Recipes for Ramadan

October 18, 2006

Many of the recipes served at the iftar, such as
chicken stuffed with beef and rice, Lebanese meat pies
and okra with meat, can be found in May Bsisu's book
"The Arab Table," (Morrow, $34.95) So are these:


It's a long list of ingredients, but the soup is not
difficult to make.

½ cup olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

3 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

¼ cup cider vinegar

zest of 1 orange, grated

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon saffron threads

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

8 cups boiling water

¼ cup sesame paste (tahini)

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2 pounds sea bass, grouper, snapper or cod, cut into
1-inch pieces and rinsed

16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add
the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until
the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the
tomatoes, vinegar, orange zest, cilantro, saffron,
cardamom, cayenne, salt and black pepper, and sauté
until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Then add the boiling
water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to
medium-high, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sesame
paste and lemon juice. Purée the mixture in batches in
a blender and return to the pot (Or use an immersion
blender to purée it right in the pot.) Set the pot
over medium-high heat, and add the fish and shrimp.
Cook until the fish begins to flake with the prick of
a fork and shrimp is pink, about 7 minutes. Garnish
with the parsley and serve hot.

Serves 6.


For me, this was one of the highlights of the Karrams'
iftar, and it's a wonderful fruit dessert for winter.
You can vary the fruit and nuts as you wish.

½ cup unsalted pistachios

½ cup walnuts

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons orange-blossom water

2 tablespoons rose water

½ cup dark raisins

½ cup golden raisins

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup dried figs

1 cup dried prunes

½ cup almonds, blanched

1 cup water

Soak the pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts in separate
bowls of cold water for at least 3 hours or as long as

Peel the pistachios and walnuts by rubbing them
between your palms, and return to the water.

Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small
saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar has
dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rose
and orange-blossom waters. Set the syrup aside.

Rinse the dried fruit under cold water and place in a
large serving bowl. Drain the pistachios, walnuts and
pine nuts and add them, along with the almonds, to the
fruit mixture. Pour the syrup over the mixture and
stir well. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or as long
as overnight.

Serves 6 to 8.



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