The scorching sun, the bustling markets, and the delicious aroma of food wafting through the air – signify the start of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia.
This month represents a time of spiritual reflection, self-discipline, charity, and mouth-watering dishes enjoyed by families and friends during Iftar and Suhoor.
Saudi Arabian cuisine offers a wide variety of flavors and textures that are perfect for Iftar or fueling up for the day ahead with a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor.
This article will explore some of the most popular recipes made at home during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia.
Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadan:
While fasting, staying hydrated, and consuming a healthy diet are essential to maintain the body’s nutritional needs.
Here are some tips on what to take during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia and which diet to follow:
Dates: Best dates in Saudi Arabia available all over the country. Dates provide a quick energy source and are rich in nutrients; they are traditionally eaten to break the fast.
Water: Keeping your body hydrated is very important, so drinking plenty of water during the non-fasting hours is necessary to avoid dehydration.
Soups: Light soups made with vegetables or lentils are great for nourishment and hydration during fasting.
Complex Carbohydrates: While fasting, we need energy; foods such as oats, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice provide sustained energy and help prevent hunger pangs during the day.
Proteins: It is advisable to ensure the food is packed with essential nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates. Consuming lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, and beans can help you feel full longer.
Fruits and Vegetables: Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals can provide important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
What to avoid?
It’s important to avoid overeating and consuming spicy and too much sugary or fatty foods during Ramadan, as this can lead to indigestion and weight gain.
Popular Iftar Recipes
Samosas are a popular appetizer- especially during Ramadan- in many parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia. They can be filled with various fillings, including vegetables, meat, or mashed potatoes, and are often served with dips like chutney or ketchup.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ready time: 50 minutes
- One packet of samosa pastry sheets
- 1 pound ground beef or chicken
- One chopped onion
- 1 cup peas, frozen or fresh
- 50gm fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. Coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. garam masala powder
- In a large pan, cook the ground beef or chicken with the onions until the meat is browned.
- Add the frozen peas, cumin, coriander, garam masala, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Cut the samosa pastry sheets into triangles, fill each with a spoonful of the meat mixture, fold into a triangle, and seal the edges with water.
- Heat oil, fry samosas over medium-high heat, and drain on a paper towel.
Harees is the most popular dish in Saudi Arabia among Muslims fasting during Ramadan. It consists mainly of meat and coarse wheat.
Preparation Time: 20min
Cooking Time: 1h
Ready Time: 1h 20min
- Mutton – 1/2 Kg (Boneless)
- Barley – 1/2 Kg
- 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp Green Chili Paste
- 1/2 tbsp Cumin Seed – (Crushed)
- 1 tbsp Fennel Seed – (Crushed)
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Edible Oil – For Tempering (Baghar)
- Rinse the barley and soak them overnight.
- In a large pot, add soaked barley, water, salt & cooking oil. Boil till soft.
- Now grind fennel seeds and cumin seeds together. Keep aside.
- Boil mutton cubes with ginger garlic paste, masala powder, and salt until soft, separate stock and cubes, and set aside.
- Now, use a blender or food processor to blend the boiled barley into a smooth porridge-like consistency or a thick paste.
- Add mutton cubes and stock to barley paste, mix well, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add mint leaves, coriander leaves, cumin powder & hot cooking oil. Mix well,
Famous stew in Saudi Arabia
- and cook for 2-3 minutes.Tharid
Tharid, also spelled as Thareed, is a stew made with any form of meat, usually lamb and mutton, and lots of vegetables, like squash, pumpkin, bottled gourd, etc. It is served over thin bread called “Regaag.”
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Ready time: 75 minutes
- 500 gm meat chunks with some bones here is mutton used
- 1 tsp ghee
- One large onion, thinly sliced
- One large tomato chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste heaped
- 2 tsp bazaar spice blend
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- One big loomi crushed
- 150 gm pumpkin chunks
- One large carrot
- Two koosa
- One potato
- Regaag bread to serve can use saj or khubz
- Sizzle oil, ghee, and garlic. Saute onions, add tomato and paste, cook, then mix in spice powders and loomi.
