In the mood for comfort food? 5 delicious Ramadan soup recipes
Soup, a traditional dish at Iftar, adds variety to every table during the holy month of Ramadan.
This year the holy month of Ramadan falls in the summer, making fasting a tough task for Muslims, who abstain from food and drink until sunset.
As the body loses liquids during the fast, Muslims need to rehydrate themselves after Iftar to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Soup, a traditional dish at Iftar, adds variety to every table during the holy month of Ramadan. With its many different types and flavors, it’s not only a delicious tradition, but also offers many health benefits.
Starting with soup at Iftar will replenish the fluids lost in your body while fasting during the day. It also prepares your digestive system for the rest of the meal and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. In addition, soup is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are essential for the body, especially during Ramadan as it stays for a long period of the day without food.
The following are the most recommended soups for Ramadan and replenishing nutrients to the body that have been lost while fasting.
In Ramadan, lentil soup is to be served almost every day for a whole month on Iftar tables. It’s the official soup of Ramadan for Palestinians and Mid-Easterns who celebrate the holy month.
Lentil is main ingredient for many authentic Levantine dishes. It's believed to be one of the oldest cultivated legumes in the region.
Having a quick look at its nutritional facts, lentils are rich in fiber, protein, and vitamin C and low in calories which makes it a super healthy and veggie friendly option.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup red lentils, thoroughly washed
- 2 cubes vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- 1 table spoon cumin
- 1 tea spoon turmeric
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
- Parsley for garnish
- In a pot over medium heat, sauté the chopped onions with olive oil until lightly browned.
- Add lentils and stir with onions for a minute or two (roasting lentils before cooking gives them extra flavor).
- Add vegetable stock and 6 cups of water (or you can add 6 cups of homemade chicken stock).
- Cover the pot and leave it under low-medium heat for about an hour or until lentils are very tender and creamy.
- Now after having them cooked, add cumin, turmeric, salt to taste, and juice of half a lemon.
- Blend the whole mixture using an electric blender to make a coherent and creamier soup.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Chicken soup is a perfect start for a Ramadan Iftar evening meal. Outside Ramadan the soup would make an excellent homely starter especially if you have some leftover chicken stock and breast meat.
• 1 pound of chicken pieces
• 2 medium onions – grated
• 1/3 cup of vermicelli
• 1/3 cup of canned chickpeas (if using dried chickpeas they have to be soaked in water overnight)
• 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon of smen (ghee) - or substitute with butter
• 1 large pinch of cinnamon
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 egg yolks
• 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 1.5 litres of water (6 cups)
1. In you cooking pot, add the oil, smen, chicken, onions, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover your pan and cook on the chicken on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
2. After 5-10 minutes, add 1 litre (4 cups) of water to the chicken. Cover you pan and let the chicken cook on high heat until done - which will take around 30 minutes.
3. Once the chicken is cooked, add 1/2 litre (2 cups) of water, the vermicelli, and the canned chickpeas to the chicken. Cover your pan and let all the ingredients cook for another 5 minutes.
Note: if using dried chickpeas (soaked in water overnight) you have to add them in step 2 with the chicken.
4. Add 1/3 cup of the soup to the egg yolks and beat the mixture with the parsley and the lemon juice.
INDONESIAN CHICKEN SOUP
This is a wonderfully flavored yellow soup base, often served with boiled quail eggs and chicken meat.
Originated from Indonesia, this dish is popular among many Muslims for Iftar as the soup is thick and filling making it an appropriate dish to break the fast.
• 1.4kg whole chicken, cut into 4 pieces
• 2L (8 cups) water
• 2 stems lemongrass, quartered
• 4 kaffir lime leaves
• 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
• 3 French shallots, finely chopped
• 5cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely grated
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
• 100g pkt bean thread vermicelli noodles
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced
• 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered
• 65g (1 cup) bean sprouts
• 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
1. Place the chicken in a saucepan. Add the water, lemongrass, lime leaves, half the garlic and salt. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Transfer the chicken to a plate, reserving the poaching liquid. Cool slightly. Remove and discard the skin and bones. Shred the chicken. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
2. Use a mortar and pestle to pound French shallot, ginger and remaining garlic until a coarse paste forms. Add the cumin, ground coriander and peppercorns. Pound until peppercorns are coarsely crushed. Stir in turmeric.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the French shallot mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes or until aromatic. Add reserved poaching liquid. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Season.
4. Cook the noodles following packet directions. Drain. Divide among bowls. Top with the chicken and shallot. Divide the broth among the bowls. Top with egg, bean sprouts and fresh coriander.
Tomato soup is another one of a typical first course meal to break the Ramadan fast and is one of the most liked dishes in the Middle East.
It is also one of the traditional hearty soups, with the lentil soup, and a custom starter to Iftar among the Muslims.
• 4 large tomatoes halved and grated
• 1 green banana peppers finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 50 gram vermicelli (up to 70 g for heartier soup)
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 6 cups hot water
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp dry mint
• 1.5 tsp salt
1. In a pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it become slightly golden. Then add green peppers and paprika – cook stirring energetically for another 3-5 minutes until peppers soften.
2. Stir in grated tomatoes. Bring to a boil; cook covered for about 10 minutes until tomatoes become dark red. Mix tomato paste with 1 cup water using a whisk and add to the soup, let simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
3. Add remaining 5 cups boiling water, increase heat to high, bring to boil and then gradually stir in vermicelli. Let cook covered on the high heat for about 3 min. Turn the heat off, add dry mint and let seat covered for about 3-5 minutes before serving.
4. Suggestions for serving: sprinkle some crumbly goat cheese, or grated cheddar, or croutons with olive oil, sesame seeds, black pepper and thyme. Another amazing thing about this tomato soup is that because of the vermicelli it thickens over time: if you cool it down and refrigerate overnight then the next day you could dilute it with hot water, boil, adjust salt and spices.
Mushroom soup is great for Ramadan or quick family meals because they come together in no time and can always be made ahead. There's no meat that will get over cooked or veggies that will get mushy.
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 medium size onion
• 2 crushed garlic cloves
• 1 and 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
• 4 cups of chicken broth
• 2-3 celery sticks
• 1 medium sized carrot
• 1 tbs of parsley
• 2 tbs flour
• salt and pepper
1. In a medium deep pan, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until onion becomes yellow. 2. Add mushrooms and stir for 2 minutes.
3. Add celery and carrots and stir.
4. Add parsley, broth, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and leave for about 15 minutes.
5. In a small saucepan, melt remaining butter.
6. Add flour stirring constantly to avoid making any clumps.
7. Add 1 cup of soup liquid over butter and flour mixture and whisk well until consistent.
8. Strain the mixture and pour back in soup pan. Whisk soup well until consistent. Leave to cook until soup starts boiling and thickening. Take off heat and serve immediately.
9. You can add 2-4 tbsp double cream after you take off heat to add taste to the soup.