One of my early memories of Ramadan was being my mother’s little kitchen helper as we whipped up our massive but usual feast for Iftar. A spread brimming with crispy pakoras and samosas, flavorful Bangladeshi jaal muri, freshly squeezed lemon shorbot, and an assortment of seasonal fruits, including the oh-so-essential box of dates, it was the time of year my family always looked forward to!
Ramadan, the holy month of fasting (sawm), is one of the most commonly observed pillars of the Islamic faith. Rooted in modesty and patience, it’s a period when followers abstain from the worldly pleasures of eating and drinking, consumption of harmful substances (such as alcohol and cigarettes), and intimate partner relationships. It’s also a time to curb negative thoughts and behaviors, such as anger and resentment. Instead, observers focus on introspective reflection, prayer, and community service, all the while adhering to their daily routine.
During the month, observers fast from sunrise to sunset, forgoing even water―summer was always a struggle for me! Awakening early in the morning before dawn, families enjoy Suhoor (or Sehri as Bangladeshi Muslims call it) and break the fast at dusk with Iftar, once again surrounded by family or maybe even community members at the local mosque. It is a time of connecting for many.
For our practicing readers, we have compiled a plethora of recipes that are perfect to share with your family and friends. These recipes range from full-fledged meals you can serve for Suhoor or small bites to enjoy for Iftar before Maghrib Namaz. From the Simply Recipes team, we wish you Ramadan Kareem! May your Ramadan be peaceful and fortuitous.
Indian Chicken Biryani
To me, chicken biryani means welcoming Ramadan. Whether it’s my mom making it for our first Sehri of the month or our local mosque serving it for Iftar, the sentiment around chicken biryani is one of nostalgia and appreciation. This recipe is a simpler take on traditional Hyderabadi chicken biryani, and trust me when I say, you don’t want to miss out! Serve with raita for a well-rounded meal.
Heads up, like all traditional biryanis, this one uses whole spices, so pay attention as you eat.
Need Iftar on the go? This homemade sabich recipe is a delicious option bursting with flavor! This popular Israeli street food consists of quartered boiled eggs, fried eggplant, hummus, tahini sauce, and Israeli salad served in pita or laffa bread. Fair warning―you’ll need a bunch of napkins when enjoying it!
Asparagus Pakoras With Lemony Yogurt Sauce
Ramadan is not complete without pakoras, and contributor Shayma Saadat agrees! Made with a pantry staple, chickpea flour (also called gram or besan), these crunchy asparagus pakoras will be a favorite Iftari snack, especially when paired with a cup of chai. Don’t like asparagus? No worries! Shayma provides easy substitutions too!
Chillo al Ajillo (Pan Fried Red Snapper in Garlic Sauce)
My family always includes some variation of fish for Suhoor, and this year, I am excited to share this chillo al ajillo recipe. Having eaten it in recent travels to Puerto Rico, I love how this red grouper recipe provides a crispy skin with tender, flaky garlicky meat to enjoy with a garlic sauce. Pair it with beans and rice or tostones for a fulfilling meal!
Contributor Prerna Singh’s chicken korma recipe includes all the rich, creamy flavors you want in a korma, all while making it as simple as possible for the home cook. With changes such as using boneless versus bone-in chicken and providing tips on making it ahead, this sped-up, approachable korma saves time without compromising flavor! Highly recommend serving with naan or roti.
Jamaican Beef Stew
This rich, hardy Jamaican beef stew will be the highlight of your Iftar! Filled with signature Jamaican flavors such as allspice, burnt sugar, and scotch bonnet peppers, this appetizing stew can be cooked on the stove or in a slow cooker, saving you time and effort. Served on its own or over rice, this stew will leave you wanting more.
Air Fryer Falafel
We all have those days where life gets busy and you just need a quick and easy way to get food on the table. Look no further than this air fryer falafel recipe! It only takes 24 minutes to prep and air fry and uses items you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator. You’ll have Suhoor ready in no time!
Hosting Iftar this year? Celebrate with sabzi polo! Not only is it deliciously herbaceous, but this recipe also includes a beautifully golden tahdig layer that will leave your guests reaching for more. Serve with beef kebab or tandoori chicken for a full meal!
Shrimp Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce
With all the fried foods eaten during Ramadan, it’s always nice to have a breather. These shrimp spring rolls brimming with thinly sliced vegetables, unseasoned cooked shrimp, and vibrant herbs become that much needed refreshing meal. Serve with the peanut sauce included in the recipe.
Mercimek Corbasi (Turkish Lentil Soup)
I made this mercimek corbasi recipe recently and absolutely loved it! Tangy and rich, it’s packed with flavor and perfect for both Suhoor and Iftar. Best piece of advice―don’t skimp out on the toppings! The pul biber butter, Greek yogurt, and croutons added another layer to the soup that you don’t want to miss.
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo and Rice
The Instant Pot became my best friend as a working adult, so guaranteed when it’s Ramadan, I’m pulling it out. I personally love how easy this Instant Pot chicken adobo and rice recipe is. Add the adobo ingredients in the pot, top it with a bowl of uncooked rice and water, cover and set the timer, and just forget about it! All components are cooked in one spot with zero fuss. Talk about a time saver!
Vegetable Samosas With Mint Chutney
Nothing ends a meal quite like a samosa. Pockets of fried dough filled with a gloriously spiced vegetable filling and served with mint chutney? What’s not to love! My family will often have a few as an end-of-Suhoor snack with a glass of mango lassi, and let me tell you, it definitely hits the spot!
I love creating immersive food experiences for my guests and serving this chicken shawarma recipe does exactly that. Whether in a pita pocket or over rice, this versatile recipe can be eaten with pickled vegetables, tabbouleh, fattoush, baba ganoush, and of course, the delicious tahini sauce included in this recipe. Your guests have so many options to choose from!
Invited to an Iftar party? Bring spanakopita! This flaky, buttery vegetarian Greek pie is made of layers of phyllo dough and spinach-ricotta filling and can be served as an appetizer or an entree. The best part: it’s easy to put together and can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance!
Having fasted the entire day, sometimes my stomach isn’t ready for a hardy meal. This chicken congee jook is perfect for such situations. Prepared with just a few simple ingredients, this relatively hands-off recipe is light and easy to make. Let it boil for 1 1/2 hours before mixing in the chicken, and voila, it’s ready to serve!
Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata)
This mini baked kuku sabzi is a spin on the traditional Persian frittata-style eggs recipe with fresh herbs, barberries, and crushed walnuts. Consisting of two major shortcuts, this recipe uses a food processor and is baked in muffin tins. Now this recipe is quicker and results in individual portions, perfect for a large Iftari gathering!
Garam Masala Fish Sticks
Including family, especially children, in the Iftar preparation process is a great way to enjoy each other’s company while immersing them in a cultural experience and creating core memories. Dredging these crispy garam masala fish sticks together is a fun and easy way to get kids involved!
Kabuli Palao (Afghan Lamb Shanks with Rice, Carrots, and Raisins)
Contributor Khadija Hemmati shared her kabuli palao recipe with us last Ramadan, and we were grateful to be part of the experience! The tender, succulent Instant Pot lamb is served with fluffy basmati rice topped with fried sultanas and cooked carrots. This warm and inviting recipe is perfect for Layat Al-Qadr or Chaand Raat, celebrating the last stretch of Ramadan.