Top 10 Best Foods In Somalia

Ngoc Minh Tran 72 0 Error

For anything involving food from Somalia, or simply Somali food, Arabic, Persion, Indian and Italian nuances, along with other flavors from the Horn of Africa ... read more...

  1. Surbiyaan Hilib Adhi is a nutritious and delicious dish made mainly of rice and meat. It is a rice preparation consisting of large chunks of meat (usually goat or sheep) mixed with various spices, saffron juice, caramelized onions, etc. Its unique taste will surely bring you a delicious meal.


    • Caramelized onion and raisins
      1/4 cup oil
      1 onion, sliced
      1/2 cup raisins
    • Saffron
      1/4 cup water
      1 teaspoon saffron threads
    • Boiling the Rice
      3 cups basmati rice
      5-6 cups of water
    • The Lamb sauce
      2 pounds lamb, medium cut
      1 small onion, chopped
      2 medium tomatoes, chopped
      2 cloves garlic, chopped
      1-2 tablespoons coriander/cilantro leaves
      2 teaspoons coriander powder
      2 teaspoons cumin powder
      1-2 teaspoons paprika or a cayenne pepper
      2-4 tablespoons oil (use the leftover from the caramelized onions)
      5 cardamom pods cracked
      2 cinnamon sticks
      2 tablespoons lemon juice


    • Onion and raisin caramel
      Heat oil on medium heat, add onion, and fry until golden brown.
      Add raisins and cook until they are puffy.
      Let dry.
      Keeping one side, we will put this mixture on top of the rice.
    • Soak saffron
      In a small bowl, add saffron pour hot water into the bowl.
      Let soak for 4 - 20 minutes.
    • Boil rice
      Start boiling the water in the saucepan.
      When it comes to a boil, add the rice and sate salt.
      Cook for about 4 minutes, depending on your heat. The rice will be half cooked.
      Drain the rice in a colander and let cool until needed.
    • Cooking lamb
      In a large pot, fry lamb with oil until golden on both sides.
      Add sauteed onion until brown.
      Add cardamom, cinnamon, lemon juice. Then add garlic, add tomatoes, spices, and cilantro.
      Mix this until combined, then cook for 3 minutes until fragrant, add 1/2 cup of water
      Reduce heat to medium while simmering over medium heat until it comes to a boil, and then lower the heat for 10-15 minutes.
      Now we need the boiled rice, add it to the lamb sauce, sprinkle evenly upwards.
      Add the caramelized onions and raisins.
      Add saffron water.
      Cover pot and cook over medium heat until it boils. Then reduce heat to low.
      The bottom of the pan will be dry and free of water, making sure not to burn the bottom.
      The rice must be spongy.
    Surbiyaan Hilib Adhi. Photo:
    Surbiyaan Hilib Adhi. Photo:

  2. Maraq Digaag is a soup/stew that mainly consists of chicken and some root vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, etc. It requires cooking ingredients with various spices for quite a long time. It is served hot with bread that will leave you mesmerized.

    1 – 4.5lb (2 kg) Chicken (skinned & cut into small pieces)

    3 Tomatoes

    1/2 Onion

    1/2 Green pepper

    1 Jalapeno (seeded)

    4 Garlic cloves

    1 Potato

    1 Carrot

    3 Tbsp Vegetable or canola oil

    1 Tbsp Xawaash

    2 tsp Tomato paste

    1 cup fresh cilantro

    1 Tbsp Vegetable seasoning

    1 cup Water

    2 Tbsp Ghee (optional)


    Finely chop tomatoes, cilantro, green peppers, and onions, then mix well.
    Dice potatoes and carrots.
    Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the xawaash. Immediately after, add the chicken pieces. You don't want the seasoning to burn. Bake the chicken for about 2 minutes, then add the seasonings.
    Put the diced potatoes and carrots in the pot, then add the pureed vegetables. Add tomatoes and water, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

    Add 2 tablespoons of buttermilk or clarified butter (optional).

    Maraq Digaag. Photo:
    Maraq Digaag. Photo:
  3. Isku-dheh Karis is a traditional Somali dish that means "cooked mixed." It is a rice preparation consisting of meat and vegetables. The spice mix, also known as “xawaash,” consists of several spices like cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., which makes the dish amazing!


