5 treasured Ramadan recipes from South African foodies

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5 treasured Ramadan recipes from South African foodies

Though Ramadan is honoured through the daily fast, the meals at either end of the day can be very special. We asked several local foodies to share their most-treasured Ramadan recipes.

1. Faathima Manjoo, food stylist, recipe developer

What are some of your earliest food memories around Ramadan?

There are plenty – like the preparation before Ramadaan when my mum and both grandmothers would start the task of savoury making. As a young girl, I used to watch in amazement and enjoyed the atmosphere. It’s a month-long preparation and every day is a new item to make. My favourite part is frying or baking what they’ve prepared in the name of ‘taste testing’. It’s always in great anticipation of the auspicious month ahead. Every morning and evening in Ramadaan is so special.

Faathima’s Khitchro

This is a hearty, traditional meal, generally served at large family gatherings during Ramadaan and on cold days. This recipe isn’t only comforting but nourishing and fulfilling. You never eat this dish without feeling completely satisfied.

khitchroFind Faathima’s recipe for khitchro here.

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2. Farzana Kumandan, founder of Sprinkles and Spice Cooking School, author, newspaper columnist and radio host

What are some of your favourite dishes for iftar?

My favourite Iftar dishes are, boeber, soup, samosas and banana fritters. These dishes are all accompanied by beautiful memories that trigger all my senses. The smell of hints of cardamom in a boeber slowly simmering away was mixed with the smell of cinnamon sugar being rolled in hot banana fritters. If you listened closely, you would also hear hot samosas bubbling away, being fried to crispy perfection. Every sound and smell tugged on a hunger string!

Farzana’s lentil-and-butternut soup
This great-value vegetarian soup gets a flavour kick from whole cumin, red chilli and smoked paprika.

lentil and butternut soupFind Farzana’s recipe for lentil-and-butternut soup here.

Visit Farzana’s website here and follow her on Instagram.

3. Gadija Khan, caterer and founder of KaapseKos

What are some of your favourite recipes to make to break the fast?

One of my favourites is soup, and I often make one that cooks from the morning until the evening. It’s very slow-cooked with marrow bones so you get all the flavour out of them. Another favourite is daltjies and it’s quite funny because every household claims they made daltjies first! There’s always a competition, with everyone claiming their mom makes it better than anyone else’s and that theirs are the best. I guess it all comes down to preferences. The recipe I use is quite traditional and was one that my mom used. I like that it’s good for vegans and can be adjusted to add any veggies you like.

Gadija’s daltjies

Pronounced “dulchie”, these delectable bites also happen to be vegan. You can personalise the recipe by adding potato, corn kernels or even chicken or mixed veg instead of spinach.

daltjies chilli bites for ramadanFind Gadija’s recipe for daltjies here.

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4. Mohammed Adam, co-owner of Conscious Meat Merchants in Cape Town

What are the dishes you most look forward to during Ramadan and who does the cooking?

In all honesty, this is the hardest question you could possibly ask! My aunt often makes exotic soups, granny’s always making bhaji, my mom does the best sweetcorn and marrow fritters and my cousins make pumpkin fritters. I love it because the recipes are a mixture of modern and traditional. A non-negotiable is chicken biryani though, and this one, cooked on the fire, comes from my granny.

Mohammed’s biryani cooked over fire

This is my Granny’s famous biryani recipe. It always brings back memories of family, friends laughter and celebrations.

braaied chicken biryaniFind Mohammed’s recipe for chicken biryani cooked over the fire here.

5. Mohamed Mohidien, co-owner of Conscious Meat Merchants in Cape Town

What is your favourite thing about Ramadan and Eid?

It’s always the biggest celebration of community and I get so emotional seeing how everyone looks after everyone else. I’ve always loved the tradition of whatever you’ve made at home, you make an extra plate and you take it to the neighbours, there truly is an incredible sense of community. And when it comes to food, the mix of plates, from whatever the neighbours sent you, is wonderful. It’s a joyous time, but you also have an opportunity to remember your loved ones who have passed on, and that’s always been very important to me.

Mohamed’s Eid milk

This is traditionally served warm, although what I like to do for the hot summer months and once the Eid festivities are done, is to add in a scoop of ice cream and have it cold

eid milkFind Mohamed’s recipe for Eid milk here.

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Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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