Nadia Hubbi is a food photographer, food entrepreneur and food blogger who was raised in New Jersey. She partnered with her childhood friend, Deana Kakabkibi, and together, they run the blog Sweet Pillar Food opens in a new tab, where they maintain the traditions and memories of their upbringings through cooking. Hubbi now lives in Los Angeles with her two children (with a third on the way!).
Ramadan is one of my favorite holidays. It’s filled with quality time with family and friends, and elaborate dinners with tons of food (which is basically a must after fasting during the day and not having anything to eat or drink…not even water!).
Deana and I use shortcuts when we can, and thanks to Saffron Road’s opens in a new tab products, ‘shortcut’ doesn’t mean compromising taste or quality. Just because your guests have been fasting all day doesn’t mean they won’t know the difference between good and bad food! Plus, all of Saffron Road’s food is halal-certified and have no hydrogenated fats or artificial colors. Here are some of my favorite tips for preparing your iftar table.
Have Some Snacks Ready to Go
We always have an assortment of various snacks ready on our iftar table: Dried fruit, dates and Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas, Sea Salt opens in a new tab. That way, our hungry guests can nibble on something immediately.
Make an Easy Dip
Dips and chips are also an important part of a Ramadan iftar table – and they’re also super easy to prepare. We like to make hummus (or you can just grab some Whole Foods Market™ hummus) and serve it with Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips opens in a new tab.
Start with an Easy, Small Soup
Every family’s traditions vary, but many start their meals with a bowl of soup. Some people think soup will fill people up before the main course, so I like to meet somewhere in the middle by putting soup in little shooters. Combine Saffron Road opens in a new tabCoconut Curry Korma Sauce opens in a new tab with Saffron Road Traditional Chicken Broth opens in a new tab. Let it simmer, and you’ll have a quick and easy soup! For something a little extra, top the soup with Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas opens in a new tab or Baked Lentil Chips opens in a new tab.
Make an Easy Entrée
For my family, dinner is incomplete without rice. We’ve used Saffron Road opens in a new tabChicken Biryani opens in a new tab for one of our two main dishes. We like to add our own touches to it by caramelizing an extra onion and adding some golden raisins to top it off. You can sear chicken, top it off with Saffron Road opens in a new tabTikka Masala Simmer Sauce opens in a new tab and bake it all together. Add some fresh cilantro, and you’re good to go. If you’re really in a pinch, just pop one of Saffron Road’s frozen entrees in the microwave and put it on a nice serving platter. There are many to choose from with so many different flavors from across the globe. One of my personal favorites is Saffron Road frozen Enchiladas al Chipotle opens in a new tab.
Don’t Stress Over Drinks and Desserts
Water is obviously a must after not consuming any beverages all day. Lots of Middle Eastern families like to drink apricot juice, but we tend to opt for a lemonade and mint drink opens in a new tab. You can squeeze your own lemons or you can make the whole thing a lot easier picking up 365 Everyday Value® lemonade at Whole Foods Market and adding fresh mint and honey or sugar on your own. Also, make sure to have enough tea and coffee on hand to serve with pastries, cookies, and dessert!
The most important thing – aside from eating – is that you get to celebrate an important time with your family and friends. That’s why I like to stop by Whole Foods Market to quickly grab all of these things I need, so I can focus on what really matters (and, you know, beat the hanger).