Savory and Sweet Ramadan Recipes to Break the Fast

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These dishes from Somalia are ideal before sunrise and after sundown.

Ramadan is a time to examine oneself and be in community with others. It also centers on food, yet calls for fasting from sunrise until sundown. During this holy month for Muslims, families and friends worldwide gather before light and after dark to share sustaining meals.

In Somali homes across the globe, you’ll find cooks following a shared culinary choreography: henna-stained fingers fill and fold sambuus to fry to the same shade of golden brown as the soon-setting sun. Soor iyo dalac bilaash, another beloved Ramadan dish, is a light and comforting option for an iftar meal. The tomato-topped grits feel especially restorative after a day of fasting. So does rooti farmaajo, cheese-filled buns baked into a honeycomb pattern. Sweet and tender, they’re just as welcome at the start of any day.

Hilib Sambuus (Fried Beef Dumplings)

A Somali relative of Indian samosas, these fried treats filled with spiced ground beef can be served with fiery basbaas or wrapped in malawax, cardamom crepes, for a sweet and savory experience.

Serve this simple no-cook fresh and spicy sauce with sambuus or any dish.David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.
The creamy cornmeal base of soor can be topped with goat or lamb stew or a vegetable stew, like the dalac bilaash shown here.David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Thick and comforting, soor (Somalia’s version of grits) are topped here with dalac bilaash, a robust tomato stew that can be made easily with just a few simple ingredients.

Rooti Farmaajo (Honeycomb Cheese Bread)

Sweet, creamy cheese is stuffed into these tender buns before baking.David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Pillowy and sweet, this bread is drizzled with condensed milk and topped with shredded coconut. It’s a popular treat during Ramadan, but also worth making year-round.