Get into the spirit of the Holy Month and cater for visiting iftar guests by mastering some classic regional dishes. We asked five Doha chefs to share their favourite recipes.
Braised lamb shank, dates and cardamom mashed potatoes By Ibrahim Hamam, executive Lebanese chef at Al Terrace Lebanese Lounge
Ibrahim said: ‘Lamb is the favourite meat of people in the Gulf and almost everyone loves it. Lamb is usually served at special occasions such as weddings, gatherings, family dinners and during the holy month of Ramadan. I have chosen lamb shank because it always offers a beautiful, tender and juicy meat full of taste. Then to add a nice local touch, I could not do better than use cardamom and dates, which just enrich the taste further.'
Ingredients (to serve two) • Two pieces of clean lamb shank with the bone • 300g of boiled regular potatoes • 100g of local Qatari dates • 100g button mushrooms • Two pieces of dried black lime • 160g of blenched baby carrots or regular carrots • 160g of blenched green asparagus • Two sticks of fresh rosemary • 40g peeled garlic • 100g of peeled onions • 1g saffron • 100ml of olive oil • 40g of butter • 40ml of fresh double cream • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
Method: 1. Marinate the lamb shank with salt and black pepper, then sear it in a hot pan with olive oil, adding rosemary, garlic, dried lime, onions and carrots. Sauté until the edges are crispy and then add one litre of water or stock. Allow it to simmer until the lamb is well cooked, approximately 80 minutes.
2. Mash the boiled potatoes with cream, butter, mashed dates and the cardamom powder, and keep it on the hot side.
3. In a hot pan caramelise the onions and baby carrots with salt and pepper.
4. Serve the braised lamb shank with the mashed potatoes and caramelised vegetables on the side. Al Terrace Lebanese Lounge, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels (4433 6666).
Kousa Mahshi By Ali Daas, oriental chef at Aramede
Ali said: ‘This is a typical dish from my home country of Syria, which is also famous in various Arabic countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and is always present at special occasions. It needs time and care to prepare this dish and give it the authentic scent and flavour. It's a typical comfort food that is passed from one generation to another.'
Ingredients (to serve four) • Eight lamb chops • One kg baby marrows (not cored all the way) • Half kg of brined fresh grape leaf
Stuffing • Half kg ground lamb (30 percent fat) • One cup medium-grain rice (ideally Egyptian, Italian or Turkish) • One teaspoon cinnamon • One teaspoon allspice • One tablespoon mashed garlic • One tablespoon dry mint • One and half teaspoon salt, or as needed • Half teaspoon black pepper, white pepper or paprika • Half cup lemon juice (more if needed) • One tablespoon tomato paste • Half cup olive oil (more if needed) • Water as needed (one or more cups)
Garnish • Yougurt
Method: 1. Season and fry the lamb chops for three minutes on each side. Set the pot aside and prepare the stuffing for baby marrows and grape leaves.
2. Mix all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl.
3. Core the baby marrows and fill them with one or two tablespoons of stuffing. If the baby marrows are extra-long, cut in half and leave 1.5 cm to allow for the rice to expand. Place the stuffed baby marrows at the bottom of the pot over the chops to protect them from bruising while cooking.
4. Stuff the grape leaves by placing a tablespoon of stuffing in the middle of each leaf and folding them gently into a cigarette shape. Make sure the leaves are folded tightly so they don’t break during cooking.
5. Place the stuffed grape leaves on top of stuffed baby marrows one by one.
6. Place a small dessert plate on the vegetables to hold them in place. Pour the olive oil, lemon juice and water into the pot, cover and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes. Let it rest for 30 minutes before uncovering and making sure the stuffing is fully cooked.
7. Serve warm or lukewarm with a bowl of yoghurt on the side. Aramede, Crowne Plaza Doha, The Business Park (4408 7777).
Kibbeh Safargalia By Mohamed Alo, sous chef at Majlis restaurant
Mohamed said: ‘This dish is very rich and it has many vitamins. It is also considered one of the most famous dishes in Syria because it contains many popular ingredients, it is very easy to make, and it has an amazing sweet and sour taste.’