- Add washed and drained mutton with salt and water, pressure cook for 3-5 whistles until almost done, and allow the pressure to release by itself.
- Open the lid, and add in the vegetable chunks. Adjust the seasoning. Close and cook for one whistle. Take off and allow the pressure to go. By this time, the mutton should fall off its bone, and the vegetables should be cooked but still in shape.
- Open the lid and check the seasoning. Add the coriander leaves. Add more hot water if needed.
- To serve, layer the dish with regaag or saj bread. Pour the stew only all over the bread for it to soak. Top with the mutton chunks and vegetables. Dig in.
Popular Dessert in Saudi Arabia
Ramadan’s iconic treat of the Middle East, this sweet dumpling, is typically made of Arabic pancakes stuffed with white cheese or nuts as a traditional Ramadan dessert. It is fried, sometimes baked, and eaten with syrup or honey.
Preparation time: 1 hr
Baking time: 14-19 minutes
Total time: 2 hrs 20 minutes
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 6 tbsp Semolina Flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp orange blossom water, optional
- 1 tsp lemon juice, optional
- Four tablespoons butter or ghee (melted)
To make the batter:
- Add flour, sugar, yeast, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Mix.
- Preheat a nonstick pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour batter on the pan, cook until the top surface develops holes and is dry (about 2 mins), remove from heat, and place cooked side on the prepared pan.
To make the filling:
- Mix the nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
To make the syrup:
- Heat sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve.
- Stop mixing when boiling, reduce heat, and simmer for 3-5 mins.
- Remove from the stove, add orange blossom water or lemon juice, and let cool to room temperature.
- Grease two baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Add 2 tbsp filling to the uncooked side of each qatayef, pinch sides to seal after folding in half, and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Brush the qatayef tops with butter and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- For extra crispness and browning, Broil qatayef for 1-2 minutes on each side under a high broiler.
- Remove from the oven, dip in syrup to coat, drip excess syrup, and serve warm.
Popular sehri recipes
Tunisian egg brik recipe:
- Two potatoes
- One onion
- fresh parsley
- salt, black pepper
- Four sheets of brik pastry
- Four eggs, extra virgin olive oil
- Sweet paprika (optional)
- 1/4th cup Parmesan
- Boil the potatoes. Remove the skin and mash them. Put aside.
- Chop the onion. Take a pan, add a spoonful of olive oil, and fry the onion.
- Now, mix the onion with the mashed potatoes. Add a little fresh parsley and season with salt and black pepper.
- Slice the phyllo pastry into two squares, around 10 inches long.
- Add a small amount of filling on one side of the pastry and fold it using the other side.
- Seal the sheets of brik using a little water.
- Top with one egg and some parmesan.
- Fry the bricks in a pan with olive oil until golden and crispy.
Note: cook one brik at a time so the oil does not cool. Once fried, place remove the excess oil before serving.
Once you know the basic porridge recipe, you can get creative and add your favorite toppings.
- 160 g rolled porridge oats
- 600 ml milk
- Water or soya milk
- Cook the oats with milk/water over medium heat.
- Add half a pinch of sea salt and stir.
- Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stir as often as you can to make a smooth, creamy texture– if you like your porridge runnier, add more milk or water.
- Top up your porridge with your favorite combo of nuts, fresh fruit, and seeds, sweetening to taste.
Check out some of our favorite combos below:
Banana, Almond, and Cinnamon Porridge
Stir in a pinch of ground cinnamon, some poppy seeds, and maple syrup. Place sliced banana and a handful of toasted almonds on top.
Apple, Maple Syrup, and Pecan Porridge
Stir through the coarsely grated apple (core and all) and maple syrup, then top with a handful of toasted pecans and drizzle more syrup.
Every home in Saudi Arabia is filled with the delicious aroma of traditional dishes passed down through generations. In addition to providing essential nutrients for the body during the fast, these dishes also give a glimpse of Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage.