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Food for Fasting

Food for Fasting

Issue 71 August 2010

As the month of Ramadan approaches, Fatema Zehra finds the essential  ‘fast-foods’ to keep you going throughout the day.


Photography Steven Lawson



Barley Dossa



  • 128 g Rice 

  • 85 g  Barley

  • 128 g black gram lentil 

  • Salt for seasoning

  • sesame oil – as required



  • Soak the rice, barley and black gram lentil overnight or at least for eight hours. 

  • Grind the black gram lentil separately first and then the rice and barley together with water. 

  • When the batter is smooth, mix the black gram lentils and the rice barley batter together.

  • Add the salt and let the mixture rest in a warm place for approximately eight hours.

  • When the batter rises, mix gently, adjusting the water consistency as required. 

  • Using a ladle, pour some of the mixture onto a flat frying pan.  Pour sesame oil around the sides and leave on a low to medium flame. Turn to brown on both sides. 

  • Once cooked, remove from pan and serve with chutney.



Naan o paneer sabzi



  • 400 g feta cheese, cubed

  • 500 g mixed herbs (parsley, coriander)

  • 120 g radish

For the bread

  • 128 g all purpose flour

  • 384 g whole wheat flour

  • 1 sachet active dry yeast

  • 590 ml water

  • 1 ½ tsp salt

  • oil – for handling dough


  • Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast in 60 ml of warm water; add 360 ml of the remaining water and the salt. 

  • Pour the yeast mixture into the centre of the flour and gradually work in. 

  • Beat with your hands for 20-30 minutes, gradually adding in as much of the remaining 180 ml water as the dough will take

  • Preheat oven to 230C and place griddle on the centre shelf to preheat for 10-15 minutes; when hot, lightly oil.

  • Turn the dough out onto an oiled board, oil your hands and divide the dough into six parts, rolling each piece into a ball. 

  • Roll out each ball as thinly as possible with an oiled rolling pin and prick all over the surface with a fork.

  • Take the round of dough and stretch it a little across the backs of your hands, and place dough on to the heated griddle.

  • Close the oven and cook for one minute, then pat down dough to prevent bread from puffing up. 

  • Bake until surface of bread is bubbly for three minutes, then turn bread over and cook two minutes more. 

  • Remove bread from oven and wrap in a towel. 

  • Do not allow rolled dough to rest before baking; prepare just before putting in oven. Allow oven temperature to reheat before starting another. 

  • Serve with the feta cheese, mixed herbs, walnuts and radishes.

Nutritional Guide



Barley is a complex carbohydrate and contains eight essential amino acids. Eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat. 



In addition to containing vitamins and quality proteins, cheese is a very good source of calcium. Calcium helps build strong bones and fight against osteoporosis. Although the high calcium content of cheese is a well-known fact, it also contains 15 essential nutrients that help keep you healthy.



Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including essential amino acids and are a vital source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world. Lentils are also one of the best vegetable sources of iron.




Porridge with nuts & dates



  • 50g porridge oats 

  • 350ml milk or water, or a mixture of the two 

  • 2 tbsp nuts of your choice – almonds, walnuts

  • 2 tbsp dates

  • Honey to serve


  • Put the oats in a saucepan, pour in the milk or water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt.

  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time and watching carefully that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  • Leave to stand for two minutes before eating. 

  • To serve, pour into bowls, and drizzle with honey and top with chopped dates and walnuts or almonds. 


Nutritional Guide



Oats are a good source of magnesium, selenium, manganese and phosphorous. Oats are also a good source of vitamin B1 and dietary fibre. They are primarily known for their benefits in lowering cholesterol, but are also linked to heart disease prevention 

and weight loss.



Bananas are rich in fibre and potassium, which replenishes the body’s electrolytes. It also contains other minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus in large quantities.


Dates contain 22 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sulphur, calcium, potassium, protein and fibre. Dates are low in calories, cholesterol free, and contain no sodium.



Stuffed peppers with masala lentils



  • 690 g red lentils 

  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated 

  • 2 tbsp oil 

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 

  • 4 red bell peppers

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 tsp tomato puree

  • 2 onions, chopped 

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 

  • 2 green chilies 

  • 1 tsp salt



  • Rinse lentils and soak for 30 minutes.

  • Place water in pan and add a teaspoon of salt. Add lentils and bring to boil, simmer for 30 minutes until soft. 

  • Drain lentils and keep aside. 

  • In a saucepan, add the oil, onions, garlic and chilies and cook until soft and golden brown. Then add the chopped tomatoes and puree.

  • Stir in the ginger and coriander powder. Add the lentils to the mixture, and cook for 10 minutes on slow heat. 

  • Add the fresh coriander and prepare the peppers. 

  • Cut off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds.

  • Brush the outside of the peppers with oil and place on a well oiled baking tray.

  •  Stuff the peppers with the lentils and replace the tops.

  • Bake for 20 minutes at 180C.

Caramalised bananas and Roti



  • 325g fine wholemeal flour /chapati flour 

  • 1 tbsp oil 

  • 170/250ml water approx 

  • flour for dusting

For bananas

  • 55 g caster sugar

  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

  • 1-2 tbsp hot water

  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced

  • a knob of butter


  • Mix flour and oil in a bowl and rub lightly. Add water gradually and knead it at the same time until a soft dough is formed. Cover and leave it for 10 minutes. 

  • Divide the dough into 12 to 14 small portions. Dip one portion at a time in the plain flour and roll it with a rolling pin on the board, dipping it in the dry flour frequently to prevent sticking. 

  • In the mean time, heat a griddle pan and put the rolled roti in the pan. Cook one side for 20 to 30 seconds, turn it over and then cook the other side. 

  • Now remove the pan and put the roti on a high flame for few seconds and soon it will puff up. 

  • Using a tong, turn the roti over and wait for few seconds until brown spots appear this side. 

  • Remove from fire and put it on a kitchen towel. Repeat the process with rest of the flour balls. 

  • Heat the sugar, vanilla essence and water in a pan, until it forms a caramel. 

  • Add the banana slices to the pan, shaking to coat. 

  • Add the butter to the pan and heat for another one to two minutes.

  • Serve the caramelised bananas with the fresh hot roti.

Baked apples with medjool dates



  • 4 bramley cooking apples

  • 100 g unsalted butter

  • 100 g medjool dates, finely diced

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

For the sauce

  • 100 g eating apples

  • 100 g bananas

  • 50 g blackberries

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp clear honey

  • 50 g caster sugar

  • 200 ml water

To serve

  • icing sugar, to decorate

  • clotted cream


  • Preheat the oven to 180C

  • Remove the core from each apple and run the tip of a sharp knife around their circumference to prevent them from bursting while they cook. 

  • Using 15g of the butter, grease a 23cm square ovenproof dish that will fit the apples comfortably. 

  • Place the remaining butter in a blender or food processor with the dates and brown sugar, blend to a thick puree and use to fill the prepared apples. Arrange the apples in the buttered dish.

  • Bake for 45 minutes to one hour until the apples are completely tender but still holding their shape. Cover the tops of the apples with small pieces of foil if they start to brown too quickly. 

  • To make the sauce, heat the diced apple, banana, blackberries, lemon juice, honey, sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes. 

  • Transfer the sauce to blender, blend to a puree and pass through a sieve. Leave to cool and keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

  • To serve, transfer the apples to a bowl and spoon around the chilled sauce. Decorate with a good dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of clotted cream. 


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