Ingredients (to serve four) Lamb shank: • 400g lamb shank • 400g quince • 100g Arabic ghee • 5g salt • 3g white pepper • One litre Pomegranate juice • 15g dry mint • 25g garlic • 100g sugar • 15g corn starch
Kibbeh: • 100g white grout • 10g White onion • 100g Lamb loin mince • 5g Salt • 3g white pepper • 2g cumin • 100g cashew nuts • 20g Pistachio nuts • 20g Pine nuts
Garnishes • Pine seeds • White rice
Method: 1. Start by boiling the lamb shank for 45 minutes, and then remove from the heat and keep to one side while you prepare the dough, stuffing and sauce.
2. To make the kibbeh dough, put the grout in a bowl with some water and leave for half an hour. Cut the onions, add salt and pepper and cumin. Grind the grout and the onions and sprinkle some water to make the grinding easier, and repeat grinding twice. Add half the mince and mix well until the mixture becomes firm.
3. To make the stuffing melt some butter, add onions cut in small pieces and stir in the pan until the onion is well done. Add the rest of the mince and stir again until the mince is well done. Add salt, pepper, pine nuts, cashew and pistachios, and leave the stuffing until it cools down.
4. Make oval shaped balls of the dough and fill them with the stuffing. Fry the balls until golden brown and keep aside.
5. To make the quince sauce, wash the quince well and cut them into bite-sized cubes. Stir ghee, garlic, dry mint and the quince for three minutes. Add salt, pepper and the pomegranate juice and cook for a further 15 minutes until the quince is well done. Thicken the sauce with a corn starch and water mixture as required. Add salt and sugar to taste.
6. Put the quince sauce on a plate, add the kibbeh balls and the lamb shank to serve. Majlis Restaurant. Grand Hyatt Doha (4448 1234).
Darulziyafe Koftesi By Emre Gok, chef de cuisine at Agora
Emre said: ‘I selected this dish as it’s one of the easiest to prepare at home with simple ingredients that are available for everyone in any supermarket. It reflects the traditional Turkish taste of my homeland, and it’s also a good meal for iftar which is not heavy on the stomach after a long day of fasting. In addition it’s rich with a variety of ingredients that provides the body with the needed protein, vitamins and carbohydrates.’
Kofte mix ingredients (two servings) • 350g minced lamb leg • One big onion • 50g chopped parsley • Half tablespoon cumin powder • One tablespoon Turkish chilli flakes • Salt and pepper (to taste) • 150g crushed pistachio
Saj bread ingredients • 500g flour • Pinch of salt • Two egg yolks • One cup of water
Method: Kofte: Mix all the kofte ingredients together thoroughly, except the crushed pistachio. Make oval-shaped meatballs out of the mix, coat them with crushed pistachios and keep them in the fridge.
Saj bread: Mix all the saj ingredients together and make a stiff dough. Make small balls out of the dough and roll them onto baking paper. Dust the flour out, half cook the saj bread only, and then apply some oil on top of the bread.
Kofte: Roll the meat with the saj bread by applying some egg wash on the bread, which helps the bread to stick together with the meat when it’s cooking. Cover the meat with the bread, cut off the remaining edges of the saj and cover the kofte with cling film tightly into a cylinder shape. Store it in the freezer for four to five hours. Take it out of the freezer and cut it into round shapes. Sear it on a pan to finish defrosting and cook in a preheated oven at 200°C for six to seven minutes. Serve with tomato sauce on top and the roasted potatoes, butter sautéed baby asparagus and baby carrots on the side. Agora, Grand Heritage Doha Hotel (445 5555).
Fattoush By Ali Hadla, chef de cuisine at Al Liwan
Ali said: ‘The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to focus on bringing back a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Food plays a big role in celebrating the Holy Month, and Fattoush salads are an essential component of Ramadan meals. It is a fresh starter full of energising ingredients and very important elements to start with after a long day of fasting, and can be prepared at home as the ingredients are available in any supermarket.’