Flavours of WUR: Ramadan edition

Two Ramandan recipes from Salma Rian en Zaineb Louchahi from Marocco.
Salma Rian, PhD-student Agricultural Biosystems Engineering from Marocco.

In Wageningen, all flavours of the world can be found. Food Safety student Zaineb Louchahi (24) and Engineering Doctorate candidate at the Agricultural Biosystems Engineering department Salma Rian (24) share their favourite Ramadan recipes from Morocco: msmemen and almond briouat.

Msmemen by Zaineb Louchahi.

‘This dish is cherished in Moroccan households, particularly during Ramadan. It’s known by various names such as msmen and rghaif, which reflect the diversity of Moroccan culture, where influences from Berber, Arab, Andalusian, African and other civilizations blend seamlessly. It can be enjoyed plain, with a drizzle of honey or paired with savoury toppings.’


  • 400 g fine semolina
  • 400 g plain flour
  • salt to taste
  • 500 ml water
  • (sunflower) oil


  1. Mix semolina with flour, salt and water in a deep bowl. Knead for a minute, let it rest for 3 minutes, then knead for 5 minutes more until smooth.
  2. Roll out the dough into a long shape, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Divide into 6 portions, shape into balls, then flatten each to about 12 by 12 cm squares. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Prepare a workspace with sunflower oil and semolina, then spread the dough thinly into a 50 by 50 cm square.
  5. Fold into squares of about 12 by 12 cm (see picture).
  6. Repeat with remaining portions.
  7. Heat a greased pan until hot.
  8. Flatten each square to double its size (about 25 by 25 cm)
  9. Cook on the hot pan for 30 seconds on one side, flip, and cook for 1-1.5 minutes more, rotating to ensure even cooking.
  10. Cook for an additional minute or until done.
  11. Repeat for remaining squares.

Almond briouat by Salma Rian.

‘Ramadan is a month of religious and spiritual importance but it is also a perfect opportunity for family gatherings and community bonding. In Morocco, culinary traditions come alive to satisfy every craving tooth after fasting. From soups to juices, and from big warm meals to sweets, you can find everything on the iftar table. But if I could describe Ramadan for me in one smell, it would be almond briouat.

‘When I was a kid, I would be the happiest when baking these ‘goodies’ that my mum used to call ‘God’s reward for controlling your cravings for a full day’. It was something to look forward to after fasting, and making them the week before Ramadan was a way to bond even more with my mum and share days of cooking and baking with her. We would prepare food while listening to Ramadan-prep lectures and talks, watch movies or even just snack on whatever we were making. During the last two years that I have been in the Netherlands, I have still managed to keep the habit of doing it with her on a video call.

‘Now that you know what this sweet represents to me, I would be thrilled to know someone else tried it. Maybe it would also help start another family tradition somewhere around the world. It doesn’t take more than 1 hour, but the flavour lasts.’


  • filo pastry roll
  • 4 cups of raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp of orange blossom water
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • half a cup of room-temperature butter
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil


  • Put the almonds in hot water for a minute before cooling on a tray. Squeeze the almonds between two fingers to remove the peels and discard all peels.
  • On a parchment-lined sheet tray, roast the almonds until they begin to turn a light golden brown.
  • In a food processor, combine the cooled roasted almonds, 1 tbsp orange blossom water, sugar, cinnamon, salt and half of the butter. Pulse until an even paste is formed.
  • Roll small teaspoon-sized balls of the paste. With two fingers, shape into a small, triangular shape.
  • Once the roll pastry is fully defrosted, cut into strips (depending on the size of your almond triangle). Melt the remaining butter and brush the centre of each strip with butter before adding a piece of the almond paste at one end.
  • Fold the filo pastry roll dough over the almond paste (see picture), continuing the pattern, folding one triangle over the next until you’ve used all of the strip. Seal with a dab of melted butter.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the briouat on each side until golden brown all around.
  • Transfer the almond briouat directly from the hot oil into another pan with honey and remaining orange blossom water melted together over medium-low heat. Flip to coat fully.
  • (Optional) Top with crushed almonds, sesame seeds or crushed dried rose petals.

I hope you enjoy the sweet and Ramadan Mubarak Kareem (a blessed and generous Ramadan)

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