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If you've never tasted Somali food, one of our favourite ladies of the #SJSTeam, Istabraq Yasin, has piqued our interest in making these lovely dishes this Ramadan. 

Malawah is an easy Somali dish to start with. They're pancakes that can be eaten with honey or sugar for breakfast or (one we personally like) with a classic Somali stew.

Let's get started.


Malawah aka Somali Sweet Pancakes


  • 3cups Self-raising flour 
  • 2 Eggs 
  • 1/2cup Sugar 
  • 1/2tsp Salt 
  • 1tsp Cardamom powder 
  • 3 cups milk 
  • Oil /butter for cooking



  • Take the eggs, sugar, milk, salt and cardamom powder and whisk them together.
  • Add the flour slowly to the bowl and mix until the mixture becomes a smooth batter.
  • Place a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and pour enough batter at the centre of the pan. Move the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter.
  • Drizzle a little oil on top of the pancake. Once it turns brown, flip the pancake and cook on the other side.
  • Remove the pancake from the pan and do the same with the remaining batter.
  • Serve warm or hot, either with sugar or honey or with Somali stew (recipe shared below).


Classic Somali Stew 

Xawaash Spice Mix: 

• Toast cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, 

cardamom, and cloves in a small skillet over medium heat, 

stirring, until lightly browned and aromatic, around two-three minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool. 

• Grind the cinnamon mixture in a spice mill or with mortar and pestle until finely ground. Sift through a fine-mesh sieve, put it back into a bowl, and then regrind any coarse spices. Stir in some turmeric and transfer to an airtight jar. 


Stew (Beef or Chicken):

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium. 
  • Add half an onion and half garlic and cook, occasionally stirring, until it softens, about three minutes. 
  • Add 1 tbsp xawaash spice mix and cook until aromatic for about a minute.
  • Add your choice of meat and tomato paste, and stir to combine.
  • Pour in three cups of water. Cover and cook until the meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, carrot, and bell pepper and continue cooking, thinning with water if needed.
  • Cook until your choice of meat or protein is tender and the vegetables are cooked through, about 15 minutes more.
  • Season with 1 Tbsp. salt. 
  • Serve with rice or malawah, and enjoy!
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