Ramadan kareem everyone! It’s a time of intention, patience, discipline and compassion (especially after you get through those first few days of caffeine headaches…).
This is my first Ramadan in an Islamic country. While I miss being away from my family and my mom’s legendary iftars, I’m looking forward to certain accommodations that are made for those fasting:
This one is mostly due to geography, but reasonable fasting hours! Breaking fast at 6:45 is not nearly as difficult as 8:30 (in Chicago)
Even though this doesn’t pertain to me so much right now, but…shorter working hours. Those fasting are only expected to work 6 hours a day.
Fun nighttime activities. There was a LOT I felt like I was missing out on in Chicago, especially in the summer. All those awesome street festivals were pretty difficult when refraining from food and beverage, but in Dubai, there’s actual EVENTS for iftar and suhoor, and the daytime is pretty quiet.
The overall schedule just shifts, including my gym class schedule, making workouts MUCH easier to attend.
And so much more I’m sure I’m going to learn.
Ramadan was never meant to be practiced in solitary confinement, which is sometimes what it felt like when living on my own. While I did learn the value of community in Chicago, I anticipate it being much different being in a society that is at least aware of people practicing.
Even though we refrain from it during the day, food plays such an important role during Ramadan. There is a plethora of cuisine only served during the holy month, whether it be for one’s loved ones or when providing for those less fortunate.
It wouldn’t be a start to Ramadan without talking about lentil soup. Soup is such an important part of Ramadan, no matter how hot or cold it is outside. After your body has deprived itself all day (and is probably feeling pretty tired), there’s nothing like easing your stomach into a meal with a comforting bowl of soup.
This recipe uses the technique of the traditional brown lentil soup but uses yellow lentils instead. Brown lentils are earthier and retain their texture much more than yellow lentils. I really love the creaminess of the yellow variety and their bright flavor. My mom started making this instead of the brown version a couple years ago, and she hasn’t looked back. I’m sure you won’t either once you try it! It’s warm, comforting and zesty. The addition of Aleppo pepper paste adds a mild heat and nice complexity, but feel free to leave it out if you don’t have it on hand.
Serve the soup with crispy pita croutons and lemon wedges. It’s sure hard to write about food when fasting! I can’t wait to eat more of this tonight!
If you give this recipe a try, don’t forget to put it in the comments of the post and tag #omayahcooks and @omayahatassi on Instagram.
Yellow Lentil Soup
This hearty, flavorful soup comes together so quickly. Serve it with pita croutons and lemon wedges.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 c chopped parsley
1 c yellow or red lentils
Diamond Crystal kosher salt, about 5 tsp divided (half if using table salt)
1 Tbsp Aleppo pepper paste or flakes
2 lemons, quartered
- Add olive oil, onion, carrots, potato and 2 tsp kosher salt to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and parsley. Cook until fragrant, about another minute. Add lentils, 6 c of water and 3 tsp kosher salt (only 1 if using table salt). Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until lentils have opened, about 20 minutes.
- Puree with a hand blender or transfer to an upright blender in batches. Serve with pita croutons and lemon wedges.
- Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Reheat before serving.