Coming back to this segment after four months… 🙂 I am more relaxed now. There is no pressure on me to feature a blogger every month and ever since I have done this, I feel that it is the best thing I have done. It is not that there aren’t any bloggers who fall in my favorite category. There are many in fact, who I would like to come over and grace my space, but I thought I should give time for myself and have them around slowly, InShaAllah…
With Ramadan coming, I thought it is apt to feature a Muslimah blogger in this space. And all I could think of this time was Shanaz, who blogs at “Love to Cook“. I got hooked onto her blog quite recently, maybe a year or so. She has some amazing recipes, and is now more into making crisp videos that are doing quite well of You Tube. I was even more excited to know that she is a fellow UAE expat, but staying in a city which is quite far away from where I am. With the MFB challenge, our interaction increase further and I am sincerely happy to have found one more beautiful friendship through blogging, Alhamdulillah. All it took me was one question and immediately I got a “yes” from her. I was sure she would do her best and give me what would be apt for the upcoming month.
Meat based pastries are very well known across the Middle Eastern and North African countries. Sambouseks and manakesh are most sort after snacks, even with the expat population. Even though I have never tried making them at home, I relish them on and off when I am out. I am glad she has bought with her a dish that I totally adore having. I was wondering, next time when I invite for a guest post, I have to ask them to courier me the actual dish for tasting as well… 😉 *wishful thinking* 😀 So let’s move on to her post… By the way, do check out her amazing post done on make-aheads for Ramadan…
This is the first time I have been invited as a guest in Rafeeda’ s blog. I sincerely thank her for giving me this opportunity to be a part of her Ramadan Project. She is a person with a very kind heart and full of life. She hosts a challenge for a group of bloggers known as ‘Muslim Food Bloggers’ and I am part of that group. When we first started, very few of them participated…but as the months went by we could see many others participating too. I would like to appreciate and thank her for her efforts, in spite of her hectic daily schedule of managing home, work, family, and her blog.
I am Shanaz Rafiq, the blogger behind ‘Love to Cook’ and this is my 6th year in the Food Blogging world. I am originally from Mangalore, Karnataka but have been in gulf countries for most part of my life. I believe in maintaining a healthy diet during this blessed month with no ‘deep fried’ or unhealthy food which I have been practicing myself and with my family since many years now.
Ramadan is a ‘one-month’ retreat for our complete spiritual and physical detoxification. There are people who spend a bomb on such kind of retreats and go into seclusion to some sophisticated resorts. But we Muslims are highly blessed as we can get all the benefits of such retreats in the comforts of our own home with our family.
Ramadan is the time to re-bond with our families which somehow gets neglected in our daily busy schedule. During iftar, all the members get together and share a wholesome and healthy meal making it even more special by performing salaah together in ‘Jamah’. I can just write endless paragraphs about this month and the list of blessings it has are endless.
Every country has their own way of preparing the iftar in their traditional style. Being brought up in a gulf country, Arabic style food happens to be my favourite. And one such dish which I love to prepare for iftar is ‘Lahm Ajeen’. This recipe is adapted from 196flavors and it has an exclusive collection of Arabic recipes.
Lahm Ajeen also popularly known as ‘Sfiha’ is an Arabic style of meat pizza but without cheese. Every Arab country has its own version of making Lahm Ajeen and the toasted pine nuts add that special flavour which makes it more unique.
Serving Size: 10 small pizzas
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Baking Time: 20 minutes per batch
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes approx (or little more)
1 cup = 250 ml capacity
For the dough
- 2 cups plain flour (maida)
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup warm water (might require few more tablespoons of extra water)
For the mince stuffing
- 500 grams mutton or beef mince
- 1 medium size onion finely chopped
- 1 medium size tomato finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika powder
- 1 tablespoon all spice powder (or garam masala powder)
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
- More chopped parsley for garnishing
- Prepare Dough: In a small bowl, mix together – warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, add plain flour, salt, oil and mix roughly so that oil is combined well with the flour. Slowly add yeast mixture to the flour and combine well to get a soft smooth dough. It will take about 10 minutes of kneading if done by hand and 5 minutes of kneading in a stand mixer. Keep the dough in a greased bowl to rise and double in its size for about 45 minutes in a warm place. Till then you can prepare the mince stuffing.
- Stuffing: Heat a saucepan and add finely chopped garlic followed by olive oil. When garlic starts to sizzle and slightly change its colour, then add finely chopped onion. Fry till onion just turns soft.
- Then add the mince and cook on high flame for 2 minutes. Lower the flame and add green chilies, paprika powder, all spice powder, black pepper powder, and salt. Sauté everything, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes of cooking add chopped tomato, chopped parsley, and chopped coriander leaves. Cook on high flame for 5 minutes and dry all the remaining juices so that the mince mixture is totally dry. Remove the cooked mince in a flat plate and cool.
- Dry roast the pine seeds in a pan till it turns light brown and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a baking tray with oil.
- Take the dough and knead again. Divide the dough into 10 to 12 parts of lime size. Roll out each part into a disc (a circle) and place it on a greased baking tray. Then take a spoonful of mince mixture and spread it over the disc followed by roasted pine seeds.
- Drizzle few spoons of olive oil on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve hot with hummus and salad.
Note: After rolling out the dough into medium size disc or roti…place on baking tray first and then place the stuffing on it, or otherwise you will not be able to lift the disc after adding mince. Baking temperature and time differs according to each oven, so keep checking after 10 minutes of baking.
Shanaz has been really generous and lavish with her words towards me, I feel… 🙂 JazakAllah Khair for this delicious post that came by my way… It was lovely having you around and hope to keep this relationship alive as long as it is destined to be, InShaAllah… 🙂
Do stay tuned for posts related to Ramadan, which I will be doing this week, InShaAllah… till then, have a great weekend!