The month of Ramadan is upon us and in South Africa we break our fast very early in the evening in winter. Magrib and iftar is at 17:47 and many people only leave work at 17:00. This often means it’s a rush to get food on the table and then to clean up before eventually getting to your evening prayers.
Here are some time-saving tips to make Ramadan more about your spiritual journey and less about your iftar meal preparations.
Preparation is key
I usually make a big pot of vegetable soup for the week and divide into portions to be served at iftar each night.
Make sure your fridge and freezer is stocked with foods that can simply be heated/baked/fried so that you don’t need to spend an age in the kitchen. We’d all rather be spending time in prayer and resting our bodies during this month.
The freezer is your friend
See to it that you have meals in your freezer that can be popped into the oven (think pizza or pie) or fried in minutes (samoosas, springrolls, cutlets). Products like frozen fish fillets and chicken portions are also great meal options for the busy person who would rather use the time in prayer rather than cooking. Just pop into the oven and serve with a side salad or roast vegetables.
Divide and conquer
If you’ve got school-going children, have them set the table while you’re preparing your evening meal. It’s nice to get the whole family involved in iftar preparations. And afterwards everyone can help with the cleaning up too. Remember many hands make light work.
If you have no children or they’re not at an age where they can perform tasks like table setting, then you can set your table in the morning so that it’s one less thing to fret about when you get home.
I know I mentioned above that having frozen savouries saves time, but try not to eat deep fried foods every night. It’s nice to have a mezze of grilled veg, salad, hummus, baba ganoush, etc on the table instead of samoosas and pies. Eating a healthy meal will also make you feel less sluggish and more energetic and you need the energy for taraweeh prayers.
And if you can help it, don’t prepare a meal for an army. Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs and the moment we break our fasts, we realise that we can’t actually eat all of the food that we’ve prepared. So be realistic about the portions you’re able to consume.
What tips do you have to share to make the busy, working family’s life easier this Ramadan? Tell me in the comments section below.