4 female foodies share their iftar menu ideas with us for Ramadan

March 11, 2024 (Last Updated: March 12, 2024)
5 chefs/influencers share what will be on their iftar menu

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, the spirit of togetherness and celebration fills the air. For many, the highlight of each day during this sacred month is the iftar meal, where families and friends gather to break their fast. Food&Home Magazine had the pleasure of speaking to four of our favourite extraordinary female foodies, each with a unique culinary flair, to share their personal Ramadan favourites and what they’re planning for their iftar menus.

1.  Fehmz

Fehmz and her brand are all about keeping it real. Over the years, she has built a unique space that encompasses all kinds of good food and lifestyle. Speaking to Food&Home, she shares her

What are your favourite must-haves on the iftar table during Ramadan?

No iftar table is complete without dates, some ZamZam water and we like to add cucumbers, a cooling yoghurt or labneh and some nuts. Often times we have different types of dates or we dress them up, stuff them, cover them in honey and dukkah.

 

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How do you balance incorporating traditional dishes with trying out new recipes for Iftar?
My kids and husband don’t enjoy heavy meals at dinner time or very traditional meals which puts me in a constant push and pull between the traditional and trying something new. During Ramadan, I like to consider the change in how our bodies feel and prepare dishes that are filling for suhur time (our meals in the morning) and rather opt for something lighter on the belly for iftar to avoid that bloated feeling. The compromise in my house is we do spicy every other day and we try something new and exciting and different on the palate at least once or twice a week. I don’t know if we will win but I really want to try.

One of the things I’d love to try more of this Ramadan is Mediterranean-inspired food and tapas-style eating so that it’s a feast of tastes in little doses.

What will make up your iftar menu this Ramadan?
This year I want to focus on really enjoying the month to its fullest, savouring the dishes we make and keeping things simple and flavourful. Cutting down on abundance and really leaning into the essence of Ramadan, reflecting on what those who are living without are going through. I’m going to take meals simple, I’ve prepared a few things for breaking the fast like the usual savouries but also some meal prep with marinated meat. We also want to make of the most of the end of Summer as the season changes so you’re going to find fruit platters, savoury platters, Middle Eastern mezze, more veg dishes and let me be honest, also a smorgasbord of desserts every now and again.

Can you share a unique or personal twist you add to a classic Ramadan dish?

One of the things I love experimenting with different flavours is kataifi pastry, traditionally it is used to make sweet dishes like kunefe, rolled kataifi, and the kataifi nests with nuts. But I recently used it to make a passionfruit curd tart and have previously used it in making a glorious tower of millefeuille. I don’t know why but I always see the pastry and get excited trying to think of how many things I can use it for.

2. Fatima Wadee

Meet Fatima Wadee, the culinary maestro and creative mind behind the Chatterfoodie blog. With an unwavering passion for all things food-related, Fatima has carved a unique space in the digital culinary landscape, captivating readers with her delightful recipes, engaging storytelling, and a keen eye for the visual appeal of gastronomy.

What new recipes are you hoping to try this Ramadan?

I have young fasting kids, once they return from school they always tell me what they prefer for iftar or even a treat and I love making it for them. The weather in Dubai is quite hot and when fasting we tend to lean more on lighter meals and ideas. Meze platters are all the new hype and right up my alley. I want to focus on a more healthier and wholesome approach to our iftar and suhur tables. By doing this I will be incorporating the classics to give that perfect Ramadaan feel.

How do you ensure your Iftar meals are both delicious and nutritious for yourself and your family?

I love making light meals and my family and I enjoy open sandwiches. This way I add a few grilled veggies, or even fresh salads as toppings. Soups are an amazing way to get those veggies and nutrition in without the little ones noticing.

My savouries include quite a few vegetables, I tend to air fry most of them to skip the oily unhealthy fats. This makes a very big difference. Suhur time we focus on adding protein-packed snacks or a meal. Such as eggs, yoghurts, fresh fruits and a few smoothies. This helps us stay full throughout the day.

What are your favourite must-haves on the iftar table during Ramadan?

Ramadaan is a month to spiritually uplift ourselves as well as pack our bodies with the best nutrition. Being a mother of four growing kids, I tend to have a balanced and nutritious approach with my iftar table.

We open our fast with dates, zam zam and a fresh array of fruits. After praying we return to have a meal. A few starters which consist of the classics such as samoosas, pies, spring rolls and many other savouries. Accompanied by delicious chutneys. I prefer a hot soup and make a few light meals and healthy sides. A family favourite has been slap chips, something I make every few days fresh and hot to add to the proteins as a meal.

