Muqmad (Preserved Meat)

If there is one dish that is quintessentially Somali this is it!  I call it meat jerky Somali style. For the nomadic Somali people, food at its most basic is all about meat and milk (hilib iyo caano) and muqmad or odkac is up for there for my people.

The harsh desert climate and the constant travel meant that Somalis had to invent ways to make foods that would last for long periods of time, such as muqmad or odkac– which is preserved meat. The muqmad would keep for up to one year, which made it a wonderful source of continuous protein and energy for the ever roving nomads.

Huge amounts of meat would be cut into thin strips and then sun dried. After a couple of days in the sun, the meat would be cut into tiny half a centimetre cubes and then deep fried and preserved in ghee.

Once the meat was cooked it would be kept in a wooden container. Muqmad is also prepared for weddings and placed in a special container called xeedho (in the picture), which is decorated with leather and sea shells.  The xeedho is then be wrapped in cloth and given as a gift to the groom’s family members.

As a child I remember my grandmother slicing the meat in our backyard and hanging it on the washing line!  It was my job and that of my siblings to sit by the clothesline and shoo the birds away, much as my uncles and aunts did in the desert, except of course they didn’t have clotheslines to hang their meat on.

This muqmad recipe is from my mother via her mother and grandmother – ladies who were true nomads or reer guraa as we say in Somali.  My grandmother always liked to flavour the ghee with a bit of onion, garlic and cardamom. She said it gave the meat a wonderful depth of flavour, and everyone who tastes it agrees!

This recipe doesn’t require you to cure the meat by drying it in the sun, and takes a short cut by simply deep frying it. Our local butcher has many Somali customers and has learnt to cut the meat in muqmad or odkac style.  If you aren’t as lucky as we are, dice the lean beef into tiny quarter centimetre cubes.

Muqmad is a favourite breakfast food and is usually eaten with sabaayad bread or anjero.


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Muqmad (Preserved Meat)

Recipe by:


2 kg of lean beef or camel if you can get it (ask your butcher to cut it muqmad or odkac style or dice it finely yourself into ½ cm cubes)
500g ghee
1 cup of sultanas (optional, but it adds a sweetness that enhances the meat’s flavour)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste


1. Heat up the one cup of oil over medium heat and fry the meat until the meat’s natural juices has evaporated. This should take about 30 minutes. The meat will look like dried raisins or sultanas.
2. Drain the oil and keep the meat in a large bowl to cool. Add the sultanas. Keep the oil in a container and use to cook other meals.
3. Fry the onion, garlic and cardamom powder in the 500g of ghee over medium heat until the onion is nicely browned.
4. Sieve the fragrant and spiced ghee over the muqmad, which is now ready to be stored in an airtight container.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 + people

21 Responses to “Muqmad (Preserved Meat)”

  1. Fardus


    Do you sell it? if not, Do you know where I can buy some from?


    • Somali Kitchen

      Hi Fardus, no walaal we don’t sell muqmad. If you ask around in your local community there are usually people who are known for making great muqmad and often prepare it for weddings. Perhaps one of them could make it as a special order.

  2. Mo

    There’s company Fandhaal Product in the U.K. The specialist Muqmad

  3. Carolyne

    Thannks For This I Used To Eat At Our Neighbours(areera)i Was 6 Then To Date I Still Remember How Sweet It Was With Injera Friday Breakfast. Muqmad Is A Delicacy That Brings Memories, How I Miss Those Days,

    • Somali Kitchen

      Carolyne, it is wonderful that we carry so many memories through the food we eat. Time to relive those memories and make some new ones, Carolyne. So go and make some muqmad and anjero!

  4. Salah


    When does one add the sultanas?


  5. Iman

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post these amazing recipes for free! Please know that there are people out there who you are truly benefiting! I am Somali but only get to eat Muqmad when I am away visiting family, so it is nice to now know how to make it for myself. You should look into selling a book, I think it would do well! Thank you again for this wonderful blog.

  6. Megan Farah

    Is the muqmad ready as soon as I follow these instructions? Other recipes I have seen call for making the muqmad and letting it sit for one week, usually in a container made of dates.

  7. Iman

    Hello again, just a question! How long will this last for if refrigerated & sealed after cooking?

  8. Obsiye

    Thank you, you shared us amazing topic.

  9. evelyn

    hey so I have a question. if I made this a few days before hand would I have it warm or cold? its my first time making it.

    • Somali Kitchen

      Hi Evelyn, the oil preserves the meat so you can absolutely make it well ahead of time and eat as and when you like, preferably warm or hot as you would want the oil to melt. The meat can keep for months.

  10. Lyala

    Somali they use a ghee it has a good smell i need to know the recepi please it’s totaly difrent than you told

    • Somali Kitchen

      This is how we make it and we do also use ghee. We know there are other variations of muqmad – for example sometimes dates and spices are added or kept separately to eat with the meat.

  11. Kevin

    Hello and thank you for this beautiful site! Could I ask if the flavours of the Muqmad intensify/change over time? Also, I see you didn’t mention sun drying in your recipe (assume this wouldn’t be something everyone with be interested in doing!), do you know if any spices or salt is used to sun dry the meat?

    I love this dish so much and have been trying to make it, get very close but want to intensify the meat flavours!

    • Somali Kitchen

      Thank you, Kevin 🙂 you can sun dry the meat. My grandma used to sun dry it and then lightly fry it in ghee. So you can absolutely do that but we sun dry the meat without any spices or salt. These are sometimes added after the frying.


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