    1kg rice
    5 tomatoes
    1 bunch of cilantro
    3 garlic cloves
    1 half of the onion
    1/4 kg meat
    1 teaspoon of curry powder
    1 teaspoon of cumin
    2 packets of chicken stock
    2/3 teaspoon of salt

    Chop all the vegetables into a blender and add half a cup of water (add more if needed) and puree.
    In a large saucepan, add 3/4 cup oil and the cut meat. Add salt and seasoning.
    Add the chopped vegetables and mix well. Let stand for about 30 minutes and stir as needed.
    Boil 2.5 liters of water. Wash the rice and set it aside.
    In the pot with meat, check to see if there is still water and oil. Then put the rice inside and stir well.
    Then add boiled water and stir. Cook it until it is soft and little liquid remains.
    Then put the aluminum layer on top and put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

    It has a great fragrant aroma of the spices used, such as cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. This one-pot rice dish can be very addictive.

    Isku-dheh karis. Photo:
    Isku-dheh karis. Photo:
  4. Top 4


    Nafaqo is a Somali snack: crisps stuffed with eggs. People sometimes use ground beef instead of potatoes which also tastes great. These balls have a crispy outer layer, and you can serve them without adding anything else.


    3 potatoes
    1 egg
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 cup plain flour, dived in half
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    oil (for frying)


    Boil potatoes and eggs until fully cooked.
    Heat the chicken stock.
    Add flour and stir until smooth. Using a whisk will make the dough smooth faster.
    Add turmeric and stir.
    When the eggs are fully cooked, remove the shell and cut it into 4 pieces.
    When the potatoes are cooked, remove the skins and mash. Slowly add in the rest of the flour. Potatoes should be like a mass of dough. You may not need a full 1/2 cup of flour, depending on the size of the potatoes.
    Once the potatoes are mushy, clip some potatoes together and flatten them.
    Place a piece of egg in the center and roll the potatoes around. The egg is completely covered.
    Shape it into a circle or oval shape.
    Heat a pan of oil.
    Dip each potato ball into the stock and coat mixture.
    Drop it in the hot oil and fry until crisp, about 1-2 minutes.

    Nafaqo. Photo:
    Nafaqo. Photo:
  5. Top 5


    Xalwo is a Somali sweet made with corn starch, cardamom, sugar, and butter. It's popular in Somalia, especially at weddings, and is a sweet treat for everyone. Taking significantly less time to prepare and comes out as fun!


    5 cups water

    5 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1 cup cornstarch + 1 cup water (to mix the cornstarch)
    1 cup ghee
    1 cup canola oil
    1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
    1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
    1 tablespoon ground cardamom
    1.5 tablespoons of ground nutmeg


    Use a deep pot, put on high heat, stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 5 cups of water.
    Combine cornstarch, 1 cup water, and food coloring in a mixing bowl.
    Use a long wooden spoon to stir the cornstarch mixture into the sugar mixture, then stir in the butter and oil.
    When the xalwo/halwad starts to boil, stir, then cover (to control splashing) and let cook for about 10 minutes.
    Then, reduce the heat to medium and low and stir well for a few minutes.
    After 40 minutes, add half of the ground spices and stir them together.
    Remember to stir every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid lumps.
    After 2 hours, try to remove the ghee and floating oil with a spatula.
    After 20 to 30 minutes, add the remaining spices and stir well.
    Remove extra oil/dairy.
    Pour the xalwo/halwad into the greased casserole dish and spread.
    Let cool for at least 20 minutes before using.

    Xalwo. Photo:
    Xalwo. Photo:
  6. Kaluun Iyo Bariis is a popular type of fish preparation to eat with rice. It requires cooking fish in oil and seasoning with some vegetables. This dish is not only delicious but also very nutritious. It is considered a nutritious meal.


    2 x 1 lb (900 g) red snapper (whole)
    2 Garlic clove(s)
    2 tsp (10 mL) salt
    1 tsp (5 mL) fresh ginger (grated)
    1 tsp (5 mL) ground black pepper
    1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric powder
    2 tsp (10 mL) xawaash
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
    1 cup(s) (140 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
    Canola oil – for deep frying

    Tips for choosing to buy fish: Fish is fresh and shiny, not smelly. It has clear, convex, and bright red eyes. It also has firm flesh that bounces back when lightly pressed.


    Score both sides of the fish. Wash and dry.
    Put the garlic and salt in the mortar and grind. Grind and form a paste.
    Add fresh ginger, ground black pepper, turmeric powder, xawaash, and lime juice. Mix well. You can replace xawaash with berbere or curry powder, cumin powder.
    Rub the sauce evenly over the fish.
    Marinated cavity. If you have time, leave the fish in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. If you don't have it, fry it right away.
    Put the dough on a plate and then put the fish in the bowl of flour.
    Coat with flour.
    Fry in canola oil at 375°F / 190°C. Heat over medium heat. Make sure the oil is deep enough to cover the entire fish.
    Fry each fish for 3-4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the skin is crispy.

