Some Tasty treats for Ramadan

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Mujaddara – Middle Eastern Lentil Pilaf
Mujaddara is an easy, tasty one dish meal for iftar time and has plenty of health benefits as lentils are high in fibre, full of protein and vitamin B. Mix this with rice, which is a quick source of energy and it becomes ideal for when you break your fast. Olive oil ensures you have healthy fats, and a dollop of yoghurt and sumac adds creaminess and a slight tang.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 200g red split lentils
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 2-3 whole green chillies
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp salt

Method

  • Rinse lentils and place in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Drain and set aside. Now rinse and drain the rice and set aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil on medium high heat and add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaf. Once you hear the cumin seeds make a popping sounds – about 30 seconds – add the onions and salt. Cook the onions for 12 to 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crisp up. Turn the heat to low and using a slotted spoon remove half of the fried onions to a dish and reserve for later.
  • Turn the heat to medium and stir in the ground spices and cook for about a minute. Add the rice and stir gently to toast the rice slightly. This will take two to three minutes. Cover the rice with boiling water up to an inch above the rice and bring to the boil. Add the green chillies and simmer on medium heat for seven to eight minutes and stir once. Reduce the heat to very low.
  • Layer the reserved caramelised onions and lentils on top of the rice and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until you see steam rising from the pan steadily. Leave to rest for five minutes. Taste the rice for seasoning.
  • When you are ready to eat, very gently mix the rice, onions and lentils and serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and if desired, a sprinkle of sumac.

Oat, Fig and Apple Energy Bars
These energy bars are delicious and easy to make. Soft, chewy and flapjack-like in texture they are perfect for suhoor. The oats provide slow release energy to set you up for the rest of the day and the fruits and nuts add extra flavour and nutrition. Have a slice with a banana and some yoghurt for a quick meal.

Ingredients (makes 12 pieces)

  • 150g oats
  • 2 small apples, thinly sliced
  • 4 figs, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped cashews
  • 4 tbsp raisins
  • 4 tbsp flaked almonds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 80 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180° c (160°c fan) and bake the apple and fig slices to dehydrate them in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, turning the slices halfway.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan gently heat, but don’t boil, the milk, honey, sugar and oil on a low heat until everything is blended. This takes about a minute. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, add the oats, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and chopped nuts and raisins. When the apple and fig slices have cooled, chop them into small pieces and stir into the oat mix. Add the warm, wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Drop the mixture into a lined 20cm square brownie tin and press down to flatten evenly. Bake at the same temperature for 30 minutes, or until golden on top.

Dina Begum is food blogger.
www.syrupandglaze.com
@syrupandglaze

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