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10 Popular Ramadan Meals from Around the World

10 Popular Ramadan Meals from Around the World

March 14, 2024 1 min read

A traditional Ramadan meal.

The holy month of Ramadan is a time of fasting, reflection, and spiritual growth for Muslims worldwide.

As part of this observance, special attention is given to the meals consumed during this time, particularly during the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and the evening meal to break the fast (Iftar).

While traditional dishes hold a special place in the hearts of many, exploring less common options can add variety and excitement to the month’s culinary experience. This article aims to highlight ten unique and less common meals that can be enjoyed during Ramadan, offering a fresh perspective on traditional flavors and ingredients.

10 Popular Ramadan Recipes

Saffron & Pistachio Biryani

Biryani is a beloved dish in many cultures, known for its aromatic rice and flavorful spices. This version adds a touch of luxury with the inclusion of saffron, which not only imparts a beautiful color but also a subtle floral note. The addition of pistachios provides a delightful crunch and a hint of nuttiness, elevating this dish to a whole new level of sophistication.

Ingredients:

  • Basmati rice (2 cups)
  • Saffron threads (a pinch, soaked in warm milk)
  • Pistachios (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Ghee or vegetable oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, thinly sliced)
  • Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
  • Ginger (1-inch piece, minced)
  • Whole spices (1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 4 cardamom pods)
  • Ground spices (1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder)
  • Yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh cilantro and mint (a handful, chopped)

Instructions:

  • Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
  • Heat ghee or oil in a large pot and sauté onions until golden brown.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and whole spices, and cook for a minute.
  • Add ground spices, yogurt, and saffron milk, and cook for another minute.
  • Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pot along with 3 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with chopped pistachios, cilantro, and mint.

Moroccan Harira with Dates

Harira is a traditional Moroccan soup that is often enjoyed during Ramadan. This version adds a twist by incorporating dates, which not only add natural sweetness but also serve as a symbolic way to break the fast. The combination of tomatoes, lentils, and spices creates a rich and hearty soup that is perfect for Iftar.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, finely chopped)
  • Celery (2 stalks, finely chopped)
  • Carrots (2, finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes (4, diced)
  • Lentils (1 cup, rinsed)
  • Chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • Dates (1/2 cup, pitted and chopped)
  • Spices (1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon)
  • Vegetable stock (4 cups)
  • Fresh parsley and cilantro (a handful, chopped)

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté onions, celery, and carrots until softened.
  • Add tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, dates, and spices, and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley and cilantro.

Levantine Fatteh with Eggplant

Fatteh is a popular Levantine dish that typically consists of layers of crispy bread, rice, and yogurt sauce. This version swaps out the meat for roasted or fried eggplant, creating a delicious vegetarian alternative that is just as satisfying. The addition of chickpeas and pine nuts provides added texture and flavor.

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant (2, sliced)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Pita bread (2, torn into pieces)
  • Yogurt (2 cups)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
  • Chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • Tahini (1/4 cup)
  • Lemon juice (2 tablespoons)
  • Ground cumin (1 teaspoon)
  • Fresh parsley (a handful, chopped)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and toss eggplant slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast eggplant for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tender.
  • Meanwhile, toast pita bread pieces until crispy.
  • Combine yogurt, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and ground cumin in a bowl.
  • To assemble, layer crispy pita bread, roasted eggplant, and chickpeas in a serving dish.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture over the top and garnish with fresh parsley.

Persian Ash Reshteh with a Twist

Ash Reshteh is a traditional Persian noodle soup often enjoyed during special occasions, including Ramadan. This version adds a twist by incorporating kale or quinoa, which not only adds nutritional value but also a fresh and modern touch. Combining beans, herbs, and spices creates a flavorful and comforting soup.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
  • Turmeric (1 teaspoon)
  • Cumin (1 teaspoon)
  • Red lentils (1 cup, rinsed)
  • Chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • Quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • Kale (2 cups, chopped)
  • Vegetable stock (4 cups)
  • Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh mint (a handful, chopped)

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté onions and garlic until softened.
  • Add turmeric, cumin, red lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and kale, and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh mint.

Indonesian Beef Rendang

Rendang is a classic Indonesian dish that is known for its rich and complex flavors. This version uses beef as the main protein but adds a twist by incorporating Indonesian spices and coconut milk. The slow-cooking process results in tender and flavorful meat that is perfect for breaking the fast.

