Cook­ing good food fast is key for Ra­madan

Prepa­ra­tion — and a pres­sure cooker — go a long way

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BON­NIE S. BENWICK

When a cook such as Rima Kasm pre­pares for Ra­madan — the month-long pe­riod dur­ing which Mus­lims fast dur­ing day­light hours — she knows that plan­ning is even more es­sen­tial than usual.

“I will write down what I want to cook each day and get ev­ery­thing I need,” says the New­port Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, res­i­dent who came to Amer­ica from her na­tive Le­banon 25 years ago.

She will rise be­fore dawn to make and share the morn­ing meal known as suhoor, and cook the evening meal, if­tar, with­out tast­ing it, be­fore the sun sets.

“Fol­low­ing my good recipes makes it OK for me,” Kasm says. “I rely on them.”

At the top of the list: foods that hy­drate and don’t take long to make, such as soups, be­cause the fast also pro­hibits the in­take of any liq­uids. Spicy dishes such as cur­ries are avoided, since they bring on thirst. She makes a soup al­most ev­ery day, as well as the pita and veg­etable sal­ads known as fat­toush. Dates and dessert sweets are on her daily menu, which be­gan May 26 at sun­down.

Kasm says you’ll find a pres­sure cooker in many Ra­madan kitchens, an in­valu­able aid that al­lows her to make bean stews, lentils and fra­grant chicken with rice and warm­ing spices in as lit­tle as 20 min­utes.

For cooks who might not be quite as or­ga­nized as she is, or are look­ing to add va­ri­ety to their pres­sure-cooker reper­toire for the hol­i­day, here are four recipes that work — in­clud­ing dessert.

Chick­pea and Ar­ti­choke Tagine

This makes a lovely and invit­ing meat­less meal; start­ing with dried chick­peas re­ally im­proves the over­all tex­ture of the fi­nal dish. Serve with rice.

You’ll need a 6-quart pres­sure cooker or In­stant Pot.

MAKE AHEAD: The dried chick­peas need to be salt-soaked for eight to 24 hours.

Adapted from “Pres­sure Cooker Per­fec­tion: 100 Fool­proof Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook,” by the edi­tors of Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen (ATK, 2013).

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERV­INGS (ABOUT 10 CUPS)

2 ta­ble­spoons kosher salt, plus more as needed 8 ounces dried chick­peas, rinsed and picked over 2 tbsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, plus more as needed 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced Four 2-inch-long strips le­mon peel (lit­tle or no pith) 6 cloves gar­lic, minced 1 tbsp sweet pa­prika ½ tea­spoon ground za’atar (may sub­sti­tute ground cumin) ¼ tsp ground cin­na­mon 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pep­per 2 tbsp flour 1 pound car­rots (trimmed and scrubbed well), cut into ½-inch-thick coins One 15-ounce can of no-salt-added diced toma­toes, prefer­ably fire-roasted 3 cups no-salt-added veg­etable broth 9 ounces frozen ar­ti­choke hearts, de­frosted and pat­ted dry ½ cup pit­ted Kala­mata olives, each cut in half Leaves from about 25 ci­lantro stems, chopped (packed ½ cup) Freshly ground black pep­per

Dis­solve the salt in a large mix­ing bowl filled with 4 quarts (3.87 litres) of wa­ter. Add the dried chick­peas. Let sit for eight to 24 hours, then drain and rinse.

Heat 1 ta­ble­spoon of the oil in the pres­sure-cooker pot over medium heat. Once the oil shim­mers, stir in the onion; cook for five min­utes un­til just soft­ened, then stir in the strips of le­mon peel, gar­lic, pa­prika, za’atar, cin­na­mon and cayenne pep­per. Cook for 30 sec­onds, then stir in the flour, us­ing a wooden spat­ula to dis­lodge any browned bits. Add the car­rots, diced toma­toes and drained chick­peas, stir­ring to coat, then pour in the broth.

Lock the pres­sure-cooker lid in place. In­crease the heat to high; once the pot reaches HIGH pres­sure, re­duce the heat to medium-low and cook for 25 min­utes, ad­just­ing the heat to main­tain pres­sure, as needed.

Re­move the pot from the heat. Re­lease the pres­sure, then care­fully re­move the lid.

