Ramadan Kareem! Rice and Peas the Lebanese Way

During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world fast from dawn to sunset for about thirty days. The month is the time for self-reflection. It is not only about abstaining from eating or drinking but also about guiding one’s thoughts away from worldly issues and focusing on one’s spirituality.

In Lebanon, Muslims make up about 60–70 percent of the population. Though in the last official census, which was carried out in 1932, Muslims equaled to about 40 percent of the population, according to more recent estimates, the current number is closer to two-thirds of the population. For the Lebanese Muslims fasting this Ramadan, the fast begins every morning after the morning prayer at around 4 or 5 AM when the sun rises. A meal called suhur is enjoyed before the sunrise and the start of fasting. The fast is broken at sunset with a meal called iftar – in Lebanon around 6 or 7 PM this year.

The iftar meal traditionally begins with a date with which the fast is broken. A date is not only a nutritious fruit that provides some instant energy after a long day of fasting but also significant in the sense that it is mentioned multiple times in the Quran and in Sunnah, the traditions and practices of Prophet Muhammad, as a fruit with which to break the fast. After breaking the fast, the iftar meal is continued with other dishes. In Lebanon, one popular and quick-to-make iftar meal is rice and peas the Lebanese way.

Rice and peas the Lebanese way (رز مع البازيلاء على الطريقة اللبنانية)


  • 300g Rice
  • 200g Minced beef
  • 200g Peas
  • Spices: salt, mixed peppers



Preparing the dish 

  1. Fry the meat in a pan and add the spices.
  2. Add the peas to the pan with the meat and cook for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add the uncooked rice and water to the pan. (1 cup of rice = 1,5 cup of water)
  4. Leave the dish to cook on medium heat for half an hour or until the rice is done.



The dish is served with some yogurt as well as a salad on the side – usually fattoush, a traditional Lebanese salad made with fresh vegetables and a sour lemon-pomegranate sauce. Another side dish often served at iftar is rakakat jibneh, Lebanese cheese rolls. Drinks should not be forgotten either! After a day of fasting nothing tastes better than a glass of one of the Ramadan juices, jellab (right in the picture), tamarind (left in the picture), kamareddine or irksouss.



This year Ramadan last from 10th of March to 9th of April. The month of fasting is followed by a two-day celebration Eid al-Fitr on 10th and 11th of April. Will you try this recipe during Eid?


To learn more about Ramadan and other traditions in Islam, check out FIME’s open and free online course: lahi-itakurssit.fi (in Finnish).

Manal Chatila, 9 huhtikuuta 2024

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