For many Arab Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, it’s not Eid without ma’amoul

Palestinian women make traditional pastries filled with dates or nuts known as mamamoul.

AFP Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

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AFP Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

Palestinian women make traditional pastries filled with dates or nuts known as mamamoul.

AFP Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

As Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, comes to an end, many Muslims are preparing to break their fast and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their friends and family.

The festival kicks off Ramadan and brings entire communities together for feasts and potluck. But regardless of what size the gathering is, a safe bet is that they’ll all include mamamoul—traditional semolina cookies often filled with a mixture of dates or walnuts. Many Arab Muslims spend the entire last week of Ramadan making these holidays enjoyable.

Reem Asil says, “Mamaul is a claim of fame to many Arabs who celebrate Eid.

Asil is a Palestinian-Syrian chef from the San Francisco Bay Area. in your first cookbook Arabia: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in the Diaspora, She remembers watching the wooden molds in which the cookies are pressed come out each holiday season and working with her sisters to “make these labor-intensive cookies with gusto.”

“Eid is actually one of my favorite holidays I think because it is a time to come together and celebrate life after a month in collective struggle,” Asil says. “The act of abstaining from food and drink for a month with our community and what really matters most is our own health and well-being and devotion to God for many, but for me as well as the community. And then we celebrate together after successfully achieving this colossal achievement.”

Many Eid meals include a main dish for the table such as dajaj mahshi or chicken stuffed with spicy rice.

Alana Hale

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Alana Hale

Many Eid meals include a main dish for the table such as dajaj mahshi or chicken stuffed with spicy rice.

Alana Hale

For the past five or so years, Asil has spent Eid al-Fitr working on special Ramadan treats in his bakery and restaurant locations, but this year he’s getting to spend with his family in the Los Angeles area, including His mother is also involved. There is a plan to make Mamaul with

“I am really excited to be able to celebrate Eid with him this year,” Asil said. “My mom makes a more unique version called Mamamoul’s Made, which is like a semolina cookie bar. So you do layers of semolina cookie, then filling and then more semolina, and then you finish it with powdered sugar.

In addition to mamamoul med, Asil plans to make a lamb dish with stuffed grape leaves and spiced rice, which she says is an essential meal for the table. Recipes for all those recipes can be found in her new cookbook.

Arabia, Which translates to Arab woman in Arabic, is for anyone and everyone, says Asil, whether they know Arab cuisine or not. Many of the recipes in the book are meant to be shared at mass gatherings, and after two years of pandemic isolation, Asil hopes the book will inspire people to channel their own Arab hospitality and connect with others.

“The biggest tenet of Arab hospitality is that it is a virtue,” says Asil. “You should make anyone who comes into your home, friends and strangers alike, feel at ease and that they are safe and have a sense of belonging.”

Along with recipes and community building, Asil continues her life-long work as social justice counsel by telling history and sharing the varied experiences of Arab Americans.

“I wanted to challenge the people around the story of the Arabs in this country,” she says, alluding to the increased anti-Muslim sentiment after the September 11 attacks. “It’s like you were either a terrorist or a refugee or a victim. And I just wanted to smash them all [tropes], I really wanted to present an adventure story of choice, this is me and it’s called Arabia, So it’s really about being an Arab woman … and how that informs the food I cook.”

“I really wanted to tell the story of resilience through food. You know, hopefully the stories and anecdotes really show how these recipes are like clues to how Arabs have been able to make a home away from home, how They are able to create community, bring people and change hardships to really nutritious food.”

These orange and espresso date cookie bars are Asil’s take on Mamamoul Made by her mom when she was growing up. Asil says he added his own spin on the recipe with these Flavors of California.

Alana Hale

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Alana Hale

Mamaul Made معمول مد

Orange and Espresso Date Cookie Bars

makes 24 pieces


1½ cups/245 grams semolina flour

1⅓ cups/187 grams all purpose flour

tsp/2 g kosher salt

cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp/3 g ground mahlab or amaretto extract (optional)

tsp/2 g active dry yeast

1 cup/200 grams melted ghee or soft ghee


2 cups/225 grams dates

1 tbsp/15 g soft butter or ghee

1 tsp/3 g espresso powder

tsp/2 g ground cinnamon

tsp/2 g orange peel

tsp / 2 g ground cardamom

cup/120 ml whole milk

2 tsp/12 ml orange flower water

For dusting confectioners’ sugar

To knead the dough: In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, mahlab and yeast. Pour the butter into the dry ingredients and mix by hand or in a mixer until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap or dish towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Dip the dates in hot water until the flour mixture is relaxed, and let them soak for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Once they are soft, drain them well and pulse to form a sticky paste in the bowl of a food processor with the butter, espresso powder, cinnamon, orange zest and cardamom. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the dough will be tough, so use a wooden spoon or other utensil such as a dough cutter to break up the dough a bit. Add milk and orange blossom water to the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Let stand at room temperature for another 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut four sheets of parchment paper to fit an 8 by 11-inch sheet tray.

Make a dough and divide it into 2 equal parts.

Press half the dough onto a sheet of parchment. Layer a second piece of parchment on top and, using a rolling pin, roll an even-inch layer across the sides of the paper. Remove top layer of parchment and invert dough onto sheet tray. Reuse sheets of parchment and roll out another ball of dough. Cancel.

Sandwich the date filling between two new sheets of parchment and roll up to the edges of the paper in an even -inch layer. Remove the top sheet and invert the date layer over the dough. Remove remaining parchment. Invert the remaining dough onto the date of the filling and remove the last sheet of parchment.

Transfer sheet tray to oven and bake until lightly golden brown at edges, turning tray once, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and, when it is cool enough to touch, cut the bars into 2- to 2-inch squares. Transfer tray to wire rack to finish cooling. When bars are completely cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

The bar can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Variety: Ashta Cream Filling

1 recipe clotted cream

cup blossom syrup

cup ground pistachios

To make date filling with cream filling, follow the same assembly process but spread clotted cream over the bottom layer of dough. Top with a second layer of rolled out dough. Press gently and bake. After removing the pan from the oven, immediately sprinkle the syrup over the top and sprinkle with the pistachios. Let set at room temperature for 15 minutes. When it is cool enough to touch, cut the bar into 2-inch squares and serve. The bar can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

reprinted with permission from Arabia: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in the Diaspora By Reem Asil, Copyright © 2022.

Published by Ten Speed ​​Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The audio version of the story was produced and edited by Linah Mohamed and Patrick Jarenvatanen.

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