’t complain as I simply love the tasty combination of chickpeas, fried bread, and yogurt tahini sauce.

Spicy Lamb Pastries

spicy lamb pastries

Here I give the traditional Laham-B-Ajeen recipe a modern look with the help of ready puff pastry. These spicy pastries are the best finger food to have at any family gathering. Keep your Ramadan cooking stress-free by making these in batches and placing them into the freezer for later.

Spicy Garlic Roast Potatoes – Batata Hara

roast potatoes served in a bowl

Who doesn’t want a helping of crispy garlic roast potatoes? In our home, there’s no iftar if we don’t have roast potatoes on the table.

Super Herb Salad

super herb salad served in a bowl

You can enjoy this healthy and practical salad on its own or as a side dish. It’s super light and refreshing, just what you need after a whole day of fasting. This Super Herb salad together with the Fattoush salad is what we mainly make during Ramadan.

Coconut Delight Sandwiches

coconut delight sandwiches served on a tray

Creamy, sweet, and beautiful to look at, these homemade desserts come in three equally- delicious flavours – coconut, date, and pistachios. If I were to name one thing that’s always on the iftar menu, that would be the dessert.

From the creamy shay’biyat pastries to the classic pistachio baklawa, there’s a wide variety of Middle Eastern desserts people love to overindulge themselves in during Ramadan.

Stuffed Dates

dates stuffed with nuts and served in a glass box

While it’s traditional for Muslims to break their daily fast with dates, stuffing them with crushed nuts or coconut flakes is the best way to complement their sweet taste with some extra crunchiness.

Jallab

The Middle Eastern version of cordial, Jallab is a special refreshing drink that Muslims may also have when breaking their fast. We often serve it with pine nuts and ice in a tall glass, and we try to get a mouthful of both in one gulp.

I can’t end this Ramadan journal without mentioning the bitter Arabic coffee. Going through a whole day of fasting without a cup of coffee is a real challenge.

That’s why those who crave coffee will often break their fast on a date and then have some coffee right away. Some families even make the coffee before the iftar time and keep it warm in thermos flasks until the sun goes down.

arabic coffee served on a wooden tray
All in all, Ramadan for me is about three main things: learning to be grateful for what I have and helping those in need, spending time together with my family, and enjoying the great food and conversations at our iftar dinners. 

Ramadan Mubarak!

 

With Love