Spice up your Iftar with waste-free dishes
For people observing the holy month of Ramadan, a fast is observed from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. Each night, the fast is broken with an Iftar meal - often a great spread of multiple dishes eaten with families and friends. Unfortunately there is evidence that this causes an increase in food waste - in Malaysia for instance, it’s estimated to go up by 25 percent during Ramadan. So what is the best way to prepare enough great food each day, avoid eating the same thing over and over, and keep food out of the bin? A good place to start is re-hashing leftovers and creating something completely new. With a little effort, a bit of kitchen trickery and some clever storage solutions, here are a couple of ways to repurpose and store your leftovers.
Cold rice that previously accompanied scrumptious tagines, biryanis, fish and meat might not look particularly appealing the next day but it can still make a delicious dish. Fry the leftover rice in a hot pan with a little oil until golden and crunchy, then combine with spinach leaves, hard cheeses, chopped dates and fresh coriander to make a wholesome and healthy salad for the next day’s Iftar.
If you find yourself with leftover cooked lamb, shred it into strips and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. The following day for the next Iftar meal, turn it into a crispy lamb dish by sauteing it with some veggies. Season generously and use the lamb to top warm bread (like pita, ekmek or lavash) spread with labneh, finished with pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta. Alternatively, layer the crispy meat with grilled aubergines, pine nuts and golden raisins for a substantial and wholesome side dish, or pile into the middle of a bowl of hummus and garnish with paprika and toasted sesame seeds.
Thanks in part to the humidity, bread tends to turn stale at an accelerated rate in many parts of the world. That doesn’t mean it needs to be thrown away though. Instead, turn dried-out flatbreads into breadcrumbs that can be frozen and used later for sprinkling over tagines and tabbouleh for the next day’s Iftar or Suhoor.
There is usually a plethora of vegetable-based side dishes during Iftar. Instead of tossing them in a bin they can be used as scrumptious fillings for samosas. Using phyllo pastry sheets, wrap the fillings in between the sheets and shape them into a triangle. These delicious samosas can be filled using any leftover ingredient be it vegetables, meat or fish! You can also easily mix leftover veggies into a tagine, curry or fried dish.
What's your favourite way of repurposing Iftar leftovers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!