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Ramadan in Africa

African Women Preparing for Iftar during RamadanThe practice of Islam as a religion is far spread in Africa. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, Islam is practiced by over 45% of Africa’s population, making it the most common religion in Africa. Ramadan is a holy month that is observed by Moslems worldwide with solemn prayers and fasting (no eating or drinking) from dawn to sunset.

The food eaten during this holy month varies throughout Africa. The Suhoor or Sahur (pre-dawn meal) in general should be satisfying since it is meant to last the entire day. Proteins are a very good choice since it is filling and slowly burns off through the day. Common breakfast meals include bean fritters & pap in West Africa, eggs (cooked in various ways) cheese, yogurt, and dates in combination with bread or “fools” in parts of North Africa. An East African favorite of cooked cornmeal (mealie pap) is also a common suhoor meal.

The iftar is the meal eaten at sunset after a long day of fasting. It is most often a larger meal. The practice in some areas of Africa is to start with a light meal or appetizer, then to graduate to the main course. It is customary in some parts of Africa for wealthy Moslems to host iftar banquets for everyone in the extended family. Iftar usually consists of lots of rice, beans, and breads, variety of choice meats including poultry, beef, goat and occasionally seafood. Fruits are also a big part of the meal.

Try the following recipes for an African twist to your suhoor or iftar and Ramadan Kareem to all!

Suhoor

West African Bean fritters

West African Pap (Akamu)

Yam & Fried Eggs

South African Mealie Pap

Iftar

Moroccan Harira (North African)

Tuo Zaafi & Peanut Stew (West Africa)

Nigerian Jollof Rice

Tanzanian Pilau

East African Samosas