10 Delightfully Festive Ramadan Treats You Can Cook at Home

10 Delightfully Festive Ramadan Treats You Can Cook at Home

Stay home and create the smells, flavours and sounds of Ramadan in your very own kitchen with Ili's 10 delightfully festive Ramadan recipes

Ah, Ramadan. At this time of the year, hotels and restaurants offer buffets spreads and the hustle and bustle of Ramadan bazaars gets the whole of Malaysia and those who visit excited.

This year however, things have changed for all of us. With many practicing social distancing due to the coronavirus, staying at home has become an absolute necessity. And out of it come new ways to enjoy food with our family at home. We can hustle and bustle in the kitchen, creating the smells, tastes and sounds of Ramadan in our very own home. So here are my top 10 must-try Ramadan delights which you can cook from home for your family and loved ones this Ramadan.

1. Ikan Bakar: Sweet Sambaly Grilled Fish

There are many versions of Ikan Bakar and in Malaysia, during Ramadan, this is the one thing I look forward to eating every Year. The perfectly grilled fish is wrapped in banana leaf with a sweet, savoury and spicy sambal. A lot of people think it's difficult to cook this at home but watch my video here to find out how easy it is to make!

2. Kuih Keria: Sticky Sweet Potato Doughnuts

When I was a child, I would help my grandmother mash the sweet potatoes to make these delicious sweet potato doughnuts, or Kuih Keria. I look forward to making this every Ramadan, remembering my late grandmother tips, like making sure you oil your hands as you mould the sticky potato doughnuts into rings and to ensure your oil is hot before frying by testing it with a wooden chopstick. Something I found helpful too: Stick the wooden chopstick in the hot oil, once it bubbles the oil is hot enough to start frying the doughnuts. 

3. Tauhu Sumbat: Crispy Soft Stuffed Tofu Pok

There are a few different types of Tauhu Sumbat in Malaysia. Tauhu Goreng Sumbat are deep fried firm tofu cut in half and then stuffed with fresh vegetables like cucumber, carrots and bean sprouts and served with a spicy and tangy chili sauce. There are also Stuffed Tofu Pok that is filled with mashed potato and vegetable filling like the ones I made here. Best served with Thai sweet chili sauce or siracha or even kicap manis, a thick sweet soy sauce.

4. Bubur: Try a Classic Comforting Chicken Porridge

Porridge is something Malaysians love to eat during Ramadan. We have it both for Sahur, the pre-sunrise meal, and also when we break fast in the evening. There are so many versions of bubur or rice porridge that we enjoy in Malaysia. Everything from Bubur Lambok, a spice infused beef and rice porridge, to your good old Chicken Porridge that I love because it fills you up and is so nourishing especially during the Ramadan fast.

5. Ayam Masak Kicap: Malaysian Fried Soy Sauce Chicken

Who doesn't like a good old fried chicken? This has got to be the most popular Ramadan bazaar dishes in Malaysia. Every stall at these food festivals has their own version of fried chicken. Usually a trade secret, Malaysian fried chicken can range from tasting like curry spices, to salted egg, to soy and can also be extremely spicy. Whatever the recipe, when marinated well and fried to perfection, this is the all-time family favourite. You can find my recipe here.

6. Sup Ekor: Hearty Oxtail Soup

A good hearty bowl of soup that nourishes you from the inside out is something we all crave. And, nothing beats a hearty bowl of soup that has been slow cooking for hours like- with tender meat that falls off the bone, a well-balanced blend of spices and hearty vegetables like potatoes and carrots too. The trick to a really good broth for your Sup Ekor is to really take your time when cooking it. Skim off any access scum that rises to the top so you are left with a clear and clean tasting broth. Start preparing and cooking this dish early in the day so you can enjoy it during the break fast. Find my recipe here.

7. Cucur Udang: Deep-Fried Prawn Dumpling

These deep fried fluffy pillow-like dumplings filled with fresh vegetables and prawns is like the ultimate breaking fast go-to. The trick to making really good Cucur Udang is to ensure that you are not skimming on the filling. When cooking this at home, use two types of prawns, small and big ones and ensure the batter is seasoned well. When frying it, make sure the oil is hot so you get that lovely crispy exterior and fluffy pillow-like interior. Serve it hot with a side of chilli dipping sauce. Just so good!

8. Popiah Goreng: Savoury Vegetable Spring Rolls

Another crowd pleaser, my late grandmother used to make Popiah Goreng so we didn't realise we were eating vegetables as children. Sheets of spring roll wrappers are filled with an array of vegetables wrapped tightly into rolls. They are the perfect snack to make in advance because you can freeze them and then deep fry them frozen just before serving. Another simple recipe for you to enjoy!

Related article: 10 Tastiest and Easiest Ways To Make Vegetables

9. Begedil: Spiced Potato Patty

Begedil is usually served as a side dish with soto, mee sup or sup tulang. It's a very famous side dish in Nasi Padang. Begedil is easy to prepare in advance and is one recipe that can help you utilize any leftover grilled fried chicken. Everything is shredded and added to a mixture of mashed potatoes, chopped spring onion, garlic and seasoning. The trick to a good begedil is to not overcook your potatoes (so par boil is best) as your patties will become too soft for the frying later. Find my easy recipe here.

10. Tamarind Chilli Beef Stew (Assam Pedas Daging)

There are many different types of Asam Pedas in Malaysia. Asam Pedas Ikan (fish), ayam (chicken) and daging (beef). In my family we like to cook this for special occasions especially during Ramadan. This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare but it results in a scrumptious, mouth-watering dish that keeps you going for more. And an old folks tale says that if you drop a metal spoon into boiling beef your meat becomes tender a lot faster! 

What's Ramadan? 

To me, Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims as we spend one month of the year observing the fasting of food, drink, bad habits, thoughts and practices. And the breaking of our fast with food and drink at dawn is also a time for family and friends to get together to enjoy an array of delicacies, like my favourites as you've read, and more here.

Ili Sulaiman is a Malaysian chef. She has several shows of her own, including Home Cooked: Malaysia; Family Feast with Ili, and authored the hot-selling cookbook, For the Love of Food. Follow her on all socials @ilisulaiman.

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