Es­sen­tial Holy Month dishes

Ten ways to break your fast, picked by the city’s top chefs


01 Shorba Lentil soup sea­soned with lemon and cumin is es­sen­tial at an iftar feast, says Le­banese restau­rant Al Nafoorah’s chef Ali Fouad. “This is the per­fect dish to break the fast, as it is easy on an empty stom­ach and pre­pares the body for the large meal to fol­low,” he ex­plains. “It plays a key nu­tri­tional role, it’s a big star dish and it’s a must-serve, es­pe­cially dur­ing Ra­madan.” 02 Lamb ouzi De­scribed as “the king of the Ra­madan ta­ble”, this mar­i­nated lamb with aro­matic rice can be found at most iftar and suhoor feasts. Chef Ali adds: “It’s de­signed to be shared in the mid­dle of the ta­ble when you’re home with fam­ily.”

aJumeirah Emi­rates Tow­ers, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3198760. Metro: Emi­rates Tow­ers.

03 Fat­toush

A feast of healthy sal­ads is a must on any iftar ta­ble, and fat­toush is an es­sen­tial fea­ture, ar­gues Mid­dle East­ern chain Abd el Wahab’s chef Michel Aoun. “No one can re­sist the tangy taste of a fresh batch of fat­toush, let alone dur­ing iftar, when it is a healthy way to break the fast, thanks to fresh in­gre­di­ents such as cu­cum­ber, tomato, radish, wa­ter­cress and let­tuce.”

04 Baten­gen kabab

A favourite on Abd el Wahab’s menu, th­ese skew­ers of aubergine, spiced meat­ball and tomato are tasty and light. “Th­ese are de­signed to leave stom­achs and taste buds very sat­is­fied,” ex­plains chef Michel, “us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of healthy and flavour­ful in­gre­di­ents, which is just what you need when break­ing your fast.”

aVar­i­ous lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Souk Al Ba­har, Down­town Dubai, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4230988. Metro: Burj Khal­ifa/ Dubai Mall

05 Da­wood basha

“This is a spe­cial dish pre­pared only for cer­tain oc­ca­sions, such as Ra­madan – peo­ple like it then be­cause it is one of the old­est dishes in the re­gion,” ex­plains chef Ni­cola Kad­mos from JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. He says the meal, fea­tur­ing beef or lamb meat­balls sim­mered in a tomato sauce, is a sea­sonal sta­ple, adding, “It is also rich in pro­tein and in­ter­est­ingly enough, thanks to the tomato sauce, keeps peo­ple full and hy­drated, which means it does not re­quire a lot of drink­ing wa­ter af­ter eat­ing it. This is of ben­e­fit to those who are fast­ing.”

06 Shish barak

A tra­di­tional dish of tiny, meat­stuffed dumplings cooked in a flavour­ful plain yo­ghurt-based sauce. It’s time con­sum­ing to make, but com­mon­place on many an Emi­rati iftar ta­ble. “Lo­cal fam­i­lies like to pre­pare this dish in the month of Ra­madan and in­vite a lot of friends to share it, en­joy­ing qual­ity time to­gether while the dish is be­ing pre­pared,” ex­plains chef Ni­cola Kad­mos. “Also, the yo­ghurt makes it eas­ily di­gested, mean­ing it’s the per­fect dish to en­joy dur­ing the Holy Month.”

aJW Marriott Marquis, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4143000. Taxi: JW Marriott Marquis. jw­mar­riottmar­quis dubail­

07 King fish mach­boos

Mach­boos is a spe­cial dish made of rice cooked with meat or fish, which is eaten dur­ing Ra­madan, ex­plains chef Bas­sel Ibrahim of Seven Sands Emi­rati Cui­sine & Lounge. He uses king fish in his ver­sion, de­scrib­ing it as “a trib­ute to Dubai’s be­gin­nings as a sleepy fish­ing vil­lage”. Long the pre­ferred catch of Emi­rati fish­er­men, the fish can be shared among as many as ten peo­ple, mak­ing it ideal for an iftar ta­ble. “It is nu­tri­tious,” chef Bas­sel adds, “which makes it a great dish to help re­plen­ish the body.”

08 Aseeda bo­bar

“Peo­ple are of­ten sur­prised to hear that pump­kin is used in tra­di­tional Emi­rati recipes, but it has been grown in the re­gion for gen­er­a­tions,” ex­plains Seven Sands’ chef Bas­sel, who says this dish is one of his Holy Month must-haves. “Pump­kin of­ten fea­tures on iftar menus be­cause it’s low in calo­ries but rich in an­tiox­i­dants and vi­ta­mins, which makes it a nour­ish­ing and de­li­cious way to break your fast.” Here, a warm, sweet pump­kin purée is served flavoured with car­damom, lo­cal saf­fron and Emi­rati ghee.

aThe Beach op­po­site JBR, Dubai. Tel: (04) 5516652. Taxi: Hil­ton Jumeirah Beach Res­i­dence. sev­en­sand­srestau­

09 Kibbeh

“So many of us still yearn for flavours that are deeply rooted in our child­hood,” says chef Ali El Bourji from Le­banese out­let Ayamna, at At­lantis The Palm, who in­sists kibbeh must fea­ture on his iftar ta­ble. Made of freshly ground meat stuffed with minced onions and an ar­ray of Mid­dle East­ern spices such as cin­na­mon, the cro­quettes can be deep fried or baked and are of­ten served as a mezze or side dish.

10 Puff pas­try ouzi

A sig­na­ture dish from chef Ali El Bourji, this up­date on the tra­di­tional lamb ouzi sees an aro­matic mix of rice, veg­eta­bles, chicken and lamb wrapped in puff pas­try, to be cut open at the com­mu­nal ta­ble. “This dish is a per­fect hearty meal and its cer­e­mo­ni­ous cut­ting makes for a sea­sonal delight.” At­lantis The Palm, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4261000. Taxi: At­lantis The Palm. at­lantis­thep­





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