Tanzanian Ramadan Suhoor: Siblings Share Faith, Food, and a Wild Surprise

tanzania ramadan panorama

In the peaceful quiet of the pre-dawn hours, Dana and Daria in Tanzania woke up to prepare their suhoor meal.

They cheerfully measured out grains and poured water and some oil into a pot, cooking a warm ugalia gruel, a dense, cornmeal-based dish. As the gruel started simmering, they opened a package containing Mandazi doughnuts flavored with cardamom that they had purchased from the local bakery. In addition to the ugalia porridge and the doughnuts, they chopped fruits and boiled eggs, filling their plates with nourishing food to sustain them throughout the day.

With just a few moments left before the call to Fajr prayer, they finished their suhoor and washed up according to the wudu rules. As they stood to pray, the brother, Dana, took a step ahead of his sister, Daria, and began leading the prayer.

As they prayed, they felt the cool breeze that blew in from the Indian Ocean, a reminder of the coastal city of Dar es Salaam that they were visiting. Thanking God for His Kindness, they bowed in unison, grateful for each other’s company and the opportunity to worship their Creator.

The sun was now rising, but they felt ready to face the day ahead, strengthened by their faith and the bond between siblings.

As the siblings finished their Fajr prayer, they heard a rustling sound coming from outside. They looked out the window and saw a group of wild monkeys leaping through the trees in the nearby forest. Their guest house was near the Pugu Hills Nature Reserve, which is located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam and is home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of monkeys..

Dana and Daria were fascinated by the sight and rushed outside to get a closer look. As they stood beneath the trees, the monkeys chattered and swung from branch to branch, their furry bodies illuminated by the first rays of the rising sun.

Dana and Daria felt a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty of the natural world around them. It was a special moment they knew they would never forget.

Mandazi Doughnut Recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 egg
Oil, for frying


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and sugar until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter or oil, coconut milk, and egg until well combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.
Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth and pliable.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Cut the dough into desired shapes, such as triangles or circles.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok over medium heat.
Fry the doughnuts until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Remove the doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Serve the Mandazi doughnuts warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar if desired.

Closing Thoughts

Dana and Daria were raised on their grandfather’s farm where they learned the value of hard work and fell in love with nature. But what truly stuck with them were the captivating stories their grandfather told them from Islamic culture and the lives of Sufi saints. These stories left a lasting impression, instilling in them a deep respect for moral values like truthfulness. Today, they still cherish those memories and the wisdom imparted by their beloved grandpa.

Discover the rich tradition of storytelling in Islamic culture with the book series “Grandpa’s Farm Stories.”