For those who don't have a front-row seat to Ramadan in a Muslim home, fasting for more than 12 hours without food or water might seem like the biggest ordeal. However, ask a mom, aunty, sister or the occasional feminist father (who believes in sharing the workload at home) and they'll tell you that coming up with 30-plus recipes - for dishes that are worthy of breaking the fast with - is just as taxing a task.
Iftar in any Muslim home during this holy month is nothing short of a grand affair; apart from bringing the family together, it is one of those things that everyone - irrespective of whether they're fasting or not - looks forward to. To add flourish to that excitement, we have curated a list of recipes - a healthy balance of new-age cooler, regional staples and easy-to-make sweet treats - that'll all add a much-needed zing to your Ramadan celebrations at home. While also ensuring that whipping up iftar doesn't become a hair-raising chore. Take a look.
1. Watermelon Cooler
Who doesn't love a 'watermelon sugar high' after a long day of fasting? What's cool (all puns intended) about this watermelon cooler is that it also comes with the added freshness of rose. The natural sugars and sprightly nature of the drink is sure to energise you during iftar. Try it out.
2. Thread Chicken
Shake things up this Ramadan with our thread chicken recipe, where the juicy awesomeness of chicken, kick of spices and crunchy bite of crispy noodles come together to give you the coolest snack you can possibly make for your guests. Planning an iftar party? You'll love this one.
3. Malabar Chicken Biryani
We're throwing it back to the time when we joined forces with India Gate to whip up some of the best rice delicacies. Now, anyone who loves iftar, knows that the spread is not complete without a robust rice dish. Ditch the regular biryani for this flavour bomb version from the South that combines the delicate balance of spices and culinary magic of Malabar.
4. Badam Kheer
Sourced painstakingly from an 80-year-old Lucknowi chef, who guards his recipes like his treasure, this badami kheer is nutty, rich and the perfect dessert to treat yourself to this Ramadan. Fasting or not, you must absolutely add it to your iftar table.
5. Mango Cream
While no one observing the 30-day-fasting during Ramadan is happy about it coinciding with summers, (no thanks to the scorching heat), the good part about this overlap is that observers will get to sink their teeth into juicy mangoes through the month. Make the most of the crème de la crème of fruits with this mango cream recipe.
6. Cheese Corn Tikki
In Islam, sitting down for iftar is considered sunnat, or a habitual, traditional practice that adds up much like a brownie point. Not that anyone needed it, given that any iftar spread is like a motley of snacks, and who doesn't love that? We're helping you add variety to your Ramadan kitchen with this cheese and corn tikkis that are filling and fun, in equal measure.
7. Chocolate Dates
Speaking of Sunnat, the other thing that is considered auspicious during the month of Ramadan is breaking your fast with fleshy dates, just like the Prophet would. But, to make things fun, we're donning our dates in a thick coating of chocolate to make it a verifiable treat!
8. Jamun Kala Khatta
A Ramadan relic - Roohafza is a must-have on most iftar platters, but we're suggesting you try something new. Quench your thirst this summer with chef Sadaf Hussain's jamun kala khatta, a tangy-sweet spritzer of sorts that combines fresh, pitted jamun with briny black salt and the freshness of mint.
9. Cheese and Jalapeno Samosa
Keema samosa to iftar is what plum cake is to Christmas, one hardly complete without the other. But if you know about the food cultures in Muslim homes, you'll know that most families enjoy a quick iftar, and go full out with dinner where tons of meat delicacies are consumed. Looking to mix things up? Try this vegetarian samosa - made with cheese and jalapeno - instead, and save the meat for later.
10. Keema Aloo Tikki
Minced meat sauteed with spices and fresh herbs is pressure cooked and folded in with mashed potato to give you this crispy, snackable tikki. Add it to your iftar spread and mop it with a refreshing green chutney, or roll it up inside roti or pita for a quick fix after your fast.
Suman Quazi is a Writer, Host and the Food Editor with India Food Network and Start2Bake. She believes that while food is cultural, societal and intellectual, it is also deeply personal and is keen in contributing towards a dialogue around food in India that's meaningful. Her work has appeared in leading Indian publications like Midday, Living Foodz, Zee Zest, Deccan Chronicle, 101India and DailyO.