21 Recipes to Celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Saffron, Pistachio, and Rose Petal Helva

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Eid al-Fitr is observed by Muslims around the world to mark the end of fasting from morning to night during Ramadan. Celebrate with feast including snacks like Muhammara and Sigara Borek, vegetable dishes like Beet and Blood Orange Salad with Mint or Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses, and hearty mains like a Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine with Apricots and Mahi Zafaroni (Pan-Seared Fish with Saffron and Dried Lime). Then, bring the meal to a sweet finish with desserts like these Tunisian Kaak Warqa and a Turkish Saffron, Pistachio, and Rose Petal Helva. Read on for more recipes for your Eid al-Fitr dinner.

01 of 21

Beet and Blood Orange Salad with Mint

Beet-and-Blood-Orange Salad with Mint
© Quentin Bacon

To give this refreshing salad Palestinian flavor, Sam Mogannam seasons the dressing with ground sumac, a tangy Middle Eastern spice. While the color of golden beets contrasts nicely with dark red blood orange sections, any beet variety — from standard red ones to the white-and-pink striped chioggia — will be delicious.

02 of 21

Mahi Zafaroni (Pan-Seared Fish with Saffron and Dried Lime)

Pan Seared Fish Fillet with Saffron and Sun-Dried Lime

Ellen Silverman

Saffron gives this fish from Nasim Alikhani, the chef and owner of Sofreh in New York City, a golden color and sweet floral flavor. Meanwhile, dried limes, a popular Persian souring ingredient, add a slight kick of citrus along with earthy, fermented flavor. Alikhani prefers a lean but moist fish like red snapper or a white, meaty fish like striped bass. 

03 of 21

Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

A summer staple from the coastal town of Antakya, this light stew is a favorite of Musa Dagdeviren's wife, Zeynep, who was born there. To keep the textures and flavors of the vegetables distinct, Dagdeviren layers the eggplant in a pot with tomatoes, lentils, chopped onions and garlic, then slowly cooks it, covered, without stirring. The stew is best when made ahead and allowed to mellow for at least a few hours.

04 of 21

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Smooth, thick, and layered with flavor, this mildly spicy dip of roasted red bell peppers and toasted walnuts is thickened with finely ground crispy breadsticks. Pomegranate molasses adds a piquancy that plays off the sweetness of the juicy roasted bell peppers, and spicy pepper paste brings just a touch of heat. 

05 of 21

Kaak Warqa

Kaak Warqa

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

These delicate, doughnut-shaped, rosewater-scented almond flour cookies hold a special place in Tunisians’ hearts. When special guests come over, kaak warqa are accompanied by pine nuts and served with tea boiled with mint. 

06 of 21

Turkish Chopped Salad

Turkish Chopped Salad
© Frances Janisch

This is chef Musa Dagdeviren's variation on a bright, tangy salad from Gaziantep featuring tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, herbs, and pomegranate molasses. 

07 of 21

Penang Beef Curry

Penang Beef Curry
© Con Poulos

With chopped lime leaves, Thai basil, and cilantro often used as garnish, Penang curry is commonly prepared with chicken or beef and accompanied by a bowl of sticky rice, highlighting its versatility to taste preferences. Though this specific curry is not as well known as Thai red, yellow, or green curries, it deserves just as much love for its aromatic and punchy flavors. This Thai-inspired Penang curry recipe created by Bank Atcharawan uses hanger steak that is braised in an aromatic chicken broth until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender before simmering in a well-spiced coconut curry sauce and served with rice.  

08 of 21

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins
© Kana Okada

The late Armenian cookbook author Arto der Haroutunian, who taught Paula Wolfert this dish, caramelized cauliflower on the stove before baking it with Eastern Mediterranean flavorings: chopped tomatoes, plumped raisins and Marash red pepper flakes. 

09 of 21

Red Lentil Köfte with Tomato-Cucumber Salad

Red Lentil Köfte with Tomato-Cucumber Salad
© Maura McEvoy

This recipe was inspired by the incredibly moist lentil patties called küfte that Ana Sortun first tried in Istanbul at Ferda Erdinc's vegetarian restaurant, Zencefil. The küfte here are fried, but they can also be served grilled, baked, or "raw."

10 of 21

Saffron, Pistachio, and Rose Petal Helva

Saffron, Pistachio, and Rose Petal Helva

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

This Turkish semolina pudding is scented with saffron and cardamom and dotted with pistachios. It’s often enjoyed on holidays and other special occasions. This helva gets its golden color from the saffron, which is dissolved in warm milk and stirred into the pudding to get the most from its color and floral flavor. Butter-toasted pistachios give it a bit of crunch, while a scattering of edible dried rose petals make it stand out.

11 of 21

Lamb Biryani

Lamb Biryani

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Nidia Cueva

This layered biryani is topped with a pastry lid that bakes to golden brown as it helps steam the rice and lamb inside the pot. After the biryani is baked, give it pride of place on the table before you break through the flaky browned crust to reveal the rice and lamb inside. The rising steam carries with it the aromas of toasted cardamom, cumin, saffron, and Kashmiri chile powder. 

