This is our first Ramadan away from Pakistan and our family. While we are keeping spirits high, there is no denying that we miss Iftars with the family and the general Ramadan vibe. Starting off, we were a bit anxious to fast for almost 19 hours as we have never experienced this duration before. However, a week into fasting, we are going strong and actually enjoying trying out new things to help us through this month. So in the spirit of “sharing is caring”, we wanted to write this blog talking about our tips and tricks to make this Ramadan another one to remember.
But before we go on, please share in this spirit, and leave us (at least) one thing you do for Ramadan food prep. Even if you are not observing Ramadan, do share your favorite meal prep tip. All of us should be able to benefit from it. 😉
- Menu planning
We have always been on and off with menu planning. But for the past month, we have been diligently making a menu every Friday for the coming week. This gives us time to shop for groceries and cook over the weekend. So for Ramadan, we are doing the same. We have two dishes for Iftar, one for dinner, and then a smoothie before we go to bed. With almost 19 hours of fasting, we don’t eat a meal for Sehri (or Suhoor). We just have a few dates and drink water. This break down of our meals helps us a lot when we buy groceries because then we don’t go on a shopping rampage and buy items we don’t need (that can and will happen when you shop on an empty stomach!!).
- Stocking up certain groceries
Our Iftar dishes are pretty much the same throughout Ramadan. We have 2 kinds of Pakoras; besan (gramflour) and daal (lentils) pakoras. The second dish is dahi barray. Therefore, rather than buying gram flour, yogurt and lentils every weekend, we buy a larger quantity that will last at least two weeks.
Another constant for Iftari is dates. We like to add a crunch to our dates and fill each with an almond. Not only does this become a yummy combination, it also gives us the nutritional and energy boost that is much needed post Iftar.
Some other grocery items that we stock up on include, pasta, quinoa, rice, split chickpeas, frozen pizza, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and rice noodles. These items are good to have on hand for days when we want to stray away from our planned menu. With these ingredients on hand, we can make some of our favorite quick-and-easy dishes.
- Pre-cooked and prepped items
While we are not the best meal prep-ers, there are certain items we pre-cook and ready for dinner/Iftar. One of these things is ground lentils for the daal pakoras. Rather than grinding some lentils everyday, we grind 1/2kg of it and store it in the fridge for everyday frying of pakoras.
The second item is spring rolls. This year, we have filled our spring rolls with minced beef and frozen them for days when we feel like adding another snack to our Iftar table.
While our Iftar cum dinner is quite filling, sometimes we feel like having a snack. So we baked a double batch of our granola. This stores perfectly well in glass container and becomes a great crunchy snack.
- Maintaining our recipe book
If there is one thing we can tell you for sure, it is that we are ALWAYS excited by food. We always say that our website can never have all of our favorite recipes, because we keep discovering new foods that we love. Thanks to family, friends, and the internet, we continue to come across different dishes. Many of these make it to our ‘favorites’ list and then perhaps feature on our blog. Therefore, maintaining our recipe book is an ongoing practice that we truly enjoy and in Ramadan it is no different. We have been trying a few new recipes and you will soon see some of them on our blog.
So there you are! Our 4 tips and tricks for Ramadan. Whether you are observing this month or not, we hope this gave you some useful suggestions. We would love to know what you do to make cooking and eating more enjoyable.