In recent blogs I’ve gone to great ends to convey the there’s a lot more to Ramadan than fasting… Contrary to the Western imagination there’s actually quite a lot of eating that goes on, too. After sunset it is time for iftar, a foodie feast of the most extravagant variety (at least it is for us Moroccans!). However, as it is for most cultures, the naturally result of such a food intensive celebration is cooking far more than one can actually consume. As it is with the British Christmas and the American Thanksgiving, leftovers are the by-product of Ramadan’s iftar feast.
There remain a couple of extra layers imposed on the Ramadan leftover situation that aren’t typically present in Western foodie extravaganzas.
Firstly, despite the fact that all Moroccans can’t wait to get their salivating palates on the tasty iftar treats in store after sundown, the truth is that fasting shrinks your belly and you simply can’t consume as much as you would like. Indeed, the maxim ‘our eyes are bigger than our bellies’ is particularly relevant during this period. Beyond this fact, Moroccan hospitality is all about the grand spectacle of excess, meaning that even when it isn’t Ramadan we put far more food on the table than we actually require! Therefore, a Moroccan Ramadan creates loads of leftovers!
This is convoluted by one further element – throwing food away is ‘haram’. Muslims will know well what this Arabic term means – but for the non-Muslims among us, ‘haram’ means it is forbidden under Islamic law. As a result, this puts extra impetus into the Moroccan’s desire to make the most of her/his leftovers! Besides which, isn’t it just really bad to waste food? Bad for the Earth? A waste of money? Just bad? Everybody, regardless of their religious and/or political views should – hopefully – be able to agree on that!
Well, if general ‘good-will’ doesn’t convince you that leftovers are preferred to food wastage, maybe this will: Moroccan food tastes even better the next day as time in the fridge lets all the spices further penetrate the meat/potato/veg they are seasoning to make them even more scrumptious!
Given the multitude of reasons to embrace leftovers, Zayane would be remiss in its duty as a leading light on Moroccan cuisine in London if it didn’t teach its customers how to make the most of their Ramadan leftovers.
Joe and I would like to share with you one of our simplest – if most delicious – recipes: Iftar Leftover Sandwiches! We always have some leftover roast chicken – or other meat – during Ramadan and I always have some sautéed onions, garlic and peppers to hand, too. I simply deep-fry some aubergine discs and throw all the ingredients into some pita bread and – voila – iftar is sorted! If you celebrate Ramadan this will become your go-to iftar dish when you have copious leftovers or just don’t feel like whipping up a huge meal after a day of fasting. If you are not Muslim, this is just a delicious simple dish!
If you have any questions about this recipe, just let me know by contacting me on Instagramor Twitter(or even while you’re dining at Zayane!). If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the leftover meat with a fried egg or leftover potatoes.
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my Ramadan menu, please do so… it is amazing and customers love it!
Recipe for Ramadan Leftovers Sandwich
- Leftover meat, potatoes and or fried egg
- Sautéed onions, garlic and peppers
- Harissa sauce
- Pita bread or msemen
- Sautee the meat with the onion, garlic and pepper mix.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Add Harissa to the pita or msemen bread
- Add sautéed meat, onion, garlic and pepper mix to the bread