Photo: Yvonne Maffei
During Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, I really look forward to the quiet and peaceful time of sunset. It’s when we quietly take a few moments in personal prayer and break our fast. When the sun goes down, it’s time to enjoy something sweet — typically a few dates — followed by something quick and savory, just before joining one’s family in the Maghreb (sunset) prayer.
Steering Clear Of Deep-Fried
To start off the evening meal (Iftar) I love bite-size morsels stuffed with vegetables or meat, but I’m not fond of deep-fried, heavy foods, particularly after many long hours without eating.
I’m not alone in this, either, and many Muslim households offer their favorite versions of these lighter snacks: Moroccan briouates, Turkish rolled bourek , Middle Eastern sambusik, Latin empanadas, Indian samosas and Asian spring rolls. Some might be made with phyllo or fresh dough, others with rice paper wrappers.
A Stretchable Dip
Along with the wide variety of stuffed appetizers gracing our Iftar table this month, I will also include some sort of dip or sauce to serve on the side. This cilantro and mint yogurt dipping sauce is one of our favorites because it goes well with so many different things. Its’s also very stretchable; if you’re running out of dip and want more, just add more yogurt!
Cilantro And Mint Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
- 1/4 bunch fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Blend ingredients in a food processor for around 30 seconds.
- Pour into a bowl and serve next to your favorite appetizers for easy dipping.