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Iftar from afar

Part two of our three-part Iftar food special brings you recipes celebrating the flavours of the world

india Updated: Aug 11, 2012 15:52 IST
Sonal Ved

The meal eaten at dusk during the fasting month of Ramadan is known as Iftar. The feast symbolises an end to the day’s fast and is treated with a lot of fanfare.While most Indian households stick to Hyderabadi, Mughlai and Awadhi cuisine, there are others that fit the bill equally well.

Chef Anuj Agarwal from Canvas, Lower Parel, whips up three international dishes — an appetiser from Lebanon, a Middle Eastern main course dish and a dessert all the way from Egypt — that he feels make for ideal fast-breakers.

Lebanese Potato Salad
3 potatoes, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, fresh pepper, 4 onions (finely chopped), 1/4 cup fresh mint (chopped).

Method: Boil potatoes in salted water and drain. Chop them into 1/2 inch squares and keep aside. Make the dressing by mixing lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss potatoes in this dressing and ensure that it coats the vegetable well. Garnish with mint leaves and onions just before serving. You can serve with crackers or lavash sticks.

Dawood Basha
1 kg lamb meat (minced), 200 gm lamb fat (from tail or kidney), 1 onion (minced), 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 onion (sliced), 5 cups tomato (peeled and chopped), 3 litres chicken stock, 1/2 tbsp tomato paste, 2 tbsp pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Mix lamb meat with lamb fat, minced onions and season it with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into several portions and make small roundels. Place the meatballs on a greased tray and bake it at 150 degrees celsius for 15 minutes. In a pan, heat oil and fry the sliced onions. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for 30 minutes on slow fire and add the meatballs. Simmer the dish for another 15 minutes and finish with pine nuts. Serve hot with naan or steamed rice.

Expert Talk
“Middle Eastern countries have a rich bank of recipes that are perfect for Ramadan. They bring diverse flavours to the table. As an appetiser, the potato salad works because of the light dressing. The choice of vegetable makes it a filling dish after a day of fasting. Since lamb is a very popular meat, I’ve used it to make a traditional stew. The dessert is free from refined flour that’s used commonly in western desserts,” says Chef Anuj Agarwal.

170 gm cream, 700 gm sugar, 690 ml milk, 2 tsp vanilla power, 2 tsp baking powder, 150 gm butter, 800 gm semolina, 70 gm almond halves, 440 ml water, 2 tbsp rose water, 400 ml water.

Method: In a pan, boil water and add 500 gm of sugar. Simmer this liquid to form sugar syrup and remove from fire. Once it comes down to room temperature, add rose water and stir. In another pan, heat cream and add 200 gm of sugar, milk, vanilla powder, baking powder and butter. Simmer the mixture on medium flame until all the sugar granules dissolve. Add semolina and pour the mixture into a greased baking tray. Sprinkle almonds on top and bake the basbousa at 175 degree Celsius for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the syrup on top. Cut the dessert into diagonal squares and serve.