4 Smart Ways to Prepare Haifa Ode Meals for Ramadan

For Fufu Kitchen content creator Haifa Ode, Ramadan is about togetherness and community. “Everybody just wants to worship, get together, do all the right things,” she says. “It's so beautiful to see everyone on the same page.”

Observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a time of celebration when Muslims abstain from food and water from dawn to dusk. It is also a time of increased faith and worship, and of course gatherings. During this month, it is common for Muslims to gather with family and friends for the Iftar, where food takes center stage.

Cooking is emphasized throughout the month of Ramadan, and finding yourself in the kitchen can be exhausting—especially when you're fasting. Haifa shared with me four great food preparation tips she relies on to feed and sustain her family and friends.

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1. Marinate the meat ahead of time.

Haifa finds that having marinated meat on hand makes getting dinner together much easier.

“At the beginning of the week, I'll marinate a variety of proteins,” she says, adding that she often goes for chicken and steak, setting aside a few minutes to whip up recipes like chicken shawarma and lomo saltado.

She advises against marinating fish, as salts and acids can change its texture the longer it sits.

In addition to the marinated protein, Haifa also likes to keep uncooked kofta, a cooked meat mixture made from beef or lamb, on hand so all she has to do is make it when she's ready to cook. If so, shape it into meatballs or skewers.

All of these meat options will keep uncooked in the fridge for a few days – up to two days for raw chicken and up to five days for beef or lamb.

2. Prepare the individual ingredients in advance.

There are many ingredients that will keep well if prepared ahead of time, especially vegetables. “Chopping takes time,” Haifa says. “If I'm going to make roasted vegetables, for example, I'm going to prepare all my vegetables ahead of time, and then I just marinate them in olive oil for a day. I'll throw it in the pan with.”

It also works well for salads, although it depends on the ingredients—hearty vegetables like cabbage and carrots will freeze well in the fridge for a few days, but chop ingredients like tomatoes and leafy greens ahead of time. If given, there is a risk of getting wet in them. .

For suhoor, the morning meal before fasting, Haifa likes to make sure she has all the ingredients she needs to make a smoothie, so all she has to do is mix. She also suggests preparing easy-to-fill foods like overnight oats or baked oatmeal to make mornings a breeze. And for a hydration boost that will last throughout the day, she always has sliced ​​watermelon ready to go in the fridge.

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3. Make the sauce and dressing in advance

Haifa loves making all kinds of sauces and dressings ahead of time, as she notes that they're easier to get out of the way and their flavors improve as they sit — tahini dressing is one of her go-tos. is one of

If she's making a salad with hearty vegetables and grains like couscous, she'll even prepare it a day ahead and let the ingredients soak up those flavors. The same goes for sauces, whether it's pasta sauce or curry—the longer they sit, the better.

4. Have the right kitchen supplies on hand

Meal prepping requires having the right kitchen equipment at your disposal to keep everything fresh and ready to cook when the time comes. For example, Haifa notes that you'll want to stock up on Ziploc bags and airtight containers for storage, as well as parchment paper, wax paper, and aluminum foil.

She's a big fan of quick pickles—from onions to cucumbers and radishes—especially during Ramadan, so she keeps a variety of containers on hand. It doesn't have to be fancy; She makes a habit of storing and reusing any store-bought product, such as grape leaves.

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