The kids enjoy cooling down with various flavoured milkshakes. I make banana pies topped with delicious caramel and generously dusted with cinnamon. Another classic is a dhaiwara, which is a soft puri dipped in a sugar syrup and coconut. To end our evening we have a hot cup of chai. We occasionally enjoy cooling desserts such as jelly, vermicelli dessert, phirni, and falooda.


ALSO READ: Everything you need to know about Ramadan


3. Chef Zana

Meet Chef Zana Alvarado, a culinary virtuoso whose passion for food is as infectious as her creations are delectable. With a career steeped in culinary excellence, Chef Zana has become a beacon in the gastronomic world, known for her innovative approach to flavours and dedication to culinary craftsmanship. Chef Zana shares Ramadan favourites, tips and plans for her iftar menu.

Are there particular cooking techniques or shortcuts you find helpful for preparing meals during the busy Ramadan season?

I like to plan in advance and make a menu for the week. That way, grocery shopping takes less time, and planning ahead minimises wastage. As a family, we tend to prefer light meals in the evening during Ramadaan.One-pan sheet meals definitely save time, and I can cook proteins and veggies together. This year, I will be incorporating more interesting salads too in the first half of the month, seeing as the weather is incredibly hot.

 

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What are your favourite must-haves on the iftar table?

I love both sweet and savoury dishes on my iftar table. A staple is my Egyptian Dukkah. It’s a delicious combination of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. It’s highly nutritious and brings a depth of flavour. I enjoy this mixed with extra virgin olive oil as a dip for bread, or in yoghurt and sweetened with honey. Probably my all-time favourite way to enjoy this is to make a date and Dukkah roll. Simply split open a fresh white bread roll, and top it with a dollop of full-cream plain yoghurt. Tear some fresh dates over the top, finish with a liberal sprinkling of Egyptian Dukkah, sandwich with the other half of the bread roll, and enjoy.

Are there any regional specialities or family recipes that you look forward to preparing during Ramadan?

Boeber, the traditional hot milk beverage with toasted almonds and vermicelli is a regular feature on my table, and of course, homemade chutneys to accompany savouries such as samoosas and rissoles.

4. Mariam Harris

Introducing Mariam Harris, the dynamic force behind Cooked.Inc.—a culinary venture that transcends the boundaries of a traditional food delivery service. Mariam wears multiple hats with grace and resilience—she’s a devoted mom, a loving wife, an entrepreneur, a cancer survivor, and a fitness enthusiast. Her remarkable journey has shaped Cooked.Inc into more than just a culinary haven; it’s a testament to Mariam’s triumph over adversity and her unwavering commitment to a healthy, fulfilling life. Mariam shares two of her favourite Ramadan recipes with Food&Home.

How do you balance incorporating traditional dishes with trying out new recipes for Iftar?

Throughout the year I cook off the cuff using ingredients that I find in my cupboard and fridge. I love upcycling leftovers into new Iftar snacks or a different meal. This month is about being mindful about our consumption, so there will be zero food waste in our home this Ramadan.

Upcycled Potato Salad into Tuna Potato Cakes Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of potato salad roughly mashed
  • 1 tin of drained tuna
  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup of defrosted corn
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 chopped chilli
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shape into little patties (10 patties)

Method

  1. Let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge
  2. Shallow fry on medium heat
  3. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve with a dipping sauce

What are your favourite must-haves that will make up your iftar menu this Ramadan?

Soup is a must when breaking our fast. It is the perfect vehicle for veggies, water and nutrients. Everything you need to keep your immune system strong. A classic split pea, barley and vegetable soup can always be found on our tables. Use grass-fed beef bones to make a rich, nutritious base for your soup.

Can you share a unique or personal twist you add to a classic Ramadan dish?

To stay hydrated throughout the day, drink a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (or Celtic salt) in a glass of water. Another favourite I love enjoying is coconut water. It is one of nature’s most refreshing and hydrating drinks. It’s also naturally isotonic and packed with electrolytes. If you struggle to eat in the morning, then a smoothie is a great option for Suhur.

Try this easy smoothie recipe: 

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of milk (your dietary preference)
  • 3 soaked dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup soaked oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein or collagen
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and blend into your desired smoothie consistency.

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Feature image: Supplied 

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