Sometimes we get so busy in preparing a heavy meal for Ramadan that we forget the most important recipe that makes a meal appetizing. It's the condiments! The side dish, the salads, the dips, the sauce or the chutney. When someone invites me for dinner or even when I eat out I find myself judging their culinary skills based on the types of condiments they provide.
Condiments are used as a side dish to enhance and compliment the main meal. Having condiments on the side not only flavours healthy food, some of the ingredients in such condiments will have energy enhancing elements, vital vitamins and minerals and aid digestion.
NATURAL YOGURT is a popular ingredients used in many different condiment dishes. Among the many health benefits of yogurt, some of the most popular qualities relate to the probiotic qualities of yogurt. This type of yogurt includes live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can help aid digestion and reduce bloating.
CHICKPEAS AND PULSES are another key elements that are high in fibre and protein, and they have a low glycemic index. This powerful combination can help control your weight as having as aprroximately 1/2 cup (125 mL) of chickpeas can keep you full and the need to indulge in other fatty food will be reduced.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES used in many condiment recipes contain nutritional qualities of these are endless. They contain vitamins and minerals that cannot be found in other types of foods or they may contain higher levels of these nutrients than other foods. They play a significant role in human nutrition. Having condiments made of fresh fruit and vegetables is another way to enjoy your 5-a-day.
Below are some condiments that perfectly compliment any iftar meals.
POPULAR CONDIMENT RECIPES
This Middle Eastern dish is made with roasted aubergines and tahini, (smooth paste made from sesame seeds and olive oil). It’s traditionally served as part of a mezze platter with warmed pitta. I added dill which gave this dip an added flavour.
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs roasted tahini (sesame paste)
2 Garlic cloves finely chopped
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tbs Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp chopped dill
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1.Preheat Oven to 200⁰C. Cut eggplants in half length ways and poke them with a fork. Brush each side with olive oil. Place on a baking tray with the garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for about 30-40 mins until very tender.
2.Once the aubergine is slightly cooler, scoop out the flesh into a glass bowl. Peel the garlic and place with the aubergine. Add the tahini, cumin, lemon juice and cayenne. Blitz with a hand blender.
Scoop in to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and serve with olives on the side.
RED PEPPER HUMUS
This popular dish needs no introduction and available in all supermarkets. But home-made humus has a taste of freshness that shop bought ones cannot compare with.
1 red pepper
1 tin chickpeas
1 clove garlic
juice of one lemon
1 tbs tahini
1 tsp olive oil
1. Cut the pepper in 4 and de-seed. Put under a hot grilled until the skin feel off (approximately 10 minutes)
2. Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor.
3. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
4. Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional). Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate
For a spicier hummus, add a sliced red chili or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.
THREE BEAN SALAD
1/2 tin red kidney beans (drained)
1/2 tin white kidney beans
1/2 tin haricot beans
4 x cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1 tbs honey
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
In a large bowl, mix the beans, chopped tomatoes and parsley.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.
Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.
TOMATO AND RED PEPPER SALSA
100g cherry tomatoes,
2 garlic cloves ,
1 bell red bell pepper
1/2 red onion chopped
1 tsp malt vinegar
2 tsp chopped herbs (parsley, corriander or mint)
salt to taste
drizzle of olive oil
1. In a non-stick frying pan drizzle a little olive oil and put on medium heat. Place all the ingredients except for salt and herbs in the pan and saute until the tomatoes are slightly scorched and softened.
2. Place all the ingredients on a chopping board and chop roughly with a sharp knofe. Place in a bowl, add the chopped herbs and salt and mix well.
This dish can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature
MANGO AND PAPAYA SALSA
1 large ripe mango
1 medium ripe papaya
juice of 1 lime
1 lime zest
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
1. Peel, core and finely slice the mango. Peel, de-seed and finely slice the papaya.
2. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients except for the sesame seeds. Mix well. Sprinkle with the roasted sesame seeds and serve chilled.
HOT TAMARIND SAUCE - PERFECT FOR SAMOSA
This is a classic tamarind dipping sauce for all the traditional delicacies like the samosa, pakora, spring rolls or even kebabs. Its quite spicy and can be made hot by adding extra green chilies. I charcoal the onion and the garlic for a smoky flavour.
1 tbs tamarind, soaked in 1 cup hot water
2 clove garlic
4 cherry tomatoes
2 green chilies,
1 tsp chopped coriander
1tbs tomato ketchup
2 tsp peri peri chili sauce
sprinkle of chaat masala
1. Allow the tamarind pulp to soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes and once it softens use you hand or table spoon to break up the pulp.
2. Strain the tamarind mix through a sieve into a bowl.
3. Take the onion and garlic and burn on the open fire on your hob until the skin slightly char-coaled.
4. Chop the onion, garlic, green chili, tomatoes and coriander and place in the tamarind mix.
5. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. sprinkle with chaat masala for the extra kick.