Traditional Ramadan Recipes from Around the World

Although fasting is a central focus of Ramadan, food still plays a big role in its celebration. Once the sun sets, Muslims break their fast with traditional dishes and drinks to refill their bodies.

With Ramadan quickly approaching, it’s time to plan for the different foods that will be prepared throughout the month. Here are some dishes from around the world that will help you plan your feast:

 

Turkish Style EggsTurkish-style-eggs-with-harissa-tomato-and-chargrilled-flatbreads

The Turkish meal Suhoor is a pre-dawn dish that’s perfect for starting your day.

Going all the way back to the Ottoman Empire, this dish has been served throughout history as an early morning food, which explains why Muslims would adopt it as a great choice to prepare for a day of fasting.

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 ½ cups of plain yogurt
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, yogurt and pinch of salt. Mix well.
  2. In a large saucepan or stockpot, combine the water, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and gently break the eggs into the water, spacing them well apart. Cook until the whites have set over the yolks, immediately remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on a serving dish.
  3. Melt butter in a small skillet or saucepan. Stir in paprika. Pour yogurt sauce over eggs and top with paprika butter.

 

Moroccan Lentil Soup3758174

This tasty soup is ideal for breaking your fast during Iftar, the evening meal.

Lentil soup is rich in proteins and iron, which gives your body the nutrients you couldn’t get throughout the day. Starting Iftar with soup warms your stomach and prepares it for the rest of the food you’ll want to eat throughout the night.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas), drained
  • 1 (19 oz.) can of cannellini beans
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions

  1. In large pot, sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, lentils, garbanzo beans, white kidney beans, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, garam masala, cardamom and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil for a few minutes then simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the lentils are soft.
  3. Puree half the soup in a food processor or blender. Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir and enjoy!

 

3383361_origIndian Mustard Fish

 

For a more substantial Iftar meal, try this super easy mustard fish recipe from India.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 5 green chile peppers, diced
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 pounds of salmon, cut into chunks

Directions

  1. Place the mustard seed and chile peppers in a bowl and mash together to create a fine paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onions until they’re golden. Mix in mustard, chile paste, chili powder, turmeric and salt. Stir in water. Place salmon in the skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and fish is easily flaked with a fork.

 

Egyptian Rose Leaves

ka7kDessert is an essential part of Ramadan, as well. These Egyptian cookies are the perfect end to your day.

This cookie goes back to the the time of Pharaohs and was baked for all kinds of celebrations. Now, it is widely used by Egyptian Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan. It’s commonly called Kahk al-Eid, “Cookie of the Feast.”

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of rosewater
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and rose fluid until fluffy. Stir flour and salt together, then mix in butter mixture. Dough will be soft. Chill several hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) Light grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Using 1/3 of dough at a time, keep rest of dough refrigerated, roll into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Place on cookie sheets and flatten with hand until approximately half of their original thickness. Imagine the flattened cookies as a clock. Make 2 slits, each 1/2 inch long, in the cookies at 10:00 and at 2:00. Pinch the bottom to form a petal “base”. Sprinkle with red or pink decorator’s sugar.
  4. Bake at 350 ˚F (175 ˚C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Do not brown the tops of the cookies!

 

Recipe Sources

Turkish Style Eggs

Moroccan Lentil Soup

Indian Mustard Fish

Egyptian Rose Leaves

Savory Sustenance During Ramadan

Suhoor and Iftar Recipes from Around the World

The Islamic month of Ramadan is currently being observed by people all around the world. It is a month of fasting and abstinence, from sunrise to sunset for a 30 day period, that is based on the crescent moon. It may seem odd to discuss a holiday with a focus on not eating, but food during this time is extraordinarily important for sustenance and strength to endure the month.

Dishes from this tradition are a great way to learn more about international food customs and incorporate a variety of flavors and spices, like cumin, ginger, and cayenne, into your cooking at home. As so many countries around the world celebrate with these meals, menus vary depending on geography, but there are two mealtimes observed throughout Ramadan tradition, Suhoor and Iftar.

Suhoor

Before dawn each day Muslims eat a pre-fast meal, called Suhoor, to sustain them throughout the day. In Egypt one item commonly eaten during this time is a Fava Bean Breakfast Spread on pita bread.  The beans provide much needed protein, and the bread provides sustenance to withstand the fasting period. This dish is easy to incorporate in your cooking at home for any meal or as a midday snack.

Iftar

After the sun sets, it is common for families to gather in homes, community centers, and places of worship to break the fast together in a meal called Iftar. The fast is broken in fellowship with family and friends.

fattoush.salad

Often the first item eaten at Iftar is dates followed by a buffet of various foods. For starters, traditional Arabian Fattoush Salad is a delicious appetizer or side salad. It is a light and crisp combination of cool veggies and warm fried pita bread.  This salad can accompany spicy lamb schwarma in the Middle East or chick pea curry from India, or just be a new way for your family to get in their five vegetables a day.

From further west in Morocco is the common Iftar dish of Lentil Soup. This is another way for those fasting to stay strong and get vital nutrients—with carrots, celery, lentils, and beans—in a spicy, warm, and flavorful dish. (Be sure to have a glass of water nearby for those who can’t handle the heat.)

Even if your guests won’t be fasting this Ramadan, they will be eager to taste these delicious, international recipes. At the end of the day, these dishes make meals family and friends can enjoy together in fellowship. Salam!

 

Egyptian Fava Bean Breakfast Spread

Yields: 6 servings

fava bean spread

Ingredients:

1 can (15 ounce) fava beans

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large tomato, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Ground red pepper to taste

Pita bread

 

Directions:

Pour beans into pot and bring to a boil. Mix well and add onion, tomato, olive oil, cumin parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with warmed or grilled pita bread.

 

Arabian Fattoush

Yields: 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 small pieces of pita bread, torn

1 large English cucumber, finely diced

3 cups grape tomatoes, halved

½ red onion, fined diced

¾ cup chopped Italian parsley

¾ cup chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or to taste)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

1 clove garlic, crushed

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Ground sumac

Crumbled feta cheese to taste

 

Directions:

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place pita pieces into the skillet without crowding. Fry batches until golden brown and blot dry with paper towel.

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and sumac in a bowl. Gently toss salad with fried pita pieces.

Season to taste.

 

Moroccan Lentil Soup

Yields: 6 plus servings

 

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

6 cups water

1 cup red lentils

1 can (15 ounce) garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained

1 can (19 ounce) cannellini beans

1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes

½ cup diced carrots

½ cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom 

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin 

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Directions:

In a large pot sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes.

Add water, lentils, chick peas, white kidney beans, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, garam masala, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Bring to a boil for a few minutes then simmer for 1-1 ½ hours (possibly longer) until lentils are soft.

In a food processor or blender, puree half the soup. Stir pureed soup back into the pot and enjoy!

 

Sources:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Moroccan-Lentil-Soup/Detail.aspx

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/arabic-fattoush-salad/

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fava-Bean-Breakfast-Spread/Detail.aspx