Keep it light with Bateel’s iftar set menu

Café Bateel offers up a satisfying iftar meal. (Photo supplied)
Updated 09 June 2018
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Keep it light with Bateel’s iftar set menu

DUBAI: Now that a few weeks of Ramadan have passed, the rich food at iftar parties might start taking its toll on your system. Enter Café Bateel, which is serving up an iftar set menu that combines modern Middle Eastern flavors with European inflections in fresh new ways.
The served-to-the-table iftar begins with dates, of course, followed by a soup course, in which you can choose between a traditional lentil soup or an innovative quinoa and chickpea option.
Quinoa also features in the sharing starters in the form of a (very virtuous) quinoa tabbouleh and a quinoa and halloumi salad with Ligurian olives — a dish in which the pomegranate seed garnish doesn’t quite do enough to offset the heavy saltiness of the other ingredients, but is still enjoyable. Their take on the jirjir salad, a regional classic which is updated with the pairing of parmesan and date balsamic, works well, as does the beetroot hummus served with crudités and labneh.
So far, so healthy! The mains are definitely heartier and more indulgent, but still manage to stay on the right side of the nutritional scale. A melt-in-the-mouth sticky braised lamb, while a seasonal staple, doesn’t feel quite so decadent when paired with the ancient farro grain, which is made into a risotto with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and chickpeas. A more traditional risotto with a variety of mushrooms makes for an umami-laden option for vegetarians.
The third main course — all are served sharing-style — features a beautifully flaky grilled salmon on a bed of quinoa with asparagus, peas, zucchini, and a dried lemon and za’atar sauce.

Those who want to stay on the diet track can stick to the fruit platter for pudding, but it would be difficult to resist the temptation of the Bateel dessert selection on offer, especially the more-ish qahwa ice cream which is served with a brownie — skip the baked goods if you must, but don’t miss this ice cream!

Iftar is available at all Café Bateel outlets across the GCC, priced at $33 per person.


Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

Ta’ateemah includes a variety of dishes such as dibyazah, red mish, chicken and lamb stew and bread. File/Getty Images
Updated 19 June 2018
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Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

  • Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread
  • The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it

JEDDAH: Ta’ateemah is the name of the breakfast feast Hijazis enjoy on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. It is derived from the Arabic word, itmah, or darkness, because the dishes served are light, just like midnight snacks.

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Fitr to feast after fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. But it is called Al-Fitr from iftar, or breakfast when translated to English, which is a meal Muslims do not get to experience during that month.
The first day of Eid is a day where they finally can, and they greet the day with joy by heading to Eid prayers and then enjoying this traditional meal.
Amal Turkistani, mother of five from Makkah who now lives in Jeddah, told Arab News all about a special Eid dish.
“The most famous dish is the dibyaza, and making a dish of it is a work of art that I can proudly say I excel at. Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread.”
She revealed that dibyaza is not a quick meal — it is usually prepared a day or two before Eid with the ingredients simmered to reach the correct liquid thickness.
No one can trace the origins of dibyaza — it remains a mystery. Some people claim it originated in Turkey, while others attribute it to the Indians.
A number of women who are famous for their dibyaza agreed that it is a Makkawi dish. This marmalade dish was developed and improved, with tiny details to distinguish it.
The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it.
Turkistani said sweet shops sell 1 kg of dibyaza for SR50 ($13), competing with housewives who make their own.

 

“I think it is always tastier when it’s homemade because of all the love that goes into making it. It’s also a wonderful way to greet your family and neighbors with this special dish that you only enjoy once a year.”
Her younger sister, Fatin, said: “My siblings always have Eid breakfast at my place, so it’s up to me to prepare the feast. My sister spares me the exhausting dibyaza-making, so I prepare two main dishes: Minazalla, which is a stew of lamb chops with tahini and a tomato chicken stew.
“She also serves what we call nawashif, or dry food, like different types of cheese and olives, pickled lemon, labneh, red mish — a mixture of white cheese, yogurt and chili pepper and halwa tahini,” Amal said.
Mohammed Ibrahim, 23, from Makkah, told Arab News: “It always feels unique to have minazalla and nawashif during Eid, and not just because it is followed by the Eidiyah.”

Decoder

What is Eidiyah?

It is money elders in the family give to the youth to celebrate Eid and to congratulate them on completing Ramadan fasting.