Ramadan 2024: Rampuri Special Delicacies That Take Centrestage

Ramadan, also known as Ramzan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered to be a month of devotion. During this time, which begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon, people engage in activities such as  month-long fasting, collective prayer, self-reflection, self-analysis, self-control and alike.  

The fasting begins at dawn and continues until sunset prayers are offered at the end of the iftar, which is a cherished meal that is enjoyed among friends and family in both homes and mosques. Not only does the variety of foods that are cooked throughout the month of Ramadan differ from one area to another, but it also differs from one home to another, which is a reflection of the many culinary traditions and customs that exist.

In Rampur, a royal state founded by the Rohilla Pathans in 1774 under British colonial rule, food is the most popular and long-lasting part of the culture, despite the fact that some of its culinary glory has been lost over time. Today being the Jamat ul-Vida, the last jumma (the last Friday prayer before Eid), we thought to explore the Ramadan delicacies of Rampur. 

In the Muslim-majority old city of Rampur, Sehri, the meal eaten before dawn before fasting, starts two hours earlier for women. The women in both big and small homes, which often share a wall, walk to the kitchen to begin the Khichadi. In Rampur, sehri is a full meal that includes freshly cooked urad khichdi, achar's, chutneys, and leftover curries. The rotis from last night's dinner tastes yeasty and sweet, with curries. At this time, everything tastes different. Sweet sewai soaked in full cream milk is another favourite. 

In her book, “Degh to Dastarkhwan: Qissas and Recipes from Rampur,” Dr Tarana Husain Khan writes, “Around late afternoon or early evening, the ladies and the cooks start of the iftar and dinner preparations. The iftar settles into a daily menu of fritters, fruit kachalu (fruit chaat), boiled black gram or chickpeas, with some variations. The fried snacks at iftar leave very little appetite for dinner. A hush descends as the iftar siren sounds and the faithful mimic Prophet Muhammad to break their fast with dates. Though the Prophet could barely afford to eat anything more than dates, and probably milk on a good day. we gulp down lemonade and crunch on hot pakodis, black gram chaat, dahi vadas and the syrupy sweet kachalu chaat. The Rooh Afza drink, which used to be equally mandatory on the iftar table as the dates, has become too expensive for a regular appearance. However, to cool the overheated stomach people traditionally soak tukhm e ryan or balanga (basil seeds)  to drink as sharbet. Long before the basil-seed fad existed, we were made to gulp down the slimy cool seeds to beat the heat, especially during Ramzan.” 

During Ramzan, many gather with loved ones for a series of delicious iftar meals. All the way from intimate family gatherings to massive banquets. There's a lot going on socially, but it all kicks off around the middle of the month. During the first half, the men listen to Quranic recitations during the hour-long tarawih prayers before they settle down for a much-deserved dinner meal.   

In her book, she also mentions the ritual of smoking the communal hookah called Hookah Noshi. Rampurians used to do this after breaking the fast as a traditional ritual. Sharing hookahs in the mohallah's, or gher, the central courtyard was common practice. A refreshing splash of spring water helped keep it cool in the summer. The hookah was washed to freshen it. “Hookah Taza karna”, as it was called, and a garland of white Mogra flowers was entwined around its stem. Specifically for the month of Ramadan, the tobacconist would produce molasses-dipped tobacco. Soon after iftar, a portion of the tobacco was heated over coals and placed in the hookah. People used to sit around the hookah in a circle, and a servant squatted at the centre with the hookah while another person stood behind the stools. A new earthen pot filled with cool water and drinking bowls were placed nearby. 

In Rampur, the flavour of Ramazan from a noisy sehri to sumptuous iftar is quite distinctive. Tarana says, “As the time for iftari draws near, everyone is seized with cravings and the men are cajoled to get chart kebabs and inimitable keema samosas, the iconic crispy triangle filled with spicy mincemeat, urgently fried at only a few shops right before sunset, a special iftar snack.” 

Here’s how to make Keema Samosa  

For keema filling 

250 grams ground meat, lamb or mutton or beef 

¼ cup water 


1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste 

½ tablespoon coriander, roasted and grounded 

½ tablespoon cumin, roasted and grounded 

½ tablespoon red chilli powder, or more to taste 

½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder 

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder 

¾ teaspoon salt  or to taste 

For filling

1 cup finely chopped onion, measure after squeezing excess onion water. 

¾ cup green onion, finely chopped 

¼ cup green coriander, chopped  

2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped 

1 teaspoon chat masala , or as per taste 

1 tablespoon lemon juice 

2-3 tablespoon green chillies, finely chopped 

12 to 14 samosa patti , or spring roll wraps, see notes 

2 tablespoon wheat flour , mixed in little water to make paste. 

Oil, to fry 


Put the mince, water, and spices listed under the spices list in a saucepan. Keep cooking for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, or until the water evaporates. Take it off the heat. 

After the mince is heated, quickly combine all of the remaining somasa filling components. 

Make a paste of wheat flour and water, then fill and fold the samosas with the filling. Use the paste to close the ends. 

When the filling is ready, put it inside the samosa and fold it over. Seal the ends with a paste made of wheat flour and water.  

Fry the samosas in groups of two or three at medium heat until they are crispy. 

Remove to a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve hot.