Ramadan has already begun – a month of fasting and self-restraint. But this does not mean abstaining from good food entirely.
In spite of the focus on fasting, food plays a key role in Ramadan. Light fare should be the emphasis, as the body needs gradual sustenance rather than a huge feast. Although dates, fruits and sherbet are often served first to replenish the system, soups should be a staple on the iftar table, offering nourishment without glutting the body.
4 large onions, peeled and sliced
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup boiling water
6 medium potatoes, pared and cubed
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp pepper
6 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 lbs raw shrimp, shelled and divided
3 tbsp snipped parsley or coriander
In a Dutch oven, sauté onion slices in hot butter until tender. Add boiling water, then potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Do not drain.
Meanwhile, heat milk with cheese until cheese is melted and milk is hot, but NOT boiling. Add shrimp to potatoes and cook until they are pink (3 minutes).
Add hot milk and cheese mixture. Heat, but do not boil. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Cheesy cauliflower soup with roasted cashew nuts
80g cashew nuts, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium potato, diced
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
850ml vegetable stock
115g Cheddar cheese, grated
Melt the butter in a large lidded saucepan and brown the chopped cashew nuts for about 1 minute.
Stir in the onion, garlic and potato, cover and sweat for 10 mins, shaking the pan occasionally.
Add the cauliflower and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the cauliflower is tender.
Remove from heat and blend in the cheese, allow to cool slightly.
Blend half of the mixture and then stir this through the rest of the soup so that you can actually see pieces of cauliflower and nut.
Reheat very gently without boiling so as not to toughen the cheese.
Mexican chicken corn Chowder
1½ lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp butter
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup hot water
½ tsp grounded cumin
2 cups cheese, shredded
1 (16 ounces) can cream-style corn
4 ounces canned chop green chillies, undrained
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped
Add butter to large stockpot or Dutch oven. Brown chicken, onion and garlic over medium heat. Dissolve bouillon in cup of hot water. Add to chicken. Add cumin. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add half and half, cheese, corn, chillies and Tabasco. Cook only until the cheese is melted. Stir in tomato. Serve hot.
Betki or salmon chowder
1 can (7½ oz) salmon or mandarin (betki)
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
½ tbsp thyme
¼ tbsp black pepper
½ cup chopped broccoli
1 can (13 oz) low-fat evaporated milk
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn kernels, thawed
Drain salmon into shallow bowl, reserve liquid. Flake salmon with fork.
In small saucepan over low heat, sauté celery, onions and garlic in butter.
As vegetables become soft, add carrots, potatoes, reserved liquid, chicken broth and seasonings.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add broccoli and cook for additional 5 minutes.
Add salmon, corn and evaporated milk. Heat through.
Serve in shallow bowls.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Coconut curry salmon chowder
1 lb fresh salmon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic herb bread seasoning
1 yellow onion
8 stalks celery
2 can coconut milk
½ tsp Thai green curry paste
1 cup fresh coconut
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh peas from the pod
1 cup fresh spinach
Sprinkle fish with some salt and garlic herb bread seasoning and steam fry. Or, if you prefer, use some grape seed oil and fry until cooked through but still moist. Cut into small bite-size pieces and set aside.
Cut the onion, carrots, and celery into bite-size chunks, and put into a soup pot and steam until bright and chewy. (Do not overcook)
Add the coconut milk, green curry paste, vanilla, and stir into mix. Add salmon.
Take 1/3rd of the whole ingredients and puree in blender and then return to the soup for a thick colourful base. Add fresh peas from the pod and/or fresh spinach towards the end if you like, and warm before serving.
Chicken broth in a slow cooker
½ cup butter
2 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups mild cheddar cheese
2 cans white potatoes
Cook onion in butter until tender. Add chicken broth, water, milk, and potatoes if you desire. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and add Worcestershire sauce, and cheddar cheese.
Stir until completely melted. Add white flour for a thicker soup and sprinkle cheese on top. Serve hot.
Aromatic broth with vegetable
1 stalk lemon grass
4 cups cubed chicken meat
1 cup chicken or fish stock
½ cup sliced cilantro leaves
1 serrano or jalapeno chilli
½ tsp grated lime zest
lime juice to taste
1½ tbsp salt
pepper to taste
3 oz peas
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
4 medium radishes cut in pieces
1 green part of 1 scallion
2 tbsp whole cilantro leaves
Cut lemon grass in 2-inch pieces; bruise lightly. Combine with stock, cilantro stems, chilli, and lime zest in saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes (halfway through, taste and remove hot pepper, if desired, or leave in longer for more heat). Strain. (Solids can be re-used with more cilantro to flavour another batch of broth.) Add limejuice, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil. Stir in peas and carrots and boil until just tender- about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in radishes, scallion, and cilantro; bring to a boil.
Beef and potato soup
1 lb ground beef/chuck
7-10 potatoes (peeled and sliced into about 1 inch cubes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans beef broth
1 16 oz sour cream
1 chopped onion
Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, brown beef and onions. Drain. Add cream of mushroom soup, broth and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low/medium. Add sour cream. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and add to pot. Let simmer until ready to serve. This makes a very thick soup but it is delicious!
Red pepper and spicy tomato soup
1 large red pepper, halved and deseeded
½ tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small chilli, deseeded and chopped
200ml tomato juice
500ml chicken or vegetable stock (or stock cube crumbled in the same quantity of water)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley or thyme damper bread, or other bread to serve.
Grill the pepper halves skin-side up under a high heat until the skin blisters, then peel away the charred skin and chop the flesh. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, chilli and chopped grilled pepper together and cook with the lid on until soft. Add the tomato juice and stock, stirring until well combined. Simmer gently with the lid on for about 20 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Pulse in a blender or processor to a coarse puree, keeping some consistency. Pour into warmed bowls and top with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkling of herbs.