Every year I get asked what or how I prep my kitchen for Ramadan. And the answer is always, "The Essentials." Now I know many of you think, she probably stocks her freezer, preps half her meals and has everything ready. And the simple answer is no, not always.
With young kids, homeschooling, blogging and well, just life, there's a lot always going on. I've always tried to prep the dirty work, throughout the year so I can manage my household and get all my tasks for the day done. And with the blessed month upon us, I just prep a little more than my usual but nothing out of the ordinary.
So here's my go to list of staples I keep on hand for a smooth month of easy cooking.
Condiments / Chutney's / Stocks:
To me, more than a freezer stash or prepping the food, it's all about the condiments and stocks. If I have my pantry stocked, my spices organized and my condiments and broth ready, that's all I need for a successful Ramadan Kitchen.
Bone broth or stock is an essential I rely on during the blessed month. Making sure we are well hydrated for the next long day of fasting, making sure we are getting enough nutrients our body needs to get through the month is so so important. A staple I keep throughout the month in the freezer and the fridge to have daily or to add to make quick meals.
Chutney's are also an essential part of South Asian culture and street food. Ramadan is a time where my tastebuds crave the spicy, tart and sweet things. Chutneys help curb those cravings but also are a great way to amp up any dish. Use the chutney's in a chickpea salad/chaat, spread some on a sandwich or marinate some on a chicken. So many uses for such a humble puree but so much flavor.
Pro Tip: Freeze half of your chutney's in ice cube trays to use later in the month fresh!
Syrup / Fat / Paste:
There are certain foods you associate with Ramadan and for South Asians that is Rooh Afza and Ghee. Rooh Afza is a simple rose syrup mixed in water or milk to give you a refreshing drink while breaking your fast. Ghee is a healthy fat that all our mothers would have huge tins of ready to go for rotis, parathas or to make desserts with. These staples are two indulgent condiments I keep during Ramadan because one, childhood, and two, because they are great to have on hand for quick desserts. These homemade versions are dye free and allergy friendly!
Aside from these two syrup and fats, if you follow me regularly, you know Garlic Ginger Paste is an essential in my kitchen year round. I literally can not cook without it. It's a little work to peel the garlic and ginger but makes a world of a difference in the flavor outcome of your dish. Another staple I stock up on and prep extra for the month to come.
Although I concentrate on condiments more, here is a freezer staple stash of things I keep a few of, on hand to help during the blessed month. Let's be real, no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen around food while fasting, and you don't want to waste half the day guessing and cooking a lengthy dish without being able to taste and check if the salt is ok.
These are great items to have on hand not just for the meal itself but to turn them into different dishes on rotate. For example, save some extra samosa filling for pastas or casseroles, or for your morning eggs. Kabobs can be used to make bun kabobs or quick sandwiches.
This freezer stash is mainly items my boys enjoy, and because of their ages not all of them fast. So the last thing you want to do is be prepping meals for the ones not fasting and then cooking separately for iftar. Make it easy for yourself during the day and have some things handy in the freezer to get you through the month.
I pray we all reach to see another Ramadan and many Ramadan's to come, I pray for health, safety and a blessed and beneficial month for all.
Stay tuned for a recipe roundup of meals to try during the month of Ramadan!