The Middle East Iftar bonanza | The Daily Star
03:09 PM, June 12, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:41 PM, June 12, 2016

The Middle East Iftar bonanza

Keeping the month of Ramadan in mind, Star Lifestyle will present for its readers with various mouth-watering easy-to-make recipes that would be an ideal addition to your iftar or sehri dishes. From the secrets of the Mughal kitchen to the charm of Middle Eastern cuisine; from the culinary tricks of your grandma’s magical hands, to the fusion cuisine that is all the rage these days, The Food Spread, hopes to be the golden key to Ramadan gastronomy.

Six days into Ramadan and the iftar bazaars are catching heat! Spoons flying, knives slicing and the heat rising. It is time to take our culinary skills a notch up. Try your hands at some Middle Eastern dishes for a change from the fried and crunchy delicacies.

Lebanese Middle Eastern Rice Bukhari with Meat

Ingredients (1:6)

750 gram lamb, cut into pieces with bones

500 gram basmati rice, washed and drained

2 tbs garlic and ginger paste

3 medium onions, chopped

8 cups or 2 litres stock or water

2 cubes Maggi Mutton

3 green chillis

¾ tsp ground black pepper

4 tbs ghee (clarified butter)

3 tbs sunflower or olive oil

½ tsp turmeric powder:

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cardamom

A few cinnamon sticks and bay leaves

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips and boiled

1 cup or 150 grams mixed fried nuts: chopped

Salt to taste



Heat ghee and oil in a large pot, add and brown the lamb meat pieces until golden brown. Add onions and stir from time to time until golden brown.

Add water, ginger, garlic paste, turmeric powder, maggi cube, salt, spices, and tomato. Cover and cook over low heat for 1½ hours or until the meat is cooked.

When the meat is cooked, add rice, green chilli and salt to the meat stock, which should be about 4 cups or 1000 ml in quantity. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Place the rice on a large serving dish, place the meat pieces over the rice, and add the cooked carrots over the meat and garnish with the fried nuts or with raisins and shredded carrots.

Chicken with dates shish tawook


300 grams chicken, skinless, boneless breast halves, cut into standardised cubes

2 tbs ginger and garlic paste

1 tbs cashew nut paste

½ cup yogurt

Salt to taste

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp dry oregano

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp garam masala mix

¼ cup vegetable or butter oil

200 gm dates, without seeds

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp sugar (optional)

1 tbs cumin powder

½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 tbs tomato paste

8 or 10 bamboo stick skewers, soaked for 1 hour


Mix together the lemon juice, vegetable oil, plain yogurt, garlic and ginger pest tomato paste, salt, turmeric powder, oregano, cashew nut paste, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken mixture into a large plastic bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Put the 4 pieces chicken and 4 pieces of date, alternated, on each skewer. Place skewers on the grill or non-stick fry pan and cook until done, turning often so that the spices don't burn. The chicken will be golden at the centre, and will not be pink anywhere. It should take about five minutes for each side. Sprinkle the parsley over the skewers. Arrange on a serving platter and serve with mint sauce.


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