    Kaluun Iyo Bariis. Photo:
    Kaluun Iyo Bariis. Photo:
  7. Top 7


    Soor is a popular dessert semi-sweet dish from Somalia. It is a kind of porridge cooked from milk, sugar, butter, etc, and has a thick consistency. Soor has a delicate bland flavor that best with full-flavored meat or vegetable dishes. In Somalia, butter and milk are sometimes added to the ingredients to soften the wine. It is said that when you eat Soor, it sticks to your ribs, keeping you fuller and fuller longer.


    2 cups finely ground white or yellow maize flour (corn)

    4 cups water

    2 tablespoons butter (optional)

    Salt to taste


    Heat in a water bath until boiling.
    Add half a cup of cornstarch. Use a flat wooden spoon to stir. Slowly add in the rest of the dough to make sure there are no lumps. You will notice the mixture becoming thick. Use a wooden spatula every two minutes to knead the mixture. Continue doing this for about ten minutes or until the Soor no longer sticks to the pan. That's a sign of well-cooked soor!
    Tuck the Soor onto a flat sheet and shape it into a round or square mound. Cut into slices and serve. Alternatively, serve the individual portions in your desired shape.

    Soor. Photo:
    Soor. Photo:
  8. Suqaar Suugo is a delicious noodle dish consisting of beef cooked in “Xawaash.” This dish has an enhanced flavor due to the spices and gives the pasta a unique flavor. This version of pasta will delight you little by little.


    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil

    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

    1 small red onion, finely chopped 1 pound ground beef

    3 tablespoons Xawaash Spice Mix (recipe here)

    1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

    2 tablespoons tomato paste

    One 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with their juices

    Cooked spaghetti (or whatever shape pasta you like) and coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving


    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, add garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Cook, occasionally stirring until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the beef, Xawaash, and salt and cook, occasionally stirring to let the beef infuse the spices until the meat is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

    Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes (and their juices). Fill half a can of tomatoes with water and place them in the pot. Stir well to combine, making sure to remove any remaining debris from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat high and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, occasionally stirring as the sauce cooks for 30 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt. Serve hot when the pasta is cooked, with cilantro sprinkled on top. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days and reheated in a heavy saucepan over low heat (stir while boiling)..

    Suqaar Suugo. Photo:
    Suqaar Suugo. Photo:
  9. Gashaato (Kashata) is a famous Swahili sweet commonly sold and enjoyed in most of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda). It sometimes occurs in other parts of Africa, such as Yaoundé, Cameroon. These sugary snacks are made with grated fresh coconut or peanuts or a combination of the two. Some people use food dyes to make it more appealing, especially when it is made only with coconut. Use peanuts, a little grated coconut, and coconut milk for extra flavor.


    2 cups roasted peanuts shells and skin peeled lightly chopped
    1/2 cup coconut milk water
    1/2 cup coconut flakes optional
    1/2 teaspoon of each cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg spice
    1 3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt


    Spray about an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
    In a large pan, combine granulated sugar, coconut milk, cardamom, and salt.
    Cook over medium-high, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring when the sugar has dissolved. You can swirl the pan to prevent the mixture from burning. (Stirring helps to form crystals you don't want in the process).
    Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and the sugar starts to caramelize - about 10 minutes or more, depending on the stove. You can use a spoon to test the consistency.
    Finally, add the peanuts and coconut, quickly mixing until all ingredients have been completely combined. Remove immediately and spread the mixture on the prepared pan.
    Allow to cool completely and then cut into pieces with a sharp knife. Store in airtight packaging.

    Gashaato. Photo:
    Gashaato. Photo:
  10. Ful Medames is stewed fava beans (or broad beans), often seasoned with some ground cumin and finished with good extra virgin olive oil. The Egyptians served it with warm pita bread and played jazz music with lemon juice, fresh vegetables, and herbs. There are many ways to make this hearty, creamy mung bean porridge or dip.


    1 1/2 pounds dried fava beans, or broad beans
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    Tomato, diced, for serving, optional
    Parsley, for serving, optional
    Olive oil, for serving, optional
    Pita bread, for serving, optional


    Soak fava beans overnight in a large bowl of water.
    Drain the beans, put in a large pot, bring to a boil. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to low for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beans are tender.
    Drain and place in a medium bowl. Add the crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin and mix well to combine and coat. Usually, you can mash the beans along with the other ingredients, but you can also leave the beans whole and mix well.
    Add crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin to the beans.
    Serve hot and top with diced tomatoes, parsley, some oil, and pita bread.

    Ful Medames. Photo:
    Ful Medames. Photo:

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