A scrumptious Iftar spread

   

Home baker Adila Eileen* took time from her Ramadan preparations to whip up an Iftar spread, featuring dishes influenced by recipes sourced from around the world

 

Coca Algerian Pastry

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(Coca is an appetising pastry; it is similar to sambosa, but in baked form).
Ingredients

  • Flour -2 cups
  • Eggs -1
  • Salt – to taste
  • Butter – 100gms
  • Water, if needed to combine

For the filling:
– Pre-seasoned mincemeat – 1/2kg with herbs and spices

– Spring onions (chopped) – 2tbsp

– Paprika or black pepper – 2tsp

– Curry powder – 1tsp (optional)

– Oil -1tsp

Method

  1. Prepare the dough by combining all ingredients together. Knead for at least 5-7 minutes.
  2. Keep refrigerated for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Add oil in a pan and slowly add the spices and meat. Let this cook for few minutes only; cool it completely.
  4. Remove dough and roll it into a big round disc. Using a round shape cookie cutter, cut round shapes.
  5. Fold one side of the disc add in meat filling and seal it completely. Use flour mixed with water or egg wash to seal them.
  6. Before baking, brush it with egg wash and add sesame seeds.
  7. Bake 30-40 mins 180 degree

 

Fatayer

Ingredients

  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Vegetable  oil – 5-7tbsp
  • Yoghurt – 5tbsp
  • Baking powder-  1tsp
  • Yeast – 1tbspn
  • Sugar – 2tsp
  • Salt- 1tsp
  • Warm water – 1/2 cup or more
  • Egg – 1 (for egg wash with little milk for glaze)

Filling for Fatayer 
– Akkawi cheese (look out for less salted), mozzarella and cheddar cheese – mix  all of them together or choose your favourite (50gms each)
– Black seeds (nigella) – to sprinkle
– Sesame seeds – to sprinkle
– Parsley – to garnish
Method

  1. Add yeast and sugar together to the warm water and let it sit for five minutes.
  2. In a stand mixer, add rest of the ingredients with yeast mixture to make a dough.
  3. Remove and knead it for 5-7 minutes. This makes the dough rise well.
  4. Cover the dough with a cling wrap or any towel in a bowl. Keep it in warm temperature till it rises to double (almost an hour).
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. You could use akkawi with cheddar or mozzarella cheese. Add parsley and zatar or labneh and zatar or meat and zatar…Add your desired filling and keep aside.
  6. The dough would have risen after an hour or so. Remove and punch air out and roll to make desired shape.
  7. Fill the Fatayer with your fillings and brush with egg wash. Keep this for another 10-12 mins to slightly rise up. Before baking, brush with egg wash again and sprinkle the seeds.
  8. Bake at 200 degrees for 12- 15 minutes.

 

Tabaka Chicken

(To make chicken tabaka, the chicken is flattened by meat pounder and cooked on iron cast skillet. It is a very popular dish in Russia and surrounding countries, including Georgia)
Ingredients

– Whole chicken – 800 grams or less

– Paprika – 2tsp

– Flavoured salt – 1tsp or as per taste

– Olive oil – 2tbsp

– Cooking oil – 2tbsp

– Pine nuts or pistachio – for garnish (optional)

Method
1. Cut the chicken and wash it. Let the water drain completely.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the rub. Add olive oil, paprika and flavoured salt together and make a mixture.

3. Now, using the meat pounder (hammer), start pounding the chicken to flatten it.

4. Apply the mix on to the chicken and let it rest for 2-3 hours to get maximum flavour. You could marinate and keep it overnight too.

5. Heat a skillet, add a little oil and cook the chicken on low flame for 10 minutes, turning over the chicken. Add a weight or cover it with another pan and a brick on top.

6. Keep checking the meat to avoid burning – it cooks in half an hour maximum.

7. Enjoy the dish with garlic sauce or a plum based one.
Zatar Shrimp Biryani

(Adila’s special Ramadan recipe is a refreshing twist to your regular biryanis)

Ingredients 

  • Shrimps (large, peeled and washed) – 1kg
  • Zatar – 3tbsp
  • Olive oil – 3tbsp
  • Fried onions – half cup
  • Cooking oil – 5-8tbsp
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 2-3
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 2tsp
  • Arab spice – 2tsp
  • Black pepper – 1tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Saffron – few strands soaked in 5tbsp warm milk
  • Melted butter or ghee – 4tbsp or more
  • Basmati rice 2-3 cups (washed and soaked)
  • Fresh pomegranates – 1/2 cup

Method 
1. Clean and wash shrimps, drain all water away.

  1. Marinate the shrimps with zatar, olive oil mixture, black pepper, and keep aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Soak 2 -3cups basmati rice for half an hour
  3. In a large pot, add in oil, sauté ginger-garlic paste, add the fried onion and cook on medium flame. Add the tomatoes after a couple of minutes and cook for 5 minutes before putting off the flame.
  4. Remove from flame and blend it in a mixer to turn into a fine paste.
  5. Meanwhile, for the rice, prepare the pot with water, add salt and let the water boil for 10 mins at least.
  6. Add in the rice with a little oil to the boiling water. Cook till medium done.
  7. Now put the onion mixture back on the flame and add the marinated shrimps. Cook for 2 minutes on high flame. Don’t cook the shrimps for long, as they will be slow cooked later.
  8. Rinse the rice with cool water and let the water drain. Leave it for 3- 5 minutes.
  9. Now put this semi-cooked rice either layered or in one go on top of the shrimps.
  10. Layer them well and stir in 3tbsp ghee/butter and saffron.
  11. Create little holes in the layered biryani to allow steam to pass and help cook rice easily.
  12. Close the pot with foil and put a lid with a heavy stone on top; cook for half an hour to 45 minutes.
  13. Remove the cover and plate it with a garnishing of zatar and pomegranates. Serve with yoghurt chutney or pickle.

Note: If using chicken instead of shrimps, cook the pieces for 10-15 minutes at least. Also, zatar has salt, so be careful while adding salt to the biryani gravy.

Molten Lava Cake

Ingredients

– Dark chocolate – 4 pieces

– Egg – 1

– Egg yolk -1

– Butter -30 to 40gms

– Fine granulated sugar – 1/3 or 1/4 cup

– Flour – 3tbsp

Method

  1. Whisk the butter and sugar together.
  2. Slowly add the egg and egg yolk and keep whipping
  3. Melt the chocolate in a microwave for a few seconds and add the melted chocolate to the batter. Slowly incorporate the flour and make it a smooth batter without any lumps.
  4. Grease 2 ramekins with butter, pour the mixture evenly and bake the goodies at 220 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

(This dessert could be made ahead and frozen for 2-3 months. Just before baking, thaw it to room temperature. It stays in the refrigerator for a week.)
* A passionate cook and a mother of four, Adila has been writing recipes and cookery articles for Dubai based food magazines and newspapers. Following her move to Oman, she started working with Oman’s celebrity chef Issa Al Lamki and networked with other local chefs. She has since met up other international chefs, including  Sanjeev Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor and Ajay Chopra, and given wings to her culinary interests and research in Middle Eastern cuisine. 

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