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Ranginak (Date Walnut Dessert)

Ranginak is a traditional dessert that is popular in the southern regions of Iran, particularly associated with the Persian Gulf provinces. This region’s culinary traditions are distinct and deeply influenced by the local climate, culture, and historical trade routes that have introduced a variety of ingredients and flavours to its cuisine.

I was first introduced to Ranginak by Nahid Joon, my sister’s mother-in-law, who is originally from Shiraz, a city renowned for its contribution to Persian culture and cuisine. Shiraz, located in the Fars province of Iran, is celebrated for its poetic heritage and lush gardens and for its distinctive culinary traditions.

Nahid Joon’s Ranginak recipe is a testament to Shiraz’s rich culinary heritage. It reflects the region’s love for deep and nuanced flavours. The use of dates, walnuts, and a blend of spices in this dessert echoes the traditional ingredients favoured in Shirazi cuisine, known for its balance and subtlety.

This Ranginak is not just a dessert; it’s a piece of cultural heritage, passed down through generations, now extended to you as an invitation to explore the flavours and stories of southern Iran.

Basic Ingredients for Ranginak


Mejdoul Dates: Mejdoul dates are chosen for their size, sweetness, and texture. Dates are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, symbolising hospitality and abundance. They provide natural sweetness, reducing the need for added sugars.

Walnuts: Inserted into the dates, walnuts add a crunchy texture and a nutty flavour, creating a delightful contrast. Walnuts are also a source of healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants, contributing to the dish’s nutritional profile.

Whole Wheat or White Flour: This creates the outer coating, giving Rangeenak its distinctive texture. Whole wheat flour adds a nuttier, more rustic flavour and extra fibre, while white flour offers a lighter texture.

Oil and Butter: These fats are mixed with flour to create a roux-like mixture, which coats the dates.

Powdered Sugar: Used minimally, powdered sugar adds a subtle sweetness that complements the natural sugars in the dates without overpowering them.

Cinnamon and Cardamom: These spices are integral to Middle Eastern desserts, offering warmth, depth, and aromatic qualities that elevate the dish’s complexity.

Crushed Pistachios: Used as a garnish, pistachios add colour, texture, and a subtly sweet, nutty flavour that contrasts beautifully with the soft, sweet dates.

alternative ingredients

Nuts: Instead of walnuts, you can stuff the dates with almonds, pecans, or a mixture of nuts.

Flour: For a gluten-free version, almond flour or coconut flour can be good substitutes, though they will alter the taste and texture.

Sweeteners: If you wish to avoid powdered sugar, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup can be used as a topping before serving.

Spices: Nutmeg or allspice can be used as alternatives or additions to cinnamon and cardamom, depending on your flavour preference.

Preparation Tips for Ranginak

  • Pitting Dates: Be gentle when removing pits from the dates to avoid tearing them apart.
  • Stuffing Dates: When inserting walnuts into the dates, ensure they fit snugly but without overstuffing, which might cause the dates to split. This step is crucial for the balance of flavours and textures.
  • Toasting Flour: Toasting the flour is key to developing the nutty, rich flavor in Rangeenak. Do this over medium heat and stir constantly to prevent burning. You’re aiming for a golden brown colour, which signifies the flour has been cooked through and will have a pleasant taste.
  • Mixing Fats and Flour: When combining the oil and melted butter with the toasted flour, ensure a homogeneous mixture. It should have a moist consistency to stick to the dates but not so wet that it drips off.
  • Spicing Evenly: After removing the flour and fat mixture from the heat, evenly mix in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. This ensures that every bite of Rangeenak has a balanced flavour profile.
  • Coating Dates: When coating the stuffed dates with the flour mixture, be thorough. Each date should be well-covered to create a delightful contrast between the soft date, the crunchy walnut, and the spiced coating.
  • Garnishing: The final touch of crushed pistachios adds flavour and texture, and a pop of colour, making the dessert more visually appealing. Sprinkle the garnish while the coating is still a bit warm so it adheres well.
  • Cooling: Allow the Rangeenak to cool down before serving. This helps the flavours to meld together and the coating to set, enhancing the texture.

Serving Tips for Ranginak

  • Serve Ranginak at room temperature or slightly warmed.
  • Arrange the dates on a decorative plate or platter, and garnish with extra crushed pistachios and a sprinkle of cinnamon for an inviting presentation.
  • Pair with a cup of traditional tea or coffee to balance the sweetness.

storage tips

  • Store Ranginak in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • For longer storage, refrigerate for up to a month, though this may affect the texture slightly.
  • Avoid storing in a warm environment as the butter and oil can cause the flour coating to soften and become greasy.


Servings: 8 persons
Prep Time: 20 minutes


  • 500 g medjoul dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups whole wheat or white flour
  • cup oil
  • cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon
  • ½ tsp powdered cardamon
  • 1 tbsp pistachio, crushed


  • Prep the Dates: Begin by carefully removing the pits from the dates. Replace each pit with a walnut piece, gently pressing it to secure it inside the date. This step infuses the soft, sweet dates with a nutty, crunchy texture.
  • Toast the Flour: Heat a pan over medium heat and pour in the whole wheat flour. Stir continuously, allowing the flour to toast evenly until it achieves a golden brown hue.
  • Combine Wet Ingredients: Once the flour is toasted, reduce the heat and blend in the oil and butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add Spices and Sugar: Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom, ensuring the spices are evenly distributed throughout the flour and oil mixture.
  • Assemble the Ranginak: Coat each walnut-stuffed date with the spiced flour mixture, ensuring a generous, even coating. The flour mixture should cling to the dates, forming a delightful crust.
  • Final Touches: Arrange the coated dates on a serving platter. Sprinkle a bit more cinnamon over the top for added aroma and flavour, then garnish with crushed pistachios, adding a pop of colour and a hint of crunch.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Present your Ranginak as a festive and flavourful treat. It's not just a dish but a celebration of tradition and nutrition, perfect for sharing with loved ones. Nooshe jaan – may every bite bring joy and health!


This recipe not only offers a delectable treat but also a connection to cultural heritage, perfect for Ramadan or any special occasion.
Author: Nahid Joon

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