Ingredients:

  • Beef (1 lb, cut into cubes)
  • Coconut milk (2 cans)
  • Lemongrass (2 stalks, bruised)
  • Galangal (1-inch piece, sliced)
  • Turmeric leaves (2, torn)
  • Kaffir lime leaves (4, torn)
  • Tamarind paste (2 tablespoons)
  • Palm sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, combine beef, coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric leaves, and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours until beef is tender and sauce is thick.
  • Add tamarind paste, palm sugar, and salt, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve with steamed rice.

Egyptian Fattah with Mushroom and Artichoke

Fattah is a traditional Egyptian dish that is typically made with meat, rice, and crispy bread. This version swaps out the meat for mushrooms and artichokes, creating a delicious vegetarian alternative that is just as satisfying. The addition of garlic vinegar sauce adds a tangy and refreshing touch.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
  • Mushrooms (1 lb, sliced)
  • Artichoke hearts (1 can, drained and chopped)
  • Rice (2 cups, cooked)
  • Bread (2 pieces, toasted and torn into pieces)
  • Vinegar (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté onions and garlic until softened.
  • Add mushrooms and artichoke hearts and cook until mushrooms are golden brown.
  • Add cooked rice and toasted bread pieces and mix well.
  • Add vinegar, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot.

Balkan-inspired Stuffed Peppers (Dolma)

Dolma is a traditional dish in many Balkan and Middle Eastern countries that typically consists of stuffed vegetables. This version uses a mix of fragrant rice, herbs, and a unique blend of spices to create a flavorful and aromatic filling. The addition of tomatoes and onions adds a touch of sweetness and acidity.

Ingredients:

  • Bell peppers (6, halved and deseeded)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
  • Ground beef (1 lb)
  • Rice (1 cup, cooked)
  • Pine nuts (1/2 cup)
  • Raisins (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh parsley (a handful, chopped)
  • Fresh mint (a handful, chopped)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté onions and garlic until softened.
  • Add ground beef and cook until browned.
  • Add cooked rice, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, and mint, and mix well.
  • Stuff the halved bell peppers with the mixture and place in a baking dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until peppers are tender.

Turkish Manti with Yogurt and Sumac

Manti is a traditional Turkish dish often enjoyed during special occasions, including Ramadan. This version uses a combination of ground lamb and spices to create a flavorful filling that is wrapped in thin dough and boiled. The addition of garlic yogurt sauce and sumac creates a tangy and refreshing dish.

Ingredients:

  • Ground lamb (1/2 lb)
  • Onion (1, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
  • Sumac (1 teaspoon)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • Garlic (1 clove, minced)
  • Sumac (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, mix ground lamb, onion, garlic, sumac, salt, and pepper.
  • Roll out thin sheets of dough and cut into small squares.
  • Place a small amount of filling in the center of each square and fold into a triangle.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the manti for 5-7 minutes until they float to the surface.
  • In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, minced garlic, sumac, salt, and pepper.
  • Serve manti with yogurt sauce.

African-inspired Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Stews are a staple in many African cuisines and are often enjoyed during Ramadan. This version uses chickpeas and spinach as the main ingredients but adds a twist by incorporating African spices and coconut milk. The slow-cooking process results in a rich and flavorful stew.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onions (2, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
  • Ginger (1-inch piece, minced)
  • Ground coriander (1 teaspoon)
  • Ground cumin (1 teaspoon)
  • Ground turmeric (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Ground paprika (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • Spinach (1 lb, chopped)
  • Coconut milk (1 can)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until softened.
  • Add ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and paprika, and cook for a minute.
  • Add chickpeas, spinach, and coconut milk, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Lebanese Nights (Layali Lubnan) with a Fruity Twist

Layali Lubnan is a traditional Lebanese dessert that is often enjoyed during Ramadan. This version adds a twist by incorporating a layer of mixed berries compote, which adds natural sweetness and a vibrant and refreshing touch. The combination of semolina pudding, rose water, and pistachios creates a delicious and indulgent dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Semolina (1 cup)
  • Sugar (1/2 cup)
  • Milk (2 cups)
  • Rose water (1 tablespoon)
  • Mixed berries (1 cup)
  • Pistachios (1/4 cup, chopped)

Instructions:

  • In a saucepan, mix semolina, sugar, and milk, and cook over medium heat until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and stir in rose water.
  • Pour into serving dishes and let it cool to room temperature.
  • In a separate saucepan, cook mixed berries with a little sugar until softened.
  • Spoon the berry compote over the semolina pudding and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
  • Serve chilled.

By incorporating unique ingredients and flavors, these dishes offer a fresh perspective on traditional Ramadan meals. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious twist on a classic dish or a modern take on a traditional favorite, these recipes are sure to delight your taste buds.

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