Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims in which they fast from sunrise to sunset, and Iftar (breaking the fast) is a time to rejoice, give thanks and enjoy the food. In Ramadan, people eat many different foods depending on where they come from. It's usually different from their meals the rest of the year and is special.
Traditional Arabic dishes take centre stage in many Qatari and Arabic speaking households and create a lively ambience during Ramadan. Most people break their fast with dates and laban (a yoghurt-based drink) followed with soup, sweets, and a big meal a few hours later, but each household also has its own Ramadan traditions.
Since we are in Qatar, we must mention some of the popular must-try dishes that people in different Qatari households eat during Ramadan and you must try at least once in order to fulfil your experience of Qatar.
Without trying the dishes we've mentioned below, your experience in Qatar just won't be complete.
Shorba is like a soup that's served as an appetiser during Ramadan and is a very popular dish for opening the fast. It's usually made of chicken or meat and oats slow-cooked in broth to a point where the oats are almost indistinguishable and the chicken or meat falls off the bone. Shorba is a rich soup because of the chicken or meat and light because of the oats in it.
You can also find Shorba in different restaurants like Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Muglat Harees Al Waldah, Cafe Easair, Majboos Al Walaida and Shorba Cafe.
Harees is another very popular Arabic dishes that you will find on many Qatari Iftar tables. It's made with ground or beaten wheat which has been soaked overnight, and chicken or meat. It has a porridge-like consistency after it's been cooked. Some people put everything in the pot together, while some people cook the wheat in salty water for a few hours and then the chicken or meat is added. It's further cooked till the chicken or meat is soft, tender and falls off the bone. The meat is then pounded to a think consistency and added to the wheat mixture. Most people also add cinnamon and cardamom for an enhanced taste and flavour. Harees is served by pouring some Ghee (clarified butter) over it for extra flavour!
If you want to make Harees at home, check out the recipe. You can also find Harees in different restaurants like Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Muglat Harees Al Waldah, Cafe Easair, Basta 23, Hareesna, Majboos Al Walaida and Alharfey Public Kitchen.
Thareed is a popular Arabic dish that is made from big pieces of lamb or beef cooked in a thick sauce made from tomatoes and tomato paste, Vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beans, parsnips are added, making it a stew-like dish. When served, the Thareed is placed on bread (khubz) that's cut up into pieces and soaked in the stew. This makes the bread soft and more flavourful.
Check out the recipe of Thareed - a vegetarian twist to a traditional Qatari dish here. You can also find Thareed in different restaurants like Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Muglat Harees Al Waldah and in Souq Waqif's open area where women sell home-cooked food (due to COVID-19 restrictions, at the moment, they aren't there).
Machboos is Qatar's national dish and is extremely popular with Qataris and expats here, and can often be found on the Iftar table. This is a rice-based dish and is served with chicken, meat or even prawns. It has a rice aroma and flavour which come from the special spice mix, bay leaves, paprika and cardamom that is added to the rice when cooking. Traditionally, it's served on a huge platter and everyone eats directly from the platter.
You can find Machboos in different restaurants like Cafe Easair, Basta 23, Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Majboos Al Walaidah, Muglat Harees Al Waldah, Alharfey Public Kitchen, Al Manchab and in Souq Waqif's open area where women sell home-cooked food (due to COVID-19 restrictions, at the moment, they aren't there).
Mathrooba is popular in Qatari households, especially in Ramadan. It's made of chicken that's slow-cooked with mashed beans and drenched in a buttery and creamy porridge made with wheat, onions, tomatoes, ghee, and special spices. The result is a pasty mix with a mix of different flavours that combine to form a Qatari household Ramadan staple.
You can find Mathrooba in different restaurants like Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Muglat Harees Al Waldah, Café Easair and in Souq Waqif's open area where women sell home-cooked food (due to COVID-19 restrictions, at the moment, they aren't there).
Luqaimat, which can be translated as ‘bite-size’ in Arabic, are one of Qatar’s most favourite sweet treats and are often found in Qatari homes at tea time and during Ramadan. Luqaimat are sweet dumplings made of flour, yeast, cardamom and saffron that are whipped up into a soft and smooth batter and deep-fried till they are a nice golden colour. These balls of delight are crunchy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Since there is no sugar in the actual dumplings, they are drizzled in or dipped in a sugary, honey or date syrup to make them sweet and served with Karak tea or Arabic coffee.
If you want to make Luqaimat at home, check out the recipe. You can also find Luqaimat in different restaurants like Luqimat, Luqimaty, Al Aker Sweets, Afghan Brothers Restaurant, Muglat Harees Al Waldah, Café Easir, Gharafa Automatic Bakery, Chai Halib and in Souq Waqif's open area where women sell home-cooked food ((due to COVID-19 restrictions, at the moment, they aren't there).
Umm Ali is actually a very famous Egyptian dessert, but since it found its way into Qatari households, it's become a big hit and a huge part of Ramadan traditions. Umm Ali is one the sweetest Arabic desserts; this delicacy is made with baked puff pastry which is soaked in a mixture of milk, raisins and nuts. It is best served hot and sprinkled with more nuts and raisins.
You can find Umm Ali in different restaurants like The Atrium at Sheraton Grand Doha and Karaki.
Basbousa, or otherwise known as Hareeseh, is a popular Middle Eastern sweet dish that looks similar to a cake. It is prepared using cooked semolina that is soaked in either plain syrup or rose water. Popularly, coconut is added to the dish to supplement the taste. Sometimes, nuts (preferably walnuts) are used for garnishing the dessert.
You can find Basbousa in different restaurants like Al Aker Sweets, The Eclair Kitchen and in Souq Waqif's open area where women sell home-cooked food (due to COVID-19 restrictions, at the moment, they aren't there).
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