Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink. On the contrary, the fasting period also has a social function. Families and friends gather to break the fast after sundown and pray together, chat and eat. These meetings are no longer just happening privately, but are increasingly taking place in large festival tents. Elaborately decorated, equipped with all the comforts and with a social programme, the scene is set for the formal meal. The buffets also include international delicacies from savoury to sweet, with and without meat and of course the obligatory dates.
If you take a look at a typical buffet, which usually caters for several hundred guests, you can see an endless variety of dishes: deep-fried pumpkin with yogurt tahini, grilled quail with sumac, chicken in the tajine, grilled kebabs, filled filo parcels with yogurt dip, schawarma and homemade bread. For dessert, muhallabieh, atayef und knafeh are served among other things. And some of them are even freshly prepared in front of the guests. “The fast breaking or Iftar in a festival tent is becoming more and more popular,” says Simon Parke-Davis, Managing Director at RATIONAL Kitchen & Catering Equipment Trading FZCO, as he has learnt from his day-to-day work. “There are now many Iftar tents as a result and the operators must think of ways to attract customers. Both in terms of atmosphere and food variety.” Producing large quantities, night after night, with a consistent quality and over many hours can quickly become a challenge with traditional cooking appliances. So more and more chefs are moving away from conventional appliances such as the tajine towards modern tools such as a combi-steamer, which can grill, steam, pan fry and boil depending on the cooking mode.
A combi-steamer mainly works with heat, steam and the combination of both. The SelfCookingCenter, a combi-steamer by Rational, goes one step further and adds a good amount of intelligence to these basic functions. This means, for example, that multiple dishes can be cooked at the same time or throughout the day and even large quantities of grilled food can be uniformly browned. Another benefit is that a recipe that has proven effective is saved and can be retrieved again and again at the push of a button. What’s more, Rational’s networking solution ConnectedCooking can be used to transfer the recipe to as many other SelfCookingCenter units as required. This guarantees the same result on all units, regardless of who is operating the SelfCookingCenter. According to Simon Parke-Davis: “There is of course a lot of initial scepticism as to whether a cooking appliance from a German manufacturer can be suitable for Arabic cuisine. But this quickly disappears after the first use, when the chefs see the time savings and know that the appliances have Halal certification.” The fact that the SelfCookingCenter also has the Arabic language setting also impresses them. This means that preset recipes, modes and help functions are provided in their local language. This makes this combi-steamer easy to use, virtually without any errors. This in turn means less stress in the kitchen, and an equally delicious and relaxed Iftar for guests and staff.
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