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Ramadan recipes: North-African iftar delights

Ramadan is here! Ramadan Mubarak from the Islamic Relief team!

We pray you are safe and well and having a productive Ramadan. Of course, productivity partly depends on ensuring that we eat enough at suhoor and iftar to give our bodies the energy we need to get through the fasting day.

So, with that in mind, we’re here to offer you a series of delicious Ramadan recipes.

Keeping up with our going green, going veggie theme to protect the environment, one of our delicious dishes is also vegetarian.

Of course, to reflect the diversity of the Muslim world, we’re bringing you delicious recipes from a variety of cultural traditions.

For our first series of recipes, we bring you: North-Africa!We’ve taken two traditional dishes which are especially popular at iftar time.

For our first recipe, we’re bringing you a traditional soup called shorba frik, having removed the meat to keep it more eco-friendly.

Whilst the dish traditionally has meat, we’ve tested this vegetarian version with dinner guests and North-Africans alike. Yes, it’s still delicious and has passed the taste test!

If that wasn’t tasty enough, we’re also bringing you another classic: bourek. These rolls come with various lovely fillings. This Ramadan, we’re bringing you scrumptious mince-stuffed rolls. These are a bit like samosas (but thinner and crispier) and make a great addition to an iftar.

Simple, yet super delicious, we definitely recommend giving these two recipes a go. Take a look!

Vegetarian iftar recipe: Shorba frik

Level: Easy
Serves: 4 people
Total time (preparation and cooking): Around 1.5-2 hours


Olive oil
White onions x 2 (peeled)
Garlic x 4 cloves (peeled)
Vegetable stock cubes x 2
Ras el-hanout spice mix (available from Turkish and North-African shops)
Red chilli powder/flakes (to taste)
Black pepper
Frik (cracked wheat, also spelt freekeh) (available from Turkish and North-African shops)
Whole plum tomatoes x 1 can 

Optional extras:

Pitted green olives

To garnish:

Fresh coriander
Fresh chilli pepper (Anaheim variety – available in Turkish and North-African shops. If not available, then other varieties may be used)
Fresh lemon


1. Prepare your soup base:

  • Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat. Add enough oil to just about cover the bottom of the pot – but be careful: the soup must not be oily in texture.
  • Once the oil is ready, grate the onions and garlic and add to the pot. Fry until soft – but not brown.
  • Next, add a vegetable stock cube to the mix and a little water. Allow the water to evaporate/the flavours to infuse.

2. Add your flavouring:

  • In a bowl, finely chop the tinned tomatoes (keeping the juice) to ensure a smooth passata-like texture (a few tiny lumps are ok – but the tomatoes are to form a base, not chunks). Add the tomatoes and juice to the pot.
  • Add a generous quantity (small handful) of the ras el-hanout mix and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to then cook on a medium heat for around 10 – 20 minutes.

3. Build your soup:

  • Add water (enough to cover the mixture and to add enough sauce, with the right consistency). Then add more ras el-hanout, salt and pepper and dried chilli/chilli powder (to flavour – depending on how hot you want it!), followed by the other vegetable stock cube.
  • Leave to boil on a high heat, then to simmer for around 30 minutes in total.
  • Once the sauce is cooking nicely and the flavours are infusing, add the frik. Frik is rather like couscous in that it expands – so you’ll just need enough to “fill in” in the soup. Add more water to balance the consistency of the soup – the soup mustn’t be too thick or too watery.

4. Allow to cook and infuse:

  • Leave the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • If adding green olives, chop finely and add to the soup. Add further salt, pepper and ras el-hanout to taste.
  • Once the frik is soft and the consistency is right – you’re ready to serve!

Serving suggestion:

Top with finely chopped chilli peppers and freshly chopped coriander. For extra flavour, add a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Serve with salad and fresh bread.

Bsahtekum! Enjoy your soup!

Meaty iftar recipe: Bourek

Level: Easy/medium
Serves: 6 people
Total time (preparation and cooking): Around 1.5 hours 


Olive/vegetable oil
White onions x 2 (peeled)
Green peppers x 2
Fresh parsley
Minced beef x 250g (more meat = more flavour!)

White mashing potatoes x 500g
Soft cheese triangles x 1 box (6 pieces or any available cheese to add to mashed potato)
Egg white (two eggs)

Brik/bourek sheets (made in France/North-Africa only) x 1 packet (available in North-African shops, if not available use filo pastry sheets (6).)

Please note: do not use Turkish bourek sheets as they are too thick for this recipe. North African sheets are much thinner and are required for this dish.

Plenty of kitchen roll!

Optional extras:

Pitted green olives
Chilli flakes / powder

To garnish:

Fresh coriander
Fresh lemon


1. Prepare your meat stuffing:

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, grate the onion and add to the oil.
  • When the onion is soft (but not brown), add the beef mince.
  • Once partially cooked, chop the green pepper into small pieces and add to the beef, along with plenty of finely chopped parsley.
  • Season with salt, pepper and cumin (to taste). If you prefer a bit of spice, add a small amount of chilli. For an optional extra, you can also add chopped green olives.
  • On a medium heat, then allow the mince to cook and the peppers to soften. Once ready, take off the heat.

2. Make your cheesy mash filling:

  • Whilst the mince is cooking, peel and boil the potatoes.
  • Once soft, drain and add salt, pepper, a dash of milk, a knob of butter and the cheese. Please note: you want a firm yet soft (but not liquidy) consistency.
  • Add the mince mix to the mash and stir in well. Super – now you’re ready to build your bourek rolls!

3. Prepare your bourek rolls:

  • Ensure you have your egg white to hand – ideally to use with a brush (if not, fingers will do).
  • Carefully (these sheets are delicate!) take a bourek sheet and place flat on a clean surface.
  • On the edge of the sheet right in front of you, add a small amount of your meaty mash (not too much or the roll will be too full and collapse!).
  • Roll over the sheet away from you to cover the edge of the mash mix and hold
  • Finish rolling (you’re looking to make a “cigar”/spring roll/wrap type shape), so fold the left and right sides of the sheet and cover over the mash roll, ensuring the underneath is held firmly.
  • Then continue to roll away from you to the edge of the sheet on the other side of you.
  • Seal the edge with egg white and press to close.

4. Fry your bourek rolls:

  • Add a large quantity of oil to a frying pan and heat on a medium/high heat.
  • Once hot, carefully fry each bourek roll on each side (taking care that the rolls do not open!)
  • The rolls should be lightly golden brown and crisp all over – not dark/heavily cooked.
  • Once ready, leave each bourek roll on a piece kitchen roll to drain off the excess oil.

Serving suggestion:

Top with freshly chopped coriander and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve with salad and soup.

After your soup, salad and bourek, finish your meal with fruit, mint tea and something sweet such as zalabiyah (pictured above) (available in North-African and Arab shops, also known as jalabiya in South Asian shops).

Saha ftourekum! Enjoy your iftar!


So, we hope you enjoy these tasty iftar recipes! If you do, tweet as at @IslamicReliefUK with your pictures.

Don’t forget to also keep an eye out for more here on the blog throughout Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak from everyone at Islamic Relief! Wishing you a healthy, safe and blessed Ramadan!


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