12 of 21

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip Recipe
Photo by Tara Donne / Food Styling by Chris Lanier / Prop Styling by Raina Kattelson

“The banana pepper dip in this recipe is perhaps my favorite recipe that my partner’s mother Bonnie Attea makes,” says Anita Lo about her recipe. “It’s a three-ingredient wonder that makes a weeknight chicken breast exciting. Banana peppers can vary on the heat scale so taste a little before mixing, and mitigate with a little cayenne per your taste.” Leftover banana pepper dip works well as a spread in sandwiches, or as a dip with pita crackers or crudités. While pre-crumbled feta may be used in the dip, blocks of feta crumble easily, and result in a richer, creamier texture.

13 of 21

Ground Lamb and Shallot Kofta Kebabs with Pomegranate Molasses

Ground Lamb and Shallot Kebabs with Pomegranate Molasses
© James Baigrie

Burhan Cagdas makes ground meat kofta kebabs from hand-chopped lamb mixed with diced lamb fat. In place of the fat, Paula Wolfert uses crème fraîche, which keeps the meat rich-tasting and meltingly tender. 

14 of 21

Sholeh Zard (Saffron Rice Pudding)

Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard)
© Abby Hocking

This sweet Persian rice pudding called sholeh zard is made with three distinct ingredients: saffron, cardamom, and rosewater. It's delicate in flavor but so deeply aromatic that it's hard to stop eating it.

15 of 21

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Kelsey Moylan / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle

This Indian chicken dish is popular throughout the world for the deep flavor that comes from cooking chicken in a tandoor, the deep, urn-shaped clay oven. Legendary cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey adapted the recipe for a charcoal grill to make it accessible to home cooks. The chicken is dressed with lemon juice and salt before it marinates in a mixture of onion, ginger, garlic, chiles, and the North Indian spice blend garam masala.

16 of 21

Ka'ak Bi Tamer (Cinnamon-Date Paste–Filled Cookies)

Ka’ak Bi Tamer (Cinnamon-Date Paste–Filled Cookies)
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Jeanette Chawki, a Lebanese cooking instructor with the League of Kitchens, developed these Ka'ak Bi Tamer (Cinnamon-Date Paste–Filled Cookies). These flaky sweets are filled with rich, nutmeg- and cinnamon-spiced date paste and topped with nigella seeds (normally found in savory goods). They were inspired by a trip to her local Middle Eastern market. Be sure to let the dough rest to give the flour a chance to hydrate to prevent it from crumbling when rolling it out. These are best on the day they're made, and they're the perfect treat to have with a strong cup of Lebanese coffee.

17 of 21

Lahmacun (Turkish Ground Lamb Pizza)


At her takeout shop in Istanbul, Kantin Dükkan, Semsa Denizsel tops her lahmacun with ground lamb that is flavored with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and a little spicy red pepper. Lahmacun are traditionally made with ground lamb, but you can substitute ground beef instead. To make the lahmacun even more substantial, bake it with an egg on top; the runny yolk is terrific with the whole-wheat crust.

18 of 21

Khaliat Al Nahl (Honeycomb Buns)

Khaliat Al Nahl (Honeycomb Buns)
Alex Lau

A traditional Yemeni pastry, khaliat al nahl are sweet, cloudlike balls of dough that are filled with cream cheese and drenched in cardamom-infused honey before they are topped with crunchy white sesame seeds and black nigella seeds. Pair these Yemeni honeycomb buns with a strong cup of Yemeni coffee for a sweet breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up. 

19 of 21

Sigara Borek (Turkish Cheese Cigars)

Turkish Cigars
© Quentin Bacon

Borek are one of the most popular dishes in Turkey, eaten from breakfast through dinner, including as a snack along with cocktails or afternoon tea. They can be made with different fillings: spiced lamb, spinach, potato or cheese. Making these Turkish cheese cigars is easy, as long as you set up an assembly line with the phyllo pastry, melted butter, and a bowl of the feta cheese mixed with eggs and chopped herbs. 

20 of 21

Nasi Goreng Jawa (Javanese Fried Rice)

Nasi Goreng Jawa
Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns / Prop Styling by Natasha Kolenko

Nasi goreng is a classic Indonesian fried rice. Whether you make it at home or you pick it up from a street cart, it makes for a fantastic breakfast (or late-night snack) that uses up leftovers. "Nasi goreng is a comfort food," says Indonesian chef and TV personality William Wongso, who is very particular about that comfort. He makes his version in small batches, in a hot wok, with cold rice, and with distinct colors — yellow from scrambled egg, red from sambal bajak (a sweet and spicy condiment), and green from a scattering of scallions. Bumbu, the spice paste that flavors this rice, is richly savory, aromatic, and only mildly spicy. Toasting shrimp paste mellows out its pungent flavors and adds silky richness to the fried rice.

21 of 21

Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine with Apricots

Clay Pot Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine Recipe
Victor Protasio

Savory lamb, salty olives, and the warm spices in ras el hanout are balanced by sweet butternut squash, apricots, and a touch of honey for this tagine. Ras el hanout, a North African spice blend, includes coriander, cumin, and warming spices such as cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika. As it cooks, the natural juices from the lamb and onion create steam that bastes the meat as it cooks over a low flame. The gentle heat ensures that the environment inside the tagine remains moist and the meat does not dry out or burn.

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