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Reconnect with Food by Rouba Shahin

Learn how our food creator from the Middle East whips up delectable savoury muffins for suhoor and chicken pies for iftar this Ramadan.

Suhoor: Zaatar and Cheese Muffins


  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 25 gram melted butter
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 400 gram feta crumbled
  • 125 gram halloumi cheese diced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves shredded
  • 1/4 cup chives chopped
  • 1 tablespoon zaatar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 3 cups self-raising flour sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 180°.
  • Whisk eggs and add all ingredients except for the flour and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Add flour and baking powder, and fold in until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tin. This dish is meant to be rustic, do not flatten the mixture once poured into the tin.
  • Rest for ten minutes and then bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.


Iftar: Musakhan Chicken Style Pie


  • 1 chicken cut into ¼
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium onions diced
  • 3 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon Bharat/Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season
  • 2-3 ready-made puff pastry sheets (thawed)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 50 gram unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (extra)


Musakhan Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Place the yogurt, cumin, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the yogurt mixture and combine well.
  • Arrange the chicken skin-side up in a baking dish. 
  • Roast in preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove, shred, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, place the oil in a frying pan, sauté onions on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions soften and are lightly golden but not caramelised.
  • Remove from heat, add the sumac, bharat, and chilli.  Mix well.
  • Combine the onion mixture with the shredded chicken.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Cut the potatoes in large chunks and cook in boiling salted water until tender and soft.
  • In a small saucepan heat, place the butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Blend the buttery milk mixture with the cooked potatoes and mash until smooth and creamy.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Pastry Filling

  • Grease the pan’s base and sides to line a 26-centimeter springform tin with puff pastry.
  • Place your springform tin over the pastry sheet and cut around the base.
  • Place the round pastry sheet inside the tin.
  • With the second pastry sheet, cut a long strip as wide as the rim of the tin and, place it around the edge of the pie tin.
  • Gently press the edges of the base and rim together with your fingers to seal. 
  • Spoon the filling into the pie tin.
  • Top with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with black sesame.
  • Drizzle with extra olive oil and bake in preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden in colour.