5 Tips for Preparing & Organizing the Ramadan Kitchen

published Jun 10, 2016
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(Image credit: Shifrah Combiths)

Tackling a month’s worth of meals during Ramadan might seem similar to tackling a usual month’s meals, except for one key difference: You’re fasting for most of the time you’d usually spend doing meal prep. Trying to doing that on a nearly empty stomach isn’t exactly easy. That’s why taking the time to get ahead before Ramadan begins is so important. It not only makes getting the two meals of the day — suhoor (before sunrise) and iftar (after sunset) — to the table easier, but it also gives you more time with your family during this holiday.

1. Stock up on dry goods.

“Prepping for the month begins with a large shop of most Ramadan dry staples, such as chickpea flour for pakoras; semolina for pudding; basmati rice; chickpeas; and spices like cardamon, cumin, nigella seeds, coriander, and cinnamon,” says Sumayya Usmani, author the cookbook Summers Under the Tamarind Tree. Having a fully stocked pantry not only means you have many of the ingredients needed for meals at your fingertips, but it also means less trips to the grocery store. “I try to minimize the number of trips I make to the grocery store during Ramadan, because shopping when I’m hungry always results in overbuying,” says Amanda Saab of the blog Amanda’s Plate.

2. Always have plenty of pita.

Add pita to the equation of any suhoor and iftar meal and it’s instantly more filling and satisfying. It’s fuss-free and always a crowd-pleaser. “One of my favorite things to keep on hand during Ramadan is pita bread. It helps when you are looking to quickly finish your dawn (suhoor) meal,” says Kaif Khan of the blog Quirk Kitchen.

3. Clean your house.

“As Ramadan approaches, I try to do a spring cleaning of sorts,” says Nazneen Hamilton, of the blog Coffee and Crumpets. “This includes the whole house. While we’re fasting, it’s quite hard to do strenuous household chores, so taking care of the vacuuming and basically cleaning everything is easier when you can eat! It also helps to concentrate on the real purpose of Ramadan — worship and family — if you are not worried about cleaning this and that.” It also doesn’t hurt that your house will be sparkling-clean when any family or friends arrive for iftar.

4. Load up the freezer.

Just like the pantry, it’s equally important to stock the freezer. “In Ramadan, late nights and early hours make it hard to sleep and wake up. We have late nights at the mosque and then get up early for the pre-dawn meal, so it’s hard to get the motivation to even get groceries sometimes. It’s much easier to have the staples at hand and meat in the freezer,” says Hamilton. Some, like Hamilton’s sister, make all sorts of savory pastries ahead of time and freeze them. Hamilton likes to make meat kebabs and freeze them for an easy suhur in the morning, along with eggs and naan. But it’s also OK to rely on similar items you can by ready-made at the grocery store and freeze.

5. Create weekly menus.

“Prepping for Ramadan means creating a weekly menu with a plan for what I will make for iftar,” says Saab. Starting Ramadan with a game plan will definitely make the month’s meals less overwhelming and you’ll be ready to tackle it with ease.