This year British Muslims face the most challenging Ramadan in over 30 years as the summer solstice means extra sunshine - which means daily fasts during the holy month will be longer than ever.
Beginning on 26 May and ending on 24 June, millions off Muslims will abstain from food and drink during daylight hours, as well as aim to increase their closeness to God through prayer, charity and care for the less fortunate.
In a bid to help make things easier, mybigfathalalblog.com’s Ayesha has shared her favourite suhoor, iftar, and dessert recipes – as well as her top tips on how to get through the month.
Suhoor is the meal consumed during the early hours of the day before fasting begins. Here are some quick and simple recipes below:
OATS – Serves 1
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Toppings of your choice
- Combine oats, water and milk in a pot over medium – low heat.
- Bring to simmer and stir frequently until oats soften and liquid thickens.
- Add the maple syrup and stir.
- Serve in bowl and top with anything you like (fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts are great options)
SHAKSHUKA – serves 4
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic chopped/ 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 green or red pepper, chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 eggs
- Fresh chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
- Start by heating a large skillet on medium and slowly add olive oil.
- Add the chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté till mixture is fragrant.
- Add the chopped pepper and sauté for around 5 minutes until softened.
- Next, stir in the chopped tomatoes and spices for around 7 minutes until the mixture begins to reduce.
- Crack each egg directly on to the tomato mixture and space them evenly.
- Cover the pan until the eggs are cooked. This will take around 10 minutes.
- Finally, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with bread.
You can play around with this recipe by adding more vegetables in the sauce or more spices.
DATE AND BANANA SMOOTHIE – serves 1
- 1 banana
- 5 medjool dates pitted
- 1 glass of milk (you could mix it with water to make it less creamy)
- 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Simply add all ingredients to a blender, and blend away until smooth and creamy.
Iftar is the meal eaten when Muslims break their fast. Here are some simple recipes below:
HALEEM – serves up to 8
Haleem is a stew popular in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Indian subcontinent. The cooking process is quite lengthy, so I’ve provided a quicker and simpler version!
- 2 onions, diced
- Half-cup oil
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 packet Knorr vegetable soup powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Handful of coriander
- 1 green chilli (to serve)
- 1 lemon (to serve)
- Bread (to serve)
For the meat:
- 1 lb of lamb leg cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- Pinch of turmeric powder
- 1 heap tsp of Shan haleem masala
- Half cup chopped tomatoes, liquidized
- Begin by heating a pot over medium heat.
- Add the oil and fry one onion until brown.
- Add meat and cook until tender with 2 cups water on low heat for approx. 30-40 minutes.
- In a separate dish, add 1 cup rolled oats and mix with water to make a paste. In another dish add 1/2 packet of Knorr vegetable soup powder with water to make a paste.
- Add both pastes to the meat once it has cooked and leave on the stove for 5 minutes.
- Next, add 4 - 5 cups water as well as 1/2 tsp garam masala and leave to simmer until a nice soup consistency has formed. At this point, check taste and add salt, as you like.
- Fry a small onion in oil/ ghee until brown and add to the soup mixture with fresh coriander leaves to simmer on low until done.
- Serve with fresh coriander, sliced green chili, fried onion, a lemon wedge and fresh bread lathered with butter.
POTATO CUTLETS – makes 10
- 5 potatoes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- Cook unpeeled potatos in a large saucepan in water over a high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft.
- Once cooked, drain the water and peel the potatoes.
- Add salt, garam masala, chilli powder, coriander powder, black pepper and fresh coriander to the potatoes and mash until smooth in consistency.
- Shape potatoes into cutlets
- Coat each cutlet in breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown.
- Use an air fryer to use less oil.
Not the healthiest option for Ramadan, but everyone deserves a treat in moderation. Check out these yummy dessert recipes below:
FROZEN ROSE LASSI – serves 1
For rose lassi
- 8tbsp vanilla or plain yoghurt
- 6 tbsp rose syrup
- 4 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
For plain lassi
- 4 tbsp vanilla or plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- Mix rose lassi ingredients in one bowl, and plain lassi ingredients in another.
- Add rose lassi to your mould so that it is ⅔rd full.
- Freeze for about 40 mins (it doesn't have to be completely frozen, just a little hard so that the plain lassi doesn't mix with the rose).
- Top up the mould with plain lassi and freeze for at least 2 hrs.
- You could add vanilla essence to sweeten plain yoghurt.
Ingredients – makes one large pudding
- 1 litre full fat milk
- 1 cup vermicelli
- 1 level teaspoon agar powder
- Pinch of cardamom powder (more if you like a stronger flavour)
- 1 tin condense milk
- 1 tin of Nestle carnation topping thick cream
- Boil the milk, vermicelli, agar powder and cardamon until a thick consistency is achieved.
- Remove from heat and add the condensed milk and thick cream.
- Mix well and put into desired serving dish.
- Sprinkle with crushed pistachios and allow cooling for 40 mins.
- Once cooled, place it in the fridge until serving time.
- Leave for 40mins to cool before putting in the fridge.
Ayesha’s five tips for getting through Ramadan:
- Keep yourself hydrated – no I do not mean chugging down a whole litre of water 2 minutes before suhoor ends (guilty), but aim to have water slowly, throughout the whole night. Try to keep bottles of water in different places such as on your bedside, next to your prayer mat, on your desk etc. to help you drink more.
- Avoid fried foods and excess salt and sugar – I know having fried foods is almost essential in every household but it’s extremely important to nourish your body with wholesome foods, especially during the summer when the fasts are so long (check out some example recipes below).
- Resist caffeine during Ramadan – cut out your coffee addiction as caffeine acts as a diuretic, which can dehydrate your body.
- Rest – you’re not the only one who gets tired during Ramadan. Take a nap during the day so that you have more energy to stay awake and make the most of evening prayers.
- Enjoy it – we often think of fasting as a chore, but have a positive mind-set and it’ll make all the difference. It’s a time to detox physically, mentally and spiritually so make the most of it.