As a Muslima, do you often struggle to get in the spiritual zone in Ramadan or to maintain your focus and commitment to rejuvenate yourself with increased Quran recitations, memorisation and overall commitment to your deen?
Ramadan is a month of prayer and reflection but Muslim women can often feel like they missed out on the gains because they were too busy cooking and preparing iftar feasts for their families. Cooking and serving our families is a beautiful act of worship when you place the right intention behind it. But you don’t have to spend hours a day on it when you can utilise your time with other acts of worship.
Here is a compilation of the best time saving tips and ideas for you in the kitchen during Ramadan:
- Meantally prepare yourself and take 2 days out of the week to spend money and time on planning, shopping and preparing for the week ahead.
- Recipes – plan your recipes ahead, make an inventory of what ingredients you already have in stock and prepare a shopping list of the remaining ingredients you’ll need for the week.
- Plan one-pot meals like curries, stews, pastas to go with your side dishes and salads. Google search a key ingredient to see what you’ll need for the remaining ingredients.
- Always have a clean well-organised kitchen, this allows for a clear stress free mind for when you go in the kitchen to start your iftar prep.
Salads and Vegetables:
- Wash your salads and vegetables before storing them away – a tip is to fill a little bucket or a large bowl of warm water with some salt. Put in and soak your salads and veggies for about an hour and then store them away.
- For soups, salads and main dishes cut up your veggies once or twice a week and store in the fridge in airtight containers.
- Meal prep salads – lasts up to 3 days in the fridge. Simple ingredients like lettuce, cucumber, grated carrots, peppers, sweetcorn, jalapeño and olives can make up your base. You can always mix it up with some pre-cooked pulses, couscous and rice. To take things further, make it your healthy iftar meal by adding some protein. If you have this as a meal prep idea, cook your protein and put it in the fridge or freeze it in advance – this can be chicken breasts, steak cut pieces or chops and salmon (prep the salmon on the day as its really quick to cook). Don’t pre-cut avocado, tomatoes and veggies that will bruise, discolour or weep. They need to be added freshly chopped.
- For your salad dressing, there’s these little sauce pots you can buy so that you already have prepped individual sauces at hand. A basic salad dressing recipe is olive oil, honey, lemon, garlic and salt – adjust them to your taste, add a little chilli for a spice kick too.
- Slow cookers (crock pots), pressure cookers, rice cookers, food processors, blenders – the endless list of kitchen appliances have much to offer those on a time crunch.
- Taking out your long forgotten appliances or investing a little money into some new ones can save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
Pre-make / mix stock items:
- Mix up batches of spices for your tried and true recipes and seal in spice jars. Remember to label them and store in a cool, dark spot.
- As Ramadan is mostly around the summer months for us, enjoy fresh fruits and fruit salads in the first half of the week and then freeze the not so fresh fruits for smoothies later in the week. You can freeze whole bananas (skin on), pineapples, berries, apples, peach and pear wedges and kiwi etc. Make citrus juices for your smoothies and/fruit salads by squeezing and freezing the juices of limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruits.
- If you are a daily curry / stew maker, blend some base ingredients like ginger and garlic in advance and freeze them in ice cube trays. If you make things like pepper soup on a daily basis in Ramadan, why don’t you also blend in maggi and chilli together with your garlic and ginger, freeze and take the amounts you need on the day, add your onions (and tomato if you want) to your meat or fish of choice. A pressure cooker is a time cruncher for tough to cook meats like oxtails or hard (boiler) chicken.
- Tea: If you like to make your own chai, invest in filter tea bags – there’s different types of them on Amazon. Prepare your own bags of cloves, cardamoms, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise & dried ginger (or cut in a fresh piece on the day but don’t put it in the tea bag). Just store your tea bags in a freezer bag to store in a cupboard or put them in a jar and take one out every day for use. If you use tea leaves like green and mint, put them in towards the end of your tea prep and use a different tea bag for them to store away in. These filter bags are sure to make washing up your kettle nice, easy and quick as well.
- If you love to make bread or anything that involves a dough but it requires kneading time, prep a lot and portion them for freezing. Remember to take it out in the morning to defrost on your kitchen counter ready for a fresh bake later in the evening. Use a simple bread recipe so that you can shape the dough into cobs, buns, pizzas or flat breads.
- Hard boil some eggs whilst preparing other things to boost your meals or salads, and for your kids’ lunches and snacks.
Iftar get togethers:
Providing it’s safe and within the covid restrictions of your area, plan get together’s with your extended families and friends with each family contributing a different element for the iftar. Tip: don’t forget to portion out left-overs for each family to have for sahur.
May Allah make it easy for us. May we feel fulfilled during the blessed month and continue what we started for years to come – for consistency is like by Allah. Please remember the those who have passed away and the ummah in your duas.