Ramadan is a time for prayer and introspection. It is also a time when people get together with family and friends over a meal.

Every week this month, tabloid! will bring you recipes as well as culinary tips from well-known chefs in the UAE to make your sohour and iftar meals healthy and interesting.

Today we feature recipes provided by Ali Al Burji, head chef of the Al Mijana Lebanese restaurant at Le Meridien Dubai. The restaurant serves authentic Lebanese food in an ambience reminiscent of a typical rural Lebanese home.

"Lebanese cuisine encapsulates the essence of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours. This cuisine does not boast of complex reductions and sauces but focuses instead on herbs, spices and the freshness of ingredients. The meals are full of robust, earthy flavours with an abundance of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables and seafood," says chef Ali.

"Lebanese cuisine is healthy and appeals to all palates because most of the dishes are either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil. Butter or cream are rarely used, except in a few desserts and vegetables are usually eaten raw or pickled," he adds.

Chef Ali shares with us some popular Lebanese recipes that are perfect for an iftar meal as they are light, nutritious and easy to prepare.

Hot starter: Seafood kibbeh


  • 300g hammour fillet
  • 150g shrimps
  • 100g calamari
  • 100g wheat, crushed
  • 25g coriander; fresh
  • 10g garlic
  • 100g onion chopped
  • 10g salt
  • 10g cumin powder
  • 10g coriander powder
  • 10g white pepper
  • 300ml corn oil


Finely chop the hammour fillet, calamari and shrimps.
Fry with half of the chopped onion to prepare the stuffing.
Wash the crushed wheat and mix it with the salt, spices, onion, garlic, seafood and coriander to make a dough. Place the stuffing in the dough and shape it into balls.
Fry and serve with lemon wedges.

Fattoush salad Ingredients:

  • 2 pcs Arabic bread
  • 250g tomato
  • 200g cucumber
  • 75g radishes
  • 50g spring onion
  • 50g fresh mint
  • 50g water grass
  • 50g green pepper
  • 150g lettuce
  • 25g sumac powder
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 20ml apple vinegar
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 15g garlic
  • 10g salt
  • 10g parsley leaves


Break toasted bread into small pieces and keep aside.
Wash and chop the tomato, cucumber, radishes, spring onion and lettuce.

Wash the water grass leaves, parsley and mint leaves.
Place all ingredients except the bread in a bowl and mix together.

Garnish with additional toasted bread and serve right away.

Main course: Chicken in tannoor bread


  • 200g boneless chicken
  • 30g cucumber pickle
  • 20g garlic paste
  • 5g salt
  • 5g mixed pepper
  • 10g lemon juice
  • 5g dry thyme
  • 100g tannoor bread


Grill the chicken on charcoal, cut into small slices and mix with pickle slices, salt, pepper, lemon juice and dry thyme.
Cut the tannoor bread into slices, and stuff it with the garlic paste and chicken, wrap and grill it again on the charcoal.
Cut into small rolls and serve hot.

Chef's tips

Ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
It is best to use Tannoor bread that is two to three days old, as it holds the chicken better than fresh bread.

If using frozen chicken, defrost it by moving it from the freezer to the lower compartment of the refrigerator. Direct defrosting from freezer to open air is not recommended. Never refreeze defrosted foods.

Dessert: Sahlab


  • 5 cups of milk
  • 1 tbs sahlab powder (Salep)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs orange blossom water
  • 1 tbs rose water
  • Cinnamon powder


Heat 4 cups milk and the sugar in a saucepan and bring
to the boil.

Dissolve the sahlab powder in 1 cup of cold milk.

Mix the sahlab into the boiling milk and blend with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from heat and add the blossom and rose water.

Pour the mixture in serving cups, sprinkle with cinnamon powder and serve with dry unsalted sesame sticks (kaak).

Telling tales

Almaz by Momo London is celebrating Ramadan in a traditional way - with the help of a storyteller.

The North African restaurant, located on the third floor of Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates, will feature the legendary epics of Rashid Al Halak, also known as Abu Shadi the Hakawati.

Al Hakawati is a Syrian term for this enthralling combination of poet, actor, comedian, historian and storyteller. Using his own annotated manuscript text and a few costumes and props, Abu Shadi breathes life into the epics of Arab literature.

The Hakawati's craft is sadly a dying one, and Abu Shadi is the single remaining regularly performing hakawati in Damascus, and possibly in all of Syria.

This month, the heroic epics from early Arab history make up his repertoire. Enjoy the adventures of Al-Zahr Rukn Al Din Baybars, a 13th Century Mamluk sultan and the romance of Antar Ibn Shaddad, a pre-Islamic hero and poet, a story of chivalry, courage and heroism in battle.

Abu Shadi will be telling his stories daily from 9.30pm-12.30am in the Almaz salon.

A special iftar menu will also be available, featuring delicacies from North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, mezzes and Harira soup to traditionally break the fast. Moroccan pastries and tea, Arabic sweets, and shisha will complete the experience.

Contact: 04 409 8877.

Tent with a view

Like the view of the growing Burj Dubai? Here's your chance to get up close and personal with Emaar's Ramadan tent in Burj Dubai Boulevard.

Open after iftar from 9pm to 3am daily, the Ramadan tent can accommodate up to 250 people at a time and features an elegant modern décor with traditional motifs and design elements enhancing the true spirit of Ramadan. The tent opens to the breathtaking skyline of Downtown Burj Dubai.

The tent has large windows that enable visitors to take in full views of Burj Dubai and The Old Town Island developments. Friends and families can gather to enjoy a unique Ramadan environment with food and games. Oud and other traditional music instruments will add to the festive feel.