“As chefs, we know how difficult it can be to maintain a profitable footfall to our restaurants at Ramadan, with many regular customers opting to break the fast at home with friends and family. Our menus need to appeal to as wide a range of other potential diners as possible. And while traditional favourites will always be popular, this year more customers will want their dishes to be health-conscious and environmentally sensitive, too.
From devastating Australian bush fires to the long-term threat of water shortages in our region, protecting the world around us is increasingly important to many guests. They’ll expect you to use sustainable ingredients where you can — crops that are readily available, need little water to flourish and are perhaps grown locally. These include many varieties of beans and pulses, such as cowpeas and lentils, nuts, tubers like sweet potato. Vegetables like okra, too, which are great for Ramadan buffet options like Okra Hush Puppies. You’ll find many more environmentally friendly ingredients in our free Future 50 Foods report.
Meat-free still going strong
The number of guests who want to cut their meat consumption, motivated by environmental or animal welfare concerns, is rising steadily. Many of our Future 50 Foods, make excellent, protein-rich meat substitutes, including tofu and buckwheat. Our helpful e-book will help you craft an unforgettable Ramadan, with several vegan recipe ideas, including Pumpkin Kebbeh and baklava.
They’ll still want plenty of rich, fast-busting items on your menu, but guests will appreciate having highly nutritious ingredients, such as kale and spinach, in some of your Ramadan recipes. You may normally associate pumpkin with Thanksgiving but the versatile veg is high in Vitamin A, has no cholesterol and is excellent on pizzas and in salads. Or add an elevated hummus to your Ramadan buffet. Our Tofu Hummus and Savoury Granola recipe contains flaxseeds and walnuts and is richer in protein, vitamins and minerals than a straight chickpea hummus and bread combination. People are increasingly counting their calories and carbohydrates. So try to cut sugar levels in your dishes, and offer menu items such as our Harissa & Honey Glazed Salmon. It uses carb-free cauliflower as the basis for its “couscous”.
Beyond the frying pan
Fatty, fried food is usually a big hit at Iftar, but try healthier ways of preparing Ramadan staples, such as baking samosas or roasting chicken.
Time for iced tea
Many guests will opt for iced tea, rather than sugar-filled soft drinks. Our Moroccan Mint recipe will be particularly refreshing during the warm May Ramadan nights.
With so many south Asian expats living in our region, dishes from the likes of India and Pakistan are increasingly mainstream and will go down well at Ramadan. They’re full of ingredients you’ve probably already got on your shelves, such as coriander and fennel, so experimenting with them shouldn’t require a big financial outlay. Try our Super Quinoa Pilaf & Chicken Tikka.
Filling Italian pasta dishes, perhaps with creamy or tomato sauces, will also be the choice of many diners after a long day’s fasting.”
Follow Chef David’s Ramadan suggestions and prepare a menu to wow your guests! Remember to focus on healthy, sustainable options with a variety of flavours. Satisfy your diners by honouring traditional dishes and seeking culinary inspiration from further afield.