The holy month of Ramadan is a special occasion to savour the delicious, traditional sweets of the Arab world. Sweets don't just pamper your sweet tooth, but also provide energy and calories to sustain the body while fasting during Ramadan. The traditional Emirati desserts have been refined through the ages to reach their current form. Considering that all of us will be fasting in lockdown this year, we definitely deserve some post-meal treat in the form of the best traditional Arabic desserts! So here's a list of 10 wonderful UAE traditional sweets that you should include in your Suhoor and Iftar meals, this Ramadan 2020.
10 Traditional Iftar Desserts to try this Ramadan!
Ramadan is the best time have some Luqaimat (meaning "bite-sized" in Arabic), a delicious dumpling made of flour, sugar, starch, saffron, cardamom powder and dry yeast, rolled in date syrup and sprinkled with date molasses and/ or sesame seeds. These fried temptations are part of the traditional Iftar table and a traditional Emirati sweet that you most definitely should eat during Ramadan.
2. Assidat al-Boubar
Assidat al-Boubar (more commonly known as Aseeda) one of the traditional sweets from Dubai, is served widely during Ramadan and Eid and the best option for those who don't want an overtly sweet dessert. This luscious pumpkin porridge is mildly sweet and cooked with milk, sugar, almond flour, butter, rose water, ground cardamom, almonds, raisins, and clarified butter, making it one of the best Emirati sweets.
3. QatayefA plate of this special Arabic sweet is a must at every iftar and suhoor table! Qatayef is a pancake-like dough that can be filled with pistachios and sugar mixture; many use Ashta (cream with rose water) or even Akkawi (sweetened cheese) as fillings. Before serving, the preparation is fried and dipped in sugar syrup - a sweet Ramadan indeed!
Chebab, one of the delicious UAE sweet dishes, is an Emirati pancake combining traditional flavours of cardamom, saffron and dates, and is fried in a pan till it attains a reddish brown colour and texture.
Balaleet is a delicious combination of sweetened vermicelli and eggs, infused with cardamom and saffron, and served with a plain omelette, and bread - tempting enough?
Baklava, the highly popular Turkish sweet, is another amazing dessert widely consumed during Ramadan. This wonderful dessert is cooked to perfection with thin layers of Filo dough and is served with chopped nuts, raisin, and cashew, bound together with honey or syrup, making it one of the many Ramadan desserts to watch out for. If you're quarantined at home and can't step out this Ramadan, don't worry. Sweet shops like Al Sultan Sweets and Al Baba are providing home-delivery of Baklava through various food delivery apps/ services.
Kunafa (also known as Kanafeh, Knafeh, Kanafa, Konafi) is a deliciously rich Middle Eastern dessert that is popular not just during Ramadan, but around the year in the UAE. This traditional vermicelli cheese pastry is made of butter, water, lemon juice, rose water, vanilla essence, almonds, pistachios, cheese, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar, baked to a golden hue for about 30 to 45 minutes. Famous sweet shops in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi like Al Sultan Sweets, Ibsais Sweets, Al Baba Sweets and Al Samadi Sweets are delivering Knafeh to your homes this Ramadan. Please check with them and confirm, keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation.
Basbousa is a simple semolina cake soaked in syrup and served with almonds and comprises of semolina flour, butter, sugar, lemon juice yoghurt, and coconut.
Maamoul is small shortbread pastries made of dates, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, figs and other dry fruits. It is very popular and widely consumed in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.
10. Umm Ali
Umm Ali is a delicious gastronomical dessert that originated from the core of Arabia. This delicious creamy pudding is served after Iftar meals and should be on your list of traditional sweets to try this Ramadan.