Ramadan Mubarak! I don’t know about you, but at the end of a long and tiring day of reminding myself that chips are a no-no until sunset, I want nothing more than a huge plate of comfort food. This pandemic has really impacted the way we experience Ramadan, which is a super social and family-oriented month. One of the ways that help me feel closer to home is attempting to make all the Saudi dishes that my grandmother would make us. All of these comfort foods — the tastes of home, of her love — create a rollercoaster of emotions in me, while treating my tastebuds. Here are some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan-friendly Saudi dishes to spice up your iftar this Ramadan!
This is one of the classic traditional Saudi dishes, and for good reason. It is mostly popular in the central Najd region. Jareesh is made from wheat and usually cooked with meat (you can skip that part), making it easy to digest and comforting to eat. Here’s how to make it!
- 1 ½ cups crushed wheat
- ¼ cup white rice
- 4 chopped onion
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups yogurt
- ½ cup butter
- Spices: cumin, lemon powder, red chili flakes
- Add your oil and 1 chopped onion to the pan until they’re soft.
- After washing your rice and wheat, add them to your pan along with the water and broth. Allow to boil, then turn the heat down to a low simmer.
- Let the mixture cook on low heat for about 2-2 ½ hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- In a separate pan, add in the rest of your onions and butter over a medium heat. Once the onions are soft, add the spices.
- Once your jareesh is cooked, serve on a large plate and top with the onion mixture!
This is one of the dishes I keep reaching for all night. I could easily eat 12 of these in one sitting. Found in many other cultures and similar to samosas, samboosak are small fried pastries usually filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, and folded into triangles or half moons. The most popular in Saudi is the meat-filled variation. Here’s what you’ll need.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 chopped onions
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- Spices: black pepper, cumin
- 1 tsp. yeast,
- 1 tsp. cumin
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 lb. ground beef or beyond meat
- Add in your flour, salt, and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add in olive oil and start mixing with your fingers. Gradually add in water and salt until you get a dough-like texture.
- Add your meat (or meat substitute), onions, and spices into a pan with some oil and cook.
- While the meat is cooking, roll out your dough and split into pieces, making every piece a nice and round flat circle.
- Add a spoon full of the meat mixture into the center of each dough circle and fold. Seal the edges with a fork.
- Deep fry your pastries for a few minutes on both sides. Enjoy!
This is one of our most popular — and oh so satisfying — street foods in Saudi! Mutabbak is one of the most versatile dishes; you can fill it with anything from ground beef to bananas (sounds gross, but trust me — it’s amazing). Here’s how to make it.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ cup water
- 2 eggs
- 200g ground beef or Beyond Meat (meat substitute)
- 1 diced tomato
- 5 chopped spring onions
- Spices: salt, cumin, black pepper
- Add in flour, salt, oil, and water into a mixing bowl and knead with your hands or with a mixer. Add the water in gradually. Knead until the dough is not sticky.
- Coat the dough with oil and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, add the meat, spices, tomatoes, spring onions, and eggs. Mix well.
- Roll the dough with a rolling pin into a very thin sheet to make it crispy. Place half the rolled dough on an oiled rectangular pan and evenly spread your meat mixture on top. Fold the other half of the rolled dough on top.
- Make small toothpick incisions across the sheet in order for it to bake evenly.
- After 2-3 minutes, flip the mutabbak to cook on the other side. Once the meat is fully cooked and the outside is crispy, cut it into squares and serve.
There you have it! May these three recipes bring you comfort during your Ramadan Iftars and help you get through the pandemic. Slide in our DMs on Instagram or tweet us @MuslimGirl and tell us how you liked it — or show us! — if you make any of these amazing recipes.