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Ramadan 2022 in UAE: 10 Iftar food staples to look forward to during the Holy Month

Most Muslims break their fasts at sunset with these classics


Rasha Abu Baker

Published: Fri 1 Apr 2022, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Fri 1 Apr 2022, 2:56 PM

With Ramadan just around the corner, Khaleej Times rounds up the 10 most popular food items at any Iftar spread.

1. Dates are an essential food item for Muslims in the UAE and around the world during Ramadan. Dates are very synonymous with the Holy Month and are rooted in Islamic culture. The fruit is considered a blessed food, one of the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) favourites, and is the preferred food to break one's fast. Muslims often buy this quintessential snack in bulk to enjoy and reap the benefits of its numerous health and nutritional qualities during Ramadan.

2. Samosas, or sambousek, are pastry sheets that are traditionally stuffed with ground beef, onions and spices, folded into triangles and deep-fried to golden perfection. This cross-cultural mezze makes a favourite side dish during Ramadan for Arabs, South Asians and East Africans. They can be served with a dip and can be stuffed with chicken, vegetables or even cheese.

3. Harees is one of the most popular traditional Emirati foods. This wheat-based, porridge-like dish is simmered in water before lamb or chicken is added and further cooked for a few hours. The dish is served at celebrations and is a staple during Ramadan. Many families cook harees in big batches and, keeping with the spirit of Ramadan, distribute the dish to neighbours or worshippers at mosques.

4. Biryani is another cross-cultural year-round favourite dish. The mixed rice dish is accepted as an indigenous Indian dish and is one of the most popular dishes in the GCC, the Indian subcontinent and far beyond. It is made with spices, rice, meat, chicken or vegetables. Biryani is a die-hard favourite dish during Ramadan and regularly features on iftar tables.

5. Machbous is a popular Emirati rice dish cooked across the GCC with slight variations. The ingredients include onions, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes and Arabic spices, all cooked together over low heat with lamb or chicken. Most Emirati families enjoy machbous all year round, including during Ramadan, served with hot sauce and yoghurt.

6. Luqaimat are sweet dumplings made of flour, water, yeast, and cardamom whipped up into a soft and smooth batter and dropped into hot oil and fried until golden brown. These dough balls are crispy on the outside and chewy from the inside and are usually drizzled with honey or date molasses. This dessert delicacy is enjoyed by Emiratis and Arabs on different occasions, but especially during Ramadan.

7. Vimto is a fruit and berry cordial that originated in Manchester, England, and has been the Ramadan drink of choice for families across the Gulf region for nearly a century. The dark purple sugary beverage is so sought after during the Holy Month that, according to Vimto Arabia's website, more than half of the cordials annual sales occur during the Ramadan season.

8. Tang is another winning Ramadan beverage. This American powdered fruit juice is mixed with water and ice to offer a refreshing drink to quench the thirst of fasting people across the region. According to the brand's factsheet, more than half of Tang's annual sales in the Middle East occur in just six weeks around Ramadan.

Facebook - Tang Arabia
Facebook - Tang Arabia

9. Arabic coffee, or gahwa, is a traditional Arabic recipe that is made from finely ground coffee beans and cardamom. The coffee is prepared by boiling it on the stovetop in a small pot before being transferred to an ornate coffee pot called a dallah. Gahwa is considered the traditional drink of the UAE and represents an integral aspect of cordial hospitality. During Ramadan, gahwa is a must on every iftar table.

10. Water is central to our daily diet, even more during Ramadan. Most Muslims choose to break their fast with a date and a sip of water before moving on to other foods and continue to hydrate until the break of dawn.


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