Eid ul-Fitr is one of the biggest festivals observed by the Muslim community across the globe. It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan when observing Muslims pray, self-reflect and abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.
Also dubbed “Festival of Sweets” or “Sweet Eid”, the three-day festivities are heralded by the first sighting of the new crescent moon.
The holiday is marked by friends and families coming together to celebrate, offering of a special prayer, exchanging gifts and envelopes of cash, giving to charity and of course, feasting on lots of good food.
Every Muslim culture celebrates Eid ul-Fitr a little differently. For instance, in Turkey, the celebration involves handing out candy and sugar-coated almonds to children. For Moroccans, the holiday spread is incomplete without sweet treats like Fekkas, Kaab el Ghazal and Ghoriba Bahla. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, traditional delicacies like Ketupat—which is considered a symbol of blessings and forgiveness—are prepared as part of the festivities.
From decadently drool-worthy desserts to hearty curries oozing with flavors, here are some of the best signature Eid ul-Fitr recipes from around the world:
- Kue Lapis: Kue Lapis is a colorful multilayered pudding made of rice flour, coconut milk, tapioca flour and sugar. Considered to have its origins in Dutch East Indies, the jelly-like snack is a festive staple in Indonesia. It’s also pretty popular in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. Whipping up this Instagram-worthy rice pudding is a laborious affair as it’s made by steaming layer by layer with alternating colors and warm spices.
- Shahi Tukda: Also known as Double ka Meetha or Indian bread pudding, this sumptuous sweet dish is made with slices of bread, condensed milk, sugar, ghee or clarified butter, saffron and cardamom. It’s a popular holiday delicacy in India and Pakistan. There are several theories regarding the origin of Shahi Tukda. Some believe that Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire in India, introduced it to Southeast Asia in the 16th century.
- Tusha Shinni: This lightly spiced melt-in-your-mouth dessert is made with flour, sugar, clarified butter, nuts and aromatic spices like cinnamon and cardamom. It’s a well-loved holiday dish in Bangladesh, particularly in the northeastern region of Sylhet.
- Lokum: Commonly known as Turkish Delight, these jellied cubes are made with cornstarch, sugar and rosewater. Some varieties are also flavored with orange blossom water, pomegranate or lemon. The traditional confection is a must-have during Eid celebrations in Turkey right along with gooey Baklava. The unique treat is thought to have originated 500 years ago during the Ottoman period. Turkish Delight is also well-known in the neighboring Balkan countries of Bosnia and Romania where it’s locally known as Rahat Lokum.
- Ma’amoul: No holiday celebration in the Levant cultures is complete without these delicious butter cookies that are typically filled with dates, walnuts and pistachios. Women in Levant households start preparing the shortbread cookies during the days leading up to Eid when it’s served to the guests with tea or coffee.
- Tufahije: Made of whole poached apples stuffed with caramelized walnuts and whipped cream, this epicurean delight is a key component of any Eid spread in Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans region. Some consider this dessert to have its origins in Persia. Although, it was introduced to the locals in the Balkans by Ottoman invaders during the conquest of the region.
- Sheer Khurma: Made with broken semolina vermicelli, this aromatic pudding is an integral part of Eid spreads in Southeast Asian households. Spiked with rose water, dried fruit and fragrant spices like saffron and cardamom, this luscious dessert is typically served right after Eid prayer in the morning. Sheer Khurma is considered a native to Persia that was introduced across Central and Southeast Asia through the Silk Route.