IFTARI INSPIRATIONS WITH SUMAYYA USMANI
I have some exciting news to share with you. As fervent readers of my blog you will know that I have always been passionate about sharing my love for authentic South Asian flavours and Pakistani food on my blog, in my books, BBC radio show and cookery classes. That being said; I am very happy to announce my partnership with Asda to bring you Iftari Inspirations.
At the beginning of the month, I was approached by Asda, who have been consistently striving to cater to the needs of various ethnic communities in the UK, to curate three special menus that you could recreate at home with ingredients that could be picked up at an Asda store for your Iftari meals this Ramadan.
When you think of Iftari, people traditionally reminisce about their childhood memories and their mum’s cooking during Ramazan. The month brings with it, togetherness and sharing with family and friends, and a sense of deep bonding with the community. Keeping that in mind, I have put together three menus that can be created with ingredients available at Asda that would serve as an inspiration to anyone in search of iftari or even Sehri ideas for Ramadan this year. For the next three weeks, I will be putting up one of the menus that I created with ingredients purchased at Asda with three distinct food enthusiasts in mind, so whether you are short on time or looking to create an elaborate meal, you will find one of these menus suited to your cooking style.
I have truly enjoyed discovering the impressive range available at Asda during Ramadan these last few weeks and hope you enjoy trying out this menu as much as I enjoyed putting them together.
WEEK 1 – Inspiration Menu.
My first menu is a quick one for on-the-go, health-savvy cook who just needs some ideas to make their Iftari interesting without fussing over the lengthy cooking processes. A lot of us have full-time jobs, work pressures and a million household chores. While Ramadan gives us an opportunity to reflect spiritually, life goes on at its own pace. This menu will enable you to carry on with your routine while adding some zing to your Iftari, keeping it wholesome and healthy. A lot of these recipes are tapas-style, with small portions, and can be modified to meet your family needs. The ingredients can also be replaced or changed to suit your palate. There is room for you to make it your own, and most of these recipes can be had for Sehri or Iftari. Another advantage with this menu is that you don’t need to run around collecting specialist ingredients – it can be dished up with your regular kitchen essentials like chickpeas, eggs, potatoes, yogurt and seasonal fruits.
Black Chana Salad with Poppy Seeds and Red Onions
- 400 grams canned
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp white poppy
- 1/2 tsp kalonji (nigella
- 1 large red onion, cut
into fine rings
- 100ml tamarind
- salt to taste
- Coriander leaves
- Chopped green chillies
- 2 medium tomatoes,
de-seeded and chopped
into medium pieces
- In a saucepan, heat the oil and the cumin, nigella
and poppy seeds for about 1 minute until they pop.
- Now add the red onion and cook until slightly soft
but still a little crunchy, for about three minutes,
stirring constantly. Now add the canned black
chickpeas and stir through.
- Turn off the heat and add the tamarind chutney.
Check the seasoning, add salt if needed, then
garnish. Serve warm or cold.
Aloo bhujia with halloumi and egg
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 red onion, finely
- 1cm (1/2 inch) piece
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp kalonji (nigella
- 2 tbsp dried methi
- 3 medium tomatoes,
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 250g new potatoes,
peeled and cut into 1cm
- 250ml water
- 1/2 tbsp ghee
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 packed halloumi
cheese, chopped into
pan–fried until brown
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- A handful coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp dill, chopped
First make the aloo bhujia:
- Heat the oil in a saucepan (with the lid on). When
hot, add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook
over a high heat for 5–7 minutes, or until the onion
is golden brown.
- Add the cumin, kalonji, dried methi leaves,
tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chilli powder, then
reduce the heat. Mix well and keep stirring as you
cook for about 10 minutes, or until the oil rises to
the surface and the tomatoes are soft.
- Add the potatoes and water, stir and increase the
heat to medium. Cover the pan with the lid and
cook for 10–12 minutes, or until the potatoes are
tender and the water has evaporated. Turn off
heat and set aside.
- In a cast iron frying pan (big enough to fi t the
potatoes), place the potatoes together with
the ghee. Heat and let the ghee melt. Mix in the
browned halloumi cheese cubes.
- Crack eggs on top of the potatoes and halloumi
and place under the hot grill. Let this cook for
about 3-5 minutes on high, until the eggs set.
- Serve hot with a garnishing of sprinkled chaat
masala and chopped coriander leaves.
Rosewater & honey Greek yogurt topped with stewed Hunza apricots, pomegranate and apricot kernels
Tip: You can create this dessert with any seasonal fruit. Add granola and serve it for Sehri.
- 150g Hunza apricots,
soaked in water
- 450g full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2-3 tsp honey
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 2 tbsp pomegranate
- 1 tbsp chopped apricot
kernels or almonds
- Begin by squeezing out the stones from the soaked
Hunza apricots – they should slide out and the apricot
should retain its shape. Place stoned apricots back in
the soaking liquid while preparing the rest of the dish.
- In a bowl, combine the chilled Greek yogurt with the
honey and rosewater and mix until combined. Chill for
a few minutes while toasting nuts.
- Toast the apricot kernels or almonds in a hot, dry pan
and then keep aside.
- To assemble, spoon out equal amount of flavoured
yogurt into three bowls, top each with Hunza apricots
(without liquid), then toasted apricot kernels/almonds
and pomegranate seeds. Serve chilled.
T’s& C’s: selected stores, Subject to availability
Recipes developed for Asda UK