6 Traditional Ramadan recipes

Rahma Khan 11 April 2022

Are you fasting for Ramadan and in need of some new ideas for how to break your fast? Try these traditional recipes

I am a Pakistani but my family roots trace back to Indian soil. My grandparents immigrated to Pakistan from India during the Great Divide of the Sub-continent. I grew up relishing traditional Indian recipes tweaked with Pakistani ingredients.

The Ramadan fasting for Muslims is followed by feasting. The Iftaar meals (eaten at the fast-breaking time) are made with nutritious ingredients.

The fast is broken by eating dates, which are a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium, and natural sugar to restore blood sugar levels after the fasting hours. Rooh Afzaa flavoured sweet hydrating drink, that originated in the Indian subcontinent in the 1900s is inextricably linked with Iftaar for its cooling nutritious properties. 

My Ramadan spread consists of traditional Indo-Pak recipes both combined together on a single plate.

Fruit Chaat 

A fruit salad with an Indian twist.

Method:

  1. Chop 4 to 5 seasonal fruits and mix them together in a bowl.
  2. Add fresh guava juice with 2 tbsp of milk to the fruit mixture.
  3. Sprinkle sugar on mixture according to your liking (can be skipped for healthy eating).
  4. Garnish with Chaat Masalathe star of the dish. To make Chaat Masala, grind roasted cumin seeds and pomegranate seeds with 1tsp of black salt, red chilli, and dry mango powder.
  5. To add a more refreshing taste, sprinkle mint leaves and mix well.

Dahi Barey 

Spicy lentil dumplings dipped in a tangy sauce

Method:

  1. Soak Bengal Gram (Split Gram Lentil) overnight. Grind it well and make small balls.
  2. Make a thick batter of 100g of chickpea flour by adding salt and red chillies to taste, ½ tsp baking soda, and 2-3 cups of water.
  3. Dip the lentil balls in the batter and deep fry them until they turn golden brown. (For the healthy version, swap deep frying by air frying).
  4. For the sauce, take 2 pounds of yougurt and add half tsp of salt, sugar, and chilli flakes. Stir it well by adding water until it gets a medium to thick texture.
  5. Add the fried lentil balls in the yougurt and mix well.
  6. For garnishing, sprinkle Chaat Masala, red chilli powder, tamarind paste, and finely chopped cilantro and mint.

Chana Chaat 

A sweet and spicy Indian style chickpea salad 

Method:

  1. Whisk yogurt with half tsp salt and sugar. If it looks too thick, add water to bring it to a medium to thick paste. 
  2. In a separate dish, take 1 can of soaked chickpeas and add half tsp of salt, cumin powder, chilli powder, chilli flakes, and Chaat Masala and mix well.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a small pan, and when it is medium hot, add the chickpea mix to it and stir fry on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. When cooked, add chickpeas in the whisked yogurt. 
  5. For a refreshing twist, add cucumber, diced boiled potatoes, chopped tomatoes.
  6. Garnish it with cilantro, mint, Chaat Masala and a dash of tamarind sauce.

Air-Fried Pakora 

Vegetable fritters with green chilli sauce

Pakoras can be made with any vegetable. The most common ones are made with potato, eggplant, and onion 

Method:

  1. Cut thin slices of potato/eggplant/onion.
  2. In a bowl, take 100g of chickpea flour and add 2-3 cups of water to make a paste.
  3. Add half tsp of salt, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and chilli flakes to the paste.
  4. Dip the vegetables in the paste until evenly coated.
  5. Thinly coat the bottom of the pan with oil and cook the fritters for 3-4 mins on each side.
  6. Serve with a green chilli paste mixed with tamarind and salt. 

Aloo Ki Tikki 

Pakistani and Indian style masala potato cakes

Method:

  1. Boil 3 large russet potatoes. When boiled, peel off their skin and crush them making sure there no lumps are formed.
  2. Peel and roughly chop one onion and add it to the crushed potatoes.
  3. Add half tsp of salt, coriander powder, cumin seeds, black pepper, chilli flakes and dried fenugreek to the potato mixture. Sprinkle it with finely chopped green chillies and cilantro.
  4. Whisk 1 egg and set it aside.
  5. Make medium sized flat potato cakes from the mixture.
  6. In a separate take breadcrumbs to coat the potato cakes
  7. Dip the potato cake in egg and coat with breadcrumbs.
  8. Deep fry or air fry the potato cake until it is golden brown from both sides.

Gujiya

Baked Soft and sweet dumplings from the inside and crunchy outside

Method:

  1. In a big bowl take 2 cups of all purpose flour and add ½ tsp salt. 
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) in a pan until it melts.
  3. Add the clarified butter to the flour. Now add 2-3 cups of water and start to knead it until the dough is firm and tight. Cover it with a napkin and keep aside.
  4.  In a separate pan, heat ½ tbsp of ghee and add 6 tbsp sugar. Cook it for 2-3mins on medium flame.
  5. Chop almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts, and raisins. Cook them in the sugar syrup for 10 minutes.
  6. Make small pockets of dough filled with the nuts filling. Deep fry or air fry it until it is gets a dark brown texture.

Read more: Eating disorders during Ramadan

Read more: Meet Britain's most social media savvy Imam

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter