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9 Easy Things You Could Be Doing Right Now to Get Ready for Ramadan Cooking

Caution ahead: There’s a lot of chopping on this list, so let’s talk about what can get chopped away first. And yes, it is easy to do a little extra when you’re already chopping at mealtime now, anyway. If not, set aside a little time over the weekend or on a weeknight after dinner.

very chopped ingredients

 CHOPPING

Chop away, it’s good therapy. Trust me.

  1. Chop and freeze  fresh such as parsley, basil, cilantro and mint so that they’ll be easily accessible when cooking. This is great for making pizza, adding to soups and stews and even to marinades for grilling. Examples on how to do it are here and here
  2. Chop garlic now and freeze it. Chop a lot of garlic. You know you’re going to use it up all throughout the month since it’s on and in almost everything delicious, and much more than you might realize. Oh, and you could also roast it first, then freeze it but chopped raw garlic usually freezes better than the roasted version. It does, however, stay nicely in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. 
  3. Chop fresh fruit for all those naturally-flavored yogurts and smoothies you should be making at Suhoor time.
  4. Chop and roast your most-consumed veggies then freeze the for a quick pizza or pasta topping for a weeknight Iftar meal.
  5. Chop and freeze fresh veggies that may want to use in stir-fry dishes or as a base for rice dishes and summer soups such as garlic, ginger, onion, tomatoes, carrots and celery. You can even mix them together in a baggie for certain types of dishes, label and freeze:
  • For soups, make the mirepoix and freeze: diced onions, carrots and celery
  • For rice bases, such as biryani, mince these and freeze: ginger and garlic, yellow onion
  • For stir-fry dishes, julienne these and freeze: red and green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, kale, Swiss chard

PRESERVING

It’s never to early to preserve these things…

  1. Dry certain herbs that don’t freeze so well herbs in a cool, dark place. This means  you won’t be running to the store or further than the spice rack to flavor your meals when there’s 22 minutes left to sunset time.
  2. Dry citrus peelsThey’re great to make teas, add to stews, marinades and even to salads and salad dressings for a little more zing!
  3. Preserve tomato sauce and tomato paste. You know, for the million and one times you’ll be making delicious one-pot rice dishes, soups and stews for Iftar parties of no less than 35 people.

ORGANIZING

Organize your life or it will organize you…

  1. Make sure you have all the herbs and spices on hand that you normally use in cooking so that you’re a little more sure to end up happy with your meals. There’s nothing worse than being so hungry after a long fast or rushed during suhoor and the food you make or serve just doesn’t end up satisfying as you had hoped. Here are some fun globally-inspired spice labels we thought up with Sakina Design and they’re free to download, so…no excuses.
  2. Make your Suhoor AND Iftar menus now. Yes, like in the next few hours. Or at least get started. it’s actually fun to start thinking about all the new and traditional things you can make and once you’re organized you will feel so good. I can promise that much. Here’s how I do it.
  3. See what else is missing or low in your pantry and buy the items in bulk that you cook with the most: rice, beans, couscous.  Seriously, buy couscous in bulk. It’s quicker than rice (some cook in less than 5-10 minutes) and light enough to be wonderful for a Summer Iftar meal. Here’s one good couscous recipe for suhoor. 

 Anything else you’d like to add?

 

14 comments

  1. Dear All,

    Good Job

    it will be helpful if we get some special recipes for infants and kids.

    jazak allah khair

  2. jazakillah khair for such helpful tips

  3. Assalamualaikum, like to be linked to your halal kitchen

  4. Live to eat all mediaterian , Arabian food can u tag or give nice recepi for us to cook for any iccassion

  5. Jazakhallah khair for your tips… I remember using your tips last Ramadan mashallah you helped me feel in control in the kitchen during the blessed month. One thing I have done since is chopped and fried onions in bulk and frozen them in ziplock bags. I am of pakistani origin and make lots of curries. I use the prepared onions and frozen garlic and mashallah have reduced cooking time by half.

  6. Thank you so much for all the amazing tips!

  7. Salam~ Jazakumullah kheyr for the wonderful question (:

    Just one question, I have a small family of three- so how do you suggest the storage for all the chopped items?

    Thank you (:

    • @Nadiah- what a great question, masha’Allah. You could use ziploc-type bags because they are great space-savers for frozen goods and they freeze and defrost fast when you lie them flat, especially good for things like soups. For chopped veggies, you can do the same thing or get small freezer containers at big box retail stores, although you might even want to try your local hardware store- you won’t believe all the neat old-fashioned things they carry which are so practical and useful and freezing supplies are some of them!

  8. Jazakallah so much for the great tips and ideas. May we all have a great month and make the most of it, especially spiritual.

  9. Live to eat all mediaterian. Thanks for creating this wonderful post :)

  10. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post :)

  11. Assalaamu ‘alaykum Sr. Yvonne,

    I love the site. So resourceful mashaAllah. I plan to get my chopping on tomorrow morning inshaAllaah, but I’m confused about preserving and freezing. Hopefully, you can help me with some questions:
    1. They say cut raw onions become poisonous, is that a myth?
    2. If I freeze my base after cooking, would the taste change? (many of my meals use onions, tomatoes, coriander, garlic)
    3. Anyway to preserve chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers for storing in the refridgerator? After a few days they seem a bit slimy. Will oil and salt do?

    Again.. LOVE the site! May Allaah make it even more successful!

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