With almost a third of the holy month of Ramadan behind us, repetition will likely start to set in, especially when it comes to iftar dishes. I'm here to offer some ideas in the what-to-cook department and suggest some yummy, yet easy, recipes. Feel free to combine elements from this week's menu with last week’s or swap some dishes around, and let us know on Instagram what kind of iftar menu you like best by tagging us at @dailysabah.
The second three-course menu for Ramadan starts off with a creamy chicken soup called Saray Çorbası, continues with some stuffed zucchini and a side of crunchy börek and is rounded off with a not-so-traditional layered strawberry cup.
Chicken soup a la Ottoman
This soup is known in Turkish as “Saray Çorbası,” literally meaning "palace soup," and is said to originate from the Ottoman era. Let’s bring some royal flair to our tables.
Boil the chicken breast and leg together with the bay leaf, carrots and black pepper until the chicken is cooked through. Pour the now fragrant broth through a sieve into another pot and cut the meat into small pieces.
In a separate bowl mix together the egg yolk, flour, lemon juice and yogurt. Add about a glass of the chicken broth to this mixture, give it a good stir and toss that back into the chicken broth.
Add about half a liter of boiling water to the soup and stir until it starts to boil. Then add the chicken pieces and the salt, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off and serve!
To pep this up even more, you can serve this soup with a drizzle of melted butter seasoned with red pepper flakes. Not the friendliest to the hips, but the added flavor does not disappoint.
You can add up to three bay leaves to the initial chicken broth if you want a stronger flavor.
There are many ways to make stuffed zucchini, and there are ways to make it with maximum stuffing. We used bulgur in our filling, but rice will do the trick as well, though it will affect the flavor a bit.
Put the minced meat, bulgur, tomato and pepper pastes, finely chopped onions and seasoning into a bowl and knead it until it is well combined.
Cut the zucchinis into 2-3 centimeter thick pieces and scoop out the seeds along with some of the sides to make space for the stuffing. Stuff the zucchini with the filling. Put all the filled pieces into a pot of your choice and drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and pour some water into the pan, making sure it doesn't drown the zucchini. Let them cook for about 40 minutes with the lid on. Depending on the size and depth of your pan, you might need to add more water while cooking, just keep an eye on it. Once cooked, you can drizzle a mix of yogurt and chopped garlic over the stuffed zucchinis for added deliciousness before serving.
Not everyone is into garlic, so instead of drizzling the yogurt over it directly, it can be served in a small bowl on the side.
If the zucchini is having a hard time cooking through, or you want to be safe and want them to cook faster, poke them with a fork several times.
There are so many different kinds of börek in Turkey and the Middle East in general, but this one especially seems to be, at least to me, a Ramadan special. Maybe it is because of the pastırma, which is an air-dried cured beef with a heavily seasoned crust around it. However it is perceived, it is a delicious treat you need to try out.
Chop the tomatoes, pastırma and peppers into small pieces and mix them together with the grated cheese. Cut across each round phyllo pastry sheet, starting directly through the middle, to get eight long triangles. Put a bit of the cheese mixture on the wide end of the pastry, fold the sides and roll it up. Now whisk the egg a bit, place the böreks on a large plate and brush the egg on your pastries before rolling them in the bread crumbs. Fry them until golden brown and once done, enjoy! These taste best when they are hot or at the very least warm.
Depending on how big your phyllo pastry sheets are, you might need another egg and more bread crumbs to make this.
To make this a bit less heavy, you can bake them in the oven.
If you don’t like bread crumbs as a crust or just don’t want to bother, you can avoid this step. Many people make it without the crust. It all comes down to whether you like it or not.
You can make these beforehand and keep them in the freezer without adding the egg and breadcrumb mix.
Layered strawberry cups
This might feel a bit out of theme but considering that strawberries are in season, it would be a shame not to incorporate them into our small yet delicious menu here.
Whip up the heavy cream with the powdered sugar. Add the chopped strawberries as the first layer of our cup and add a few tablespoons of the whipped cream to cover it. The amount is up to you.
Mix the flour, starch and sugar in a separate bowl with a bit of the milk while you bring the rest of the milk to a boil over the stove. Add the sugary-flour mixture to it slowly, constantly mixing to get rid of lumps. You don't want the pudding to stick to the bottom and burn. When it starts to thicken, add the chocolate and turn the heat off once it is fully incorporated. Let the chocolate pudding cool off and add it over the whipped cream part carefully. Depending on how deep your cup is, you can add another layer of chopped or halved strawberries and another layer of whipped cream. Finish it off with some whole or chopped strawberries on top.
This might be a strawberry cup, but it can of course made with other fruit as well. You could even mix a few kinds of fruit for extra zing.
Drizzling some melted chocolate on the top as a final touch can make this cup look and taste even better.
Adding a wafer as an edible piece of decoration is fun as well. Let your creativity flow.
The order you stack this in doesn’t matter. You can experiment with it.