7 Tips to Get Ready Ready to cook during Ramadan
Do keep in mind that Ramadan is not a food festival. It is so much more than that, and like everything else, it does not last. So we need to prioritise because before we know it, the month of Ramadan with all its blessings will be gone, giving way to the other months.
So, without further ado, below are some of my tips to help you become more organised in the kitchen during the month of Ramadan:
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1. Have a pre-Ramadan clean-up session
Since we do not want to be spending a lot of time and energy doing any major cleaning up in our kitchen during Ramadan, it makes perfect sense to do this beforehand. Depending on the size and state of your kitchen, you can do this as early as three weeks ahead.
• Getting rid of any unwanted materials or ingredients to make space for the items that you will need for Ramadan. • Wiping (inside and outside) your oven, microwave, cabinets, fridge, freezer, windows, kitchen counter, stove top and floor. • Designating a home for all your ingredients and kitchen utensils or tools.
2. Start planning your Ramadan menu
Now that we have got the cleaning covered, it is time to move on to meal planning. I believe that doing this in advance will help make our transition into Ramadan easier. You can start planning the menu two weeks ahead: sit down and spend about an hour or two to list down all the dishes that you plan to serve throughout the entire month and prepare a shopping list for the ingredients that you need.
3. Preparing your meals ahead
I recommend that you consider including meals that can be made ahead of time in your menu. They are essentially dishes that you prepare in advance, and then freeze and reheat when you want to serve them. Examples of such meals include stews, soups, sauces, porridge, curry dishes, and many more. These meals can be made to last for months (most food items will keep up to 3 months if stored properly), which will save you so much precious time during Ramadan.
4. Storing fast and easy foods
Foods like rice, bread, eggs, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits, canned fish, barley, cereals, frozen vegetables and baked beans are among my kitchen staples. They’re versatile, easy to make and I always make sure I have them around in case I’m in the mood for some instant nourishment without having to put in too much effort to prepare them.
3. Stock up on kitchen helpers
Items like cling wrap, foil, paper towel, plastic bags and food containers (preferably glass if you plan to reheat them in the microwave) come in many brands and sizes, some of which are very, very cheap. They are useful to have in the kitchen, especially when it comes to meal preparation and storing leftovers or make-ahead meals.
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4. Go shopping
Now that you have your list, it’s time to hit the supermarket! Knowing when to buy what is also important. Ideally, we would all want to cross off every single item on our list in one shopping trip. Unfortunately, this is not always practical. If you are going to cook right away, then there’s no problem with this. But if you plan on doing it on some later date, then it is best to stock up on all the kitchen gears and non-perishable foods you will need for Ramadan first (examples: dry foods like grains, canned goods) and leave out the easily perishable ones (examples: fresh herbs and green, leafy vegetables) for later, as they don’t last long.
6. Get familiar with kitchen shortcuts
These are tricks that can make your life as a home cook less stressful, as they help cut your work short. If your goal for this Ramadan is to have an easier time in the kitchen, then you should learn as many shortcuts as possible. For instance, using a food processor to chop onions (especially when you need to use a lot of them) and soaking cut fruits in saltwater to prevent them from turning brown are just a few examples of the many tips available out there.
7. Keep things uncomplicated when hosting iftar parties
For many Muslims, iftar parties are a must during Ramadan. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to go overboard in planning them resulting in overly stressed out and tired hosts and banquets of meals that make you too tired for ibadah afterwards. To avoid this, the key is to keep things simple. Plan ahead and be realistic about what you can and cannot do. If you cannot cook for more than 20 people, keep the number of guests below that or if this is not possible, then consider other options like recruiting extra help, serving store-bought foods or better yet, turning it into a “bring-a-dish” party, where everyone pitches in and brings along one dish. N