Heat the re­main­ing ta­ble­spoon of oil in a large skil­let over medium heat. Once the oil shim­mers, add the ar­ti­chokes and stir to coat. Cook for five to seven min­utes, un­til golden brown at the edges.

Dis­card the strips of le­mon peel from the veg­etable stew mix­ture in the pot, then stir in the ar­ti­chokes, olives and ci­lantro. Taste and sea­son lightly with more salt and black pep­per, as needed.

Di­vide among in­di­vid­ual wide, shal­low bowls; driz­zle each por­tion with oil. Serve warm. Per serv­ing (us­ing 1 ta­ble­spoon

salt): 290 calo­ries, 11 grams pro­tein, 44 g car­bo­hy­drates, 9 g fat, 1 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 850 mg sodium, 13 g di­etary fi­bre, 13 g sugar

Pres­sure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Chances are good you’ll have the sauce in­gre­di­ents on hand to make this easy, kid-friendly meal. Serve it with rice. Adapted from a recipe at Pres­sureCook­ingTo­day.com.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERV­INGS

2 pounds bone­less, skin­less chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size chunks Kosher salt Freshly ground black pep­per 1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil 2 cloves gar­lic, minced ½ medium onion, diced (1/2 cup) ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce ¼ cup ketchup ½ to 1 tea­spoon crushed red pep­per flakes 2 tsp sesame oil ½ cup honey 2 tbsp corn­starch 3 tbsp wa­ter Toasted/roasted sesame seeds 2 scal­lions, white and light-green parts, chopped, for gar­nish

Sea­son the chicken lightly with salt and pep­per.

Pre­heat the In­stant Pot us­ing the sauté set­ting, or heat the oil in a stove­top pres­sure cooker over medium heat. Once the oil shim­mers, add the gar­lic, onion and chicken; cook for three to five min­utes, stir­ring once or twice, un­til the onion has just soft­ened.

Add the soy sauce, ketchup and crushed red pep­per flakes (to taste) and stir to in­cor­po­rate. Lock the pres­sure-cooker lid in place. In­crease the heat to HIGH; once the pot reaches pres­sure, cook for three min­utes.

Once the timer beeps, turn off the heat. Care­fully do a quick-pres­sure re­lease.

Un­cover; add the sesame oil and honey to the pot, stir­ring to in­cor­po­rate.

Dis­solve the corn­starch in wa­ter in a small bowl, then add to the pot, stir­ring to form a slightly thick­ened sauce. Stir in most of the sesame seeds.

Di­vide among in­di­vid­ual plates; sprin­kle with the scal­lions and re­main­ing sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Per serv­ing (based on 6): 260 calo­ries, 37 g pro­tein, 10 g car­bo­hy­drates, 8 g fat, 2 g sat­u­rated fat, 110 mg choles­terol, 870 mg sodium, 0 g di­etary fi­bre, 3 g sugar

Car­rot Co­conut Cake

There’s not much of a rise in this cake, but its tex­ture does ap­prox­i­mate that of a baked car­rot cake with a moist, dense crumb. And it couldn’t be eas­ier to make. You’ll need a 6-inch round cake pan.

Adapted from “The ‘I Love My In­stant Pot’ Recipe Book: From Trail Mix Oat­meal to Mon­go­lian Beef BBQ,” by Michelle Fagone (Adams Me­dia/Si­mon and Schus­ter, 2017).

MAKES 4 SERV­INGS

¼ cup liq­ue­fied co­conut oil 1/3 to ½ cup gran­u­lated sugar 1 large egg ½ tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon Pinch freshly grated nut­meg ½ tsp vanilla ex­tract ¼ cup packed peeled, grated car­rots, plus a few shav­ings for op­tional gar­nish ¼ cup unsweet­ened flaked co­conut, plus more, toasted, for op­tional gar­nish ½ cup flour ½ tsp bak­ing pow­der ¼ cup chopped pecans Cream cheese frost­ing (op­tional; see NOTE)

Whisk to­gether the oil, sugar (to taste), egg, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, vanilla ex­tract, car­rots, flaked co­conut, flour, bak­ing pow­der and pecans in a medium bowl; do not over­mix.

Pour a cup of wa­ter into the In­stant Pot and then set a trivet in it; place the mix in the cake pan and place the pan atop the trivet. The wa­ter should not come up higher than the bot­tom of the cake pan.

