Ramadan in Nunavut: Reporter Meral Jamal shares her mother’s samosa recipe

Muslims in the territory continue to honour culture, home during the holy month

Samosas — spelled as ‘sambusa’ in some communities — is a staple for breaking the fast in many Muslim households. This is a picture of the ones made by Nunatsiaq News reporter Meral Jamal’s mother, Sajeda Jamal, who lives with the rest of Meral’s family in the United Arab Emirates. (Photo courtesy of Sajeda Jamal)

By Meral Jamal

It is the first day of Ramadan for Muslims around the world and for me, here at home in Nunavut.

The Islamic community in the territory is made up of roughly 140 Muslims according to the 2021 census.

Muslims observe the holy month between March 23 and April 21 by fasting between dawn and dusk, reflecting on our lives and refraining from unkind behaviour.

Personally, this is my fifth Ramadan in Canada and my first in Iqaluit.

This is a time when I miss my family, who live some 12,000 kilometres away, the most. As well, it’s a time that I feel the most disconnected from my sense of culture, identity and community.

What connects all this together is that much of the spirit of Ramadan is tied to food. Fasting means refraining from eating all food for between 12 and 15 hours wherever you are, and reflecting on poverty and hunger as a lived reality for many.

At the same time, breaking our fast each evening — what we call iftaar — is an opportunity to come together, share a meal and give thanks for another day to have passed in peace.

For Muslims who come from diverse countries and communities, this is one of the best parts. Whether one is from India, like I am, from the United Arab Emirates, where I was born and raised, or from other parts of the Middle East, Asia or around the world, food is the great connector. It’s the essential bridge-builder that captures the sacredness of a month that is so profoundly personal to so many of us.

In this spirit, Nunatsiaq News is sharing recipes for famous foods that Muslims who call Nunavut home like to prepare for iftaar, adapted to life and the availability of certain food items in the territory.

We start off with one of my favourite foods, especially during Ramadan: samosas.

There are more than 20 types of samosas, and their fillings can include cheese and meat and all kinds of vegetables. This is the recipe for the one my mother, Sajeda Jamal, who is from Gujarat in India, makes.

Recipe: minced meat samosas 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6-8 samosas


500 grams minced chicken or beef

200 grams boiled green peas

4 medium red onions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon red chili powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon all-spice powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder


  1. Clean the minced meat and add it to a hot pan.
  2. Add ginger, chili, salt, all-spice and turmeric powder and stir.
  3. Cook on low flame until the mince is dry and cooked.
  4. Add onions and peas.
  5. Use samosa strips or medium-sized tortillas.
  6. Wrap the samosas and fill them accordingly. You can find a recipe for using tortillas here.
  7. Fry or bake.
  8. Enjoy with tamarind or coriander dip.


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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Thank you for sharing on

    My family bonds over recipes and cooking as well and it’s so special that you’d share part of your family and culture with us today.

    A sincere thank you 🙂

  2. Posted by Yusur on

    Thank you Meral for sharing your mom’s Samosa recipe. I can relate to your article. This is my sixth Ramadan away from family. I am in Yellowknife. It feels isolating to be away.


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