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 Iftar on a Shoestring

The end of Ramadan is near ― 5 tips on how to make it through the final week without going broke

 

by et staff

 

Although Ramadan is meant to be a lean month, over the decades it has evolved into a full-fledged bingefest. Traditionally, it’s a time of family gathering, which usually translates into huge iftar feasts that often cost an arm and a leg, but there are ways of cutting back on costs when it comes to preparing your meals. You just need to learn how to budget:

 

DI-Carrefour27-OM1. If you’re running out of supplies, purchase meat and poultry from the butcher’s and fruit and veggies from the souq as opposed to the supermarket, where prices can go up to double. Never buy more than you need.

 

2. Plan your remaining meals well. First off, if no one is coming over, either finish off leftovers or cook one dish for iftar. When you have guests, go easy on the amount of meat and chicken, as they will suck up most of the budget. Instead, go for one large platter of meat and one of chicken as centerpieces. Casseroles and vegetable entrees fill up the dining table and you won’t have to dig as deep in your pockets. Don’t bother with dessert, as one of the guests is bound to walk in with something.

 

3. Make use of everything you have at home. For example, if you have 16 packets of qamar el-din paste sitting in your kitchen cabinet, serve up the traditional juice instead of fresh drinks and cola. Two drink offerings are sufficient. You’ll probably also have nuts and other yameesh: Use them.

 

4. Recycle. Although many people choose to give leftovers away in Ramadan, you can keep certain things, especially if you have a lot left over. Most people make too much food for iftar and chances are you’ll end up with a few platters with a bite or two taken out of each. If those dishes happen to have bechamel sauce in them, you can always stick them in the fridge. Make some fresh sauce and pour it on top before browning in the oven an hour before serving. Leftover chicken can also be sliced and turned into chicken fatta or chicken pie.

 

5. Go for alternative ideas. For example, suggest people come round for a potluck (dish party) instead of doing everything yourself or go out for iftar with friends who usually divide up the check.

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