Lock the In­stant Pot lid. Press the MAN­UAL but­ton and set the timer to 20 min­utes.

Once the timer beeps, let the pres­sure re­lease nat­u­rally for five min­utes. Care­fully quick-re­lease any ad­di­tional pres­sure un­til the float valve drops, then un­lock the lid.

Trans­fer the cake pan to a wire rack to cool. (Drain the In­stant Pot.)

To serve, in­vert onto a plat­ter. Spread the frost­ing on top, if us­ing, then gar­nish with the op­tional toasted co­conut flakes or op­tional car­rot shav­ings.

NOTE: To make just enough cream cheese frost­ing for this cake, whisk to­gether 4 ounces room-tem­per­a­ture cream cheese, 8 ta­ble­spoons (1 stick) room-tem­per­a­ture un­salted but­ter, ½ tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract, 8 ta­ble­spoons con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar and a pinch of kosher salt in a mix­ing bowl, un­til smooth.

Per serv­ing: 300 calo­ries, 3 g pro­tein, 20 g car­bo­hy­drates, 23 g fat, 17 g sat­u­rated fat, 45 mg choles­terol, 25 mg sodium, 2 g di­etary fi­bre, 17 g sugar

Chicken and Lentil Soup

Lentils are a go-to in­gre­di­ent for Ra­madan soups; this one’s quite flavour­ful and all done in a sin­gle pot. It’s also fill­ing with­out be­ing heavy.

We no­ticed in test­ing that this soup thick­ens upon stand­ing; feel free to stir in 1 to 2 cups ad­di­tional wa­ter when you re­heat it. You’ll need a 6-quart pres­sure cooker or an In­stant Pot.

Adapted from a recipe at Skin­nyTaste.com. MAKES 8 SERV­INGS (ABOUT 10 ½ CUPS)

1 pound dried brown or green lentils 12 to 15 ounces bone­less, skin­less chicken thighs (fat trimmed) 7 cups wa­ter 2 ta­ble­spoons Bet­ter Than Bouil­lon (paste) chicken flavour 1 small yel­low onion, coarsely chopped 2 scal­lions, white and light-green parts, chopped 3 cloves gar­lic, minced 1 medium-size ripe tomato, cut into ½-inch dice ¼ cup chopped ci­lantro leaves 1 tea­spoon gran­u­lated gar­lic (pow­der) 1 tsp ground sumac (may sub­sti­tute cumin) ¼ tsp dried oregano ½ tsp sweet pa­prika ½ tsp kosher salt, or more as needed

Com­bine the lentils, chicken (to taste), wa­ter, bouil­lon, onion, scal­lions, gar­lic, tomato, ci­lantro, gran­u­lated gar­lic, ground sumac, oregano, pa­prika and salt in the pres­sure cooker or In­stant Pot.

Lock the pres­sure-cooker lid in place. Turn the heat to high; once the pot reaches HIGH pres­sure, cook for 30 min­utes, ad­just­ing the heat to main­tain pres­sure, as needed. For the In­stant Pot, lock the lid and press the SOUP but­ton and cook for 30 min­utes. Use the pres­sure re­leases, then un­lock and open.

Trans­fer the chicken to a cut­ting board; use two forks to shred it, then re­turn it to the pot, stir­ring to in­cor­po­rate. Taste, and ad­just the salt, as needed. Serve hot. Per serv­ing: 320 calo­ries, 23 g pro­tein, 38 g car­bo­hy­drates, 8 g fat, 2 g sat­u­rated fat, 40 mg choles­terol, 620 mg sodium, 18 g di­etary fi­bre, 3 g sugar

This makes a lovely and invit­ing meat­less meal; start­ing with dried chick­peas re­ally im­proves the over­all tex­ture of the fi­nal dish.

Lentils are a go-to in­gre­di­ent for Ra­madan soups; this one’s quite flavour­ful and all done in a sin­gle pot. It’s also fill­ing with­out be­ing heavy. There’s not much of a rise in this cake, but its tex­ture does ap­prox­i­mate that of a baked car­rot cake with a moist, dense crumb.

GO­RAN KOSANOVIC, FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Pres­sure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken:chances are good you’ll have the sauce in­gre­di­ents on hand to make this easy, kid-friendly meal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.