Despite a wide variety of Iftar feasts and treats available this Ramadan, nothing is more satisfying than a home-cooked meal.
To help you cook up a storm in the kitchen, here are 5 local chefs from different parts of the globe with their easy-to-cook, nutritious, balanced and (relatively) healthy recipes!
Chef Georges Zgheib, Head Chef, Beirut Sur Mer, Abu Dhabi
With over 20 years of experience and numerous awards, the anticipation and excitement of a new era of culinary experience led Chef Georges to join Beirut Sur Mer in 2020. Sharing a special from back home, here’s his easy-to-whip-up appetizer recipe.
1 kg Grilled Eggplant
15g lemon salt
270ml iced water
Grill the eggplants on charcoal and then wash
Cut eggplants into thin slices and gradually add the tahina
Add both salt and lemon salt followed by iced water
Mix well and refrigerate
180g of the prepared Moutabal mix
5g fresh pomegranate
2g fresh mint
Drizzle of pomegranate Molasses
Drizzle of olive oil
Cut the eggplant into cubes, deep fry and dry out the oil
Plate one portion of Moutabal mix
Add the fried eggplant mixed with the walnut, pomegranate and parsley on top
Add a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and olive oil and garnish with green mint
Polipo Alla Ligure (Ligurian’s Style Octopus)
Chef Matteo Mirandola, Dubai
With 15 years of culinary experience under his hat, Chef Matteo shares an easy to cook starter, filled with nutritional goodness.
1 full octopus
300g cherry tomato
100g black olives
20g pine nuts
4 basil leaves
60g rocket leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Start preparation by first boiling a big pot of water.
Wash, peel and cut a carrot, tomato and onion into big pieces and add to the water. Cut half a lemon, squeeze the juice into the water and add 2 whole pieces of lemon to the water.
Once the water starts boiling, add the octopus. Cook time is approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your preference for a hard or soft textured octopus. Check the texture by piercing one of the tentacles with a knife.
Once the octopus is almost ready, prepare the salad. Cut the cherry tomato into 4, slice black olives, add the pine nuts and rocket and mix. For the dressing, mix lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil as per desired taste.
Remove the cooked octopus and cut the tentacles into round slices.
Arrange the salad on the plate, add the octopus slices, add dressing, mix well and serve in a dish.
From the UK, with stints in Australia, UAE and Malaysia, Chef Carl returns to the UAE to head the kitchen at Radisson Damac Hills. This true Brit at heart, shares his favourite comfort food recipe.
1kg Braising steak or Topside
25g tomato paste
75g Demi-Glace powder or Bisto
(in case Demi-Glace powder is unavailable)
1L beef stock
1-2 bay leaves
30g chopped garlic
Flour to dust beef
1-2 puff pastry
1 egg (whisked)
Dust the diced beef with seasoned flour and sauté in a pot until golden. Set on a kitchen paper to drain the oil, then place the beef in an oven-proof pan.
Next, sauté onions in the same pot. Once golden-brown, transfer into the oven pan with the beef.
Add garlic and tomato puree to the sauté pot, cook for 1 minute, then slowly add the stock. Stir continuously to try and lift the fond from the bottom of the pan.
Next, add the stock mixture to the beef, ensuring the meat is fully covered (use additional water if required). Add bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, place the pan in an oven at 175C for 2.5 hours, checking and stirring occasionally.
Once done, check the sauce for thickness and flavour. If too thin, use a little Demi-Glace powder to thicken and check seasoning.
Then top with puff pastry and brush with egg wash. Cut a few slits in the surface and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until deep golden and serve while piping hot!
If you are hard-pressed for time but still want a sumptuous meal at home, why not try a meal kit? Naksha works with chefs and artists around the world to create flavourful gourmet recipe kits that are easy to follow, quick, fun and cost-effective. The Cari Crevette is a traditional herby Mauritian creole curry – a tangy gravy of prawns or butterbeans cooked with European herbs and tropical spices with top-notes of thyme, tomato and curry leaf. This kit is gluten-free, contains organic ingredients and offers easy vegan substitutes.
A unique twist to a traditional Indian dessert, Chef Irshad considers it his forte to reinvent traditional dishes. Rooh Afza, a popular rose syrup, makes an appearance in South Asian households during the holy month of Ramadan. Usually consumed as a refreshing drink, Chef Irshad’s take on this syrup, looks promising.
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
½ cup Rooh Afza syrup
Take a saucepan, mix sugar and water together until the sugar syrup is of one-thread consistency. Then add the Rooh Afza syrup, until it is thickens into the sugar syrup.
2 cups flour
¼ cup gram flour (besan)
6g active yeast
2 cups water
Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside to rest to ferment for 10 to 15 minutes.
Then beat the mixture in a bowl with the palm of your hand to combine and fluff the batter.
Pour the batter into a squeeze bottle to pipe out.
Next, heat oil in a deep pan. Once heated, pipe the mixture into the oil as a spiral, as per the desired size.
Cook on both sides until golden crisp, and transfer into the Rooh Afza sugar syrup, soaking it for 3 to 4 minutes.
Serve hot along with ice cream.
Tag us when you try these mouth-watering Iftar recipes
on Instagram @sunsandsports.
Subscribe below to our newsletter and download our app on the App Store or Google Play for