8 Essential Ingredients You Should Have In Your Kitchen For Ramadan

8 Essential Ingredients You Should Have In Your Kitchen For Ramadan

Stock up on ingredients that are healthy, nutritious, economic and with a long shelf life this fasting season

We all know how grocery runs during Ramadan can get pretty overwhelming, and it might get worse during this social-distancing-staples-rationing coronavirus pandemic. Still, choose (as best you can), ingredients that are healthy, nutritious, economic and with a long shelf life. Here are 8 essential ones that deserve a place in your pantry this fasting season. 

1. Brown Rice

Just like mom usually says, no meal is complete without rice. Brown rice is a nutritious staple to have in your kitchen as it’s higher in fiber, minerals and vitamins than the average white rice. On top of that, this whole grain alternative also optimizes your digestive system, making you feel full longer. Perfect for a long fasting day ahead. Find brown rice in your supermarket’s rice aisle and be sure to store it at room temperature. When uncooked, the grains can last up to 6 months. Before you cook it, always remember to throw in more water in your rice cooker as it has an extra bran coating. While brown rice isn't normally the tastiest grain, its chewy, earthy hint goes a lot better on salads than its white counterpart. 

2. Oats

A bowl of Dark Chocolate Caramelised Banana Oats, recipe here

One for the gain and the brain, oats are highly nutritious and contain more fat and protein than most grains. It’s packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But this is the real clincher- if you’re looking for something that can make you feel full longer during Ramadan, you can count on this complex carb. Instant oats is commonly found in major grocer’s and typically placed in the cereal aisle. As long as you store them in an airtight container at a cool dry place, oats last up to 1-2 years in your pantry. Plus, if you’re looking for a quick Sahur solution, why not start on a sweet note with a bowl of Dark Chocolate Caramelised Banana Oatmeal? An easy meal with zero frills. 

3. Sweet Potatoes

A plate salted baked chunky Sweet Potato Fries, recipe here

As we welcome the season of gratitude, one thing to be thankful for is the abundance of sweet potatoes in the region. These sweet root vegetables are highly nutritious as they are rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. They are also known to be beneficial for gut health and help to prevent gastric ulcers. Sweet potatoes can be found in a supermarket’s fresh produce section. Raw sweet potatoes can be stored up to 2 weeks and if you store it right, you can maximize it up to a month. Be it savory or sweet, there are many simple ways to cook a sweet potato. Whichever way you like it served, it’s an excellent carb option for Sahur as it boosts metabolism.

4. Chia 

Chia works best when absorbing liquids, including a sprinkle of it in this Deliciously Creamy Matcha Blueberry Smoothie, recipe here

These tiny black seeds might be tiny, but they are mighty high with nutrients like proteins and fiber. They do an amazing job in retaining water, making them a key to keeping your body hydrated during a fasting day. One of the earliest uses of Chia was in ancient Mayan, as they were considered to be a dietary staple due to its ability to sustain energy. The superfood is usually found in either baking or spice aisles and sold in bulk. The shelf life on Chia seeds go up to several years, but keep them stored in a cool, dark place. It’s a crunchy supplement to juices and yogurt, but the most foolproof way to eat it is by adding a spoonful to your 8 glasses a day.

5. Edamame

A warm snack of salty, garlicky Asian Lime Edamame, recipe here

These Japanese soybeans pack a whole punch of proteins, fibers and antioxidants. Almost like peas in a pod, they are low in carbs so you can easily enjoy them as a guilt-free snack or by adding them to your salad bowl as a topping. It’s also suitable for diabetics due to their low sugar content, which does good for your metabolism too. You’ll find Edamame in the frozen section of your favorite supermarket and it lasts up to 12 months in your fridge. This can be the perfect Iftar snack to break your fast with as preparing Edamame takes only 3 very simple steps: Thaw, boil, serve. And the best part is that it only takes 7 minutes!

6. Olive Oil

If there’s an item that you should have in your pantry 365 days a year, it’s olive oil. With its rich anti-inflammatory properties, it’s known to be the healthiest oil of all. Frying with extra virgin olive oil is known to make food even more nutritious, but don't go too high or it might break down and become harmful. The oil also works in favor with your digestive system as it prevents constipation and indigestion. Any good grocer’s will carry a range of olive oil, but always remember to get extra virgin as it’s the least processed. The shelf life of olive oil is extensive, but once opened, it’s best to use it within 6 months. There are so many ways to reap the benefits of this oil, be it as a dip, salad dressing, cooking oil, or drizzled on roasted vegetables.

7. Dates

A sweet-savoury Red Dates Omelette, recipe here

You know Ramadan is here when you’re surrounded by a surge of dates in your neighborhood grocer’s. The dried fruit is ubiquitous during Ramadan and eaten religiously for Iftar. Naturally sweet, dates are a great snack to break the fast with as it’s a fantastic source of energy. Better yet, if you eat just 4 of them, you’ve already fulfilled 15% of your daily requirement of essential minerals! On a normal day, dates are usually found in the dried fruit or baking section of a supermarket. During Ramadan though, you’ll easily find the dates displayed as soon as you step in. If you store your dates in the fridge well, you can keep them for the next 6 months. While it’s a great sugar substitute, you can try eating it with cheese for an impromptu fancy Iftar snack.

8. Eggs

A satisfying handful of Soy Sauce Marinated Eggs, recipe here

Where would life be without eggs? Anywhere you go, it’s a popular choice of proteins. Having these bad boys at the start of your fasting day is a good way to maximize your meal as they’re really filling. It also packs a bunch of vitamins and minerals that helps your nervous system work effectively, so your mind can stay sharp throughout the day. Eggs are so amazing they usually have their own corner in the supermarket. The shelf life of eggs vary, but they can last up to three weeks after purchase when stored in the fridge. There are so many ways to prepare an egg and incorporate them into your diet. Whether you like it baked, boiled, fried, or even poached, eggs are the OG of versatility.

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