The Best Kind of Dates
May 9, 2019 | Recipes
Dates are the quintessential staple for any buka puasa agenda. As these fruits are jam-packed with natural sugar and fibre, it assists in slowly restoring low blood sugar levels after a long day of fasting. While these are beneficial to health, it might not always be the most exciting of snacks. Luckily we have a few healthy, data-centred recipes for you to try out this Ramadan!
Chicken Tagine with Dates & Honey
Get the best of both worlds with this savoury and sweet dish! Its decadence is enough to satisfy even the most demanding of appetites. This dish goes well with couscous, rice, or even freshly baked bread!
1kg chicken thigh fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 thinly sliced medium (300g) brown onions
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1and ½ cup (375ml) chicken stock
1 cup (250ml) water
½ cup (85g) seedless and halved dates
¼ (90g) honey
½ cup (80g) blanched almonds, roasted
1 tablespoon freshly-chopped coriander
Firstly, cut the chicken into 3cm strips. Heat half the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the chicken in batches until browned, then drain them on absorbent paper. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and use it to cook the onions, garlic, and spices, while stirring. Once the onions are soft, return the chicken to the pan, then add stock and water. Cover it and let it simmer for an hour, then remove the lid and let it simmer for a another 30 minutes until the mixture has thickened and the chicken is tender. Stir in the dates, honey, and nuts, and sprinkle with coriander for a fresh touch!
Lemon Mascarpone-Stuffed Dates
Get fancy with this special buka treat that’s perfect to impress guests! These delicious tidbits are satisfying as both a snack to break fast, as well as a sweet palate cleanser after a meal to wash everything down with.
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon honey
Pinch of finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 large Medjool dates (about ½ pound)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
First, preheat the oven to 205ºC/400ºF. Combine the mascarpone, lemon juice, honey and lemon zest in a small bowl and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Next, make a slit in each date and remove the pit. Fill each date with 1½ teaspoons of the mascarpone mixture. Then, heat up the olive oil and cook the dates for about 30 seconds before turning them over. Transfer them into the oven and bake them for about 2 minutes or until the dates are heated through and the centres are slightly runny. After that, transfer the dates to a plate. Top it off with parsley and its ready to serve!
Dates & Walnuts Pancakes
We’re always in the mood for pancakes! If you’re opting for pancakes without the baking, this is the recipe for you. Also, as these fluffy delights are usually covered with other sweet toppings, dates act as the healthier substitute for the usually dense syrups and chocolates.
2 large ripe bananas, peeled and halved
½ cup walnuts, roughly crushed
5 Medjool dates, deseeded and sliced
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extract
1 rounded tablespoon almond butter (optional)
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil for cooking
To start, mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl, and add in the almond butter. Mix the eggs in and stir until it’s well combined, then add the remaining ingredients aside from the coconut oil and mix well. Next, heat up your frying pan with medium heat, then reduce it to low-heat once it’s hot and add coconut oil. Once it’s melted and spread over the base of the pan, add level tablespoons of the pancake mixture to your pan with enough space in between each pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden and you’re done!
Energy Dates Roll
Sometimes, all you need is a little treat that you can grab and go. As dates are naturally rich in Vitamin B, they can provide a good energy boost that’ll last you through the day! Here’s one to try out for a quick snack for the road.
1 and ¼ cup Medjool dates, chopped
⅛ cup almonds, chopped
⅛ cup pistachios, chopped
⅛ cup walnuts, chopped
⅛ cup cashews, chopped
4-5 wheat crackers, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon butter (or ghee aka clarified butter)
To begin, dry roast the nuts on medium heat till warm and then set aside. Next, melt a tablespoon of butter/ghee in a pan over medium heat and add the chopped dates. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes and stir at regular intervals until the dates’ sugar melts into a uniform mixture. Add in the roasted nut mixture and mix well, cooking it for a minute. Then, add in the crackers, turn off the heat. Mix well and set it aside, until it is cool enough to be transferred into a cling wrap or parchment paper. After that, mould it into a ball to ensure air bubbles are squeezed out, before shaping it into a tight log and refrigerating it for 15-25 minutes. Finally, cut the log into rolls and store them in airtight containers for a go-to snack!
Excited to try out these recipes for Ramadan? Head to your nearest Village Grocer to get your Medjool dates and don’t forget to earn double the BITES points while you’re at it. Selamat berpuasa!
Keep it fresh,
Your friendly neighbourhood grocer.