Hnaina (eggs and dates) – Middle East Monitor


When people think of breakfast, eggs are usually one of the first things that come to mind. They are super popular, with every culture making them their own way, adding ingredients that are popular in their cuisine; from cheese, to bacon, potatoes, tomatoes and much more. Today’s recipe, Hnaina, includes an ingredient we don’t usually pair with eggs, but believe me, once you try it, you’ll wonder why more people aren’t having it. That special ingredient is dates.

Hnaina is usually made in Iraq as a pre-dawn meal during the month of Ramadan, as it is perfect to keep you full and energised for a day of fasting. A version of this dish is also made in Iran. It is a great way to use up some dates that aren’t as soft and fresh as they were, and despite being super simple, the flavour is anything but. You start by caramelising your dates in ghee or butter, making sure you keep your heat on the lower side to avoid burning the dates. You can chop the dates or keep them in halves. I personally like to have them in halves so they stay gooey, chopping them will give you a chewier texture. Then you simply crack your eggs over the dates, making sure they are spread evenly across the pan, and cooking your eggs the way you like. I like mine to be slightly runny, on the jammy side, but you can make them as runny or as set as you like. If you’re ever in need of a quick, delicious, and energising meal, look no further; hnaina is the dish for you.


1 tbsp ghee or butter

5-6 dates, pitted and cut in half

4 eggs




  1. Heat the ghee or butter in a frying pan. Once melted, add your dates and sauté until they begin to soften.
  2. Make sure your dates are distributed evenly in the pan, then crack your eggs over them.
  3. Once the eggs begin to set, lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook to your desired doneness.
  4. Serve with bread and enjoy!

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