Ramadan is coming up, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you can prepare for a smooth month ahead. Below you’ll find several make-ahead freezer-friendly recipes and ideas. I’ve also included tips on how you can freeze and reheat many of them.
I started getting wise about freezing a few months ago when I became a mom of two. I had to shed any food snobbery and really think about maximizing my time in the kitchen. What I found was that if you freeze the right things in the right way, there’s actually little to no detectable difference in the quality of most food.
Here are 3 helpful rules for Freezing:
- Water expands when frozen, so any food that can take a little dehydration will freeze well. Most South Asian foods (curried meats, lentils, beans, etc.) fit into that category.
- Reheat food in the way it was cooked. For example, curries reheat best on the stovetop since they were cooked there. An exception is – some foods (like banana bread) will lose too much moisture in the oven and it’s better to microwave them.
- Air is not your friend. Remove air as much as possible from bags and containers.
Keep in mind, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the thought of planning and prepping. I’ve found the best way to meal prep is to just add it on to something I’m already doing. For example, if I’m making cookies, I just make a double batch and freeze half of them after forming balls of cookie dough.
Freezer-Friendly Suhoor Recipes:
- Parathas: Roll them out as you normally would, then place each uncooked paratha between parchment paper and freeze in an airtight container. When ready to cook, heat a pan over high heat and place the frozen paratha on the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook, buttering and flipping as necessary.
- Pancakes: Prepare and freeze between parchment paper in an airtight container or bag. Microwave for about 10-15 seconds and then pan-fry again to get them crispy.
- Frittata: Freeze uncooked in a glass pan with a lid. When ready to bake, place from frozen into the oven and give some extra time to cook. I’ve tried (and loved) the recipe below with some extra red chili pepper.
- Baked goods: Most baked goods freeze very well as long as they’re tightly sealed. I’ve successfully frozen baked banana bread, french toast loaves, and of course cookie dough balls (breakfast cookies would be wonderful for Suhoor).
- Oats: I often make a double batch of oats and refrigerate half for later. I used to make steel cut oats in the slow cooker, but lately I’ve been making them in my Instant Pot. Microwave or reheat over the stovetop. Before serving, add a splash of milk to freshen them up and make them creamier.
Freezer-Friendly Iftar Recipes:
- Shami Kababs: Form into patties (don’t pan-fry yet) and freeze on a flat tray. Once firm, remove and place in an airtight ziplock bag or container.When ready to use, microwave on a plate until thawed and then dip in egg wash and pan-fry as needed. This recipes has stovetop and Instant Pot instructions.
- Seekh Kababs: Seekh kabab are another great freezer recipe. I’ve tried forming them into kabobs before cooking and after cooking, and they both work. If you freeze while they’re uncooked, don’t allow them to thaw but cook directly. If thawing from cooked, pan-fry to get a nice char.
- Basic Keema Filling: This keema serves as an excellent filler or topping for samosas, puff pastries, pasta, and so much more. Simply freeze in an airtight container.
- Date balls/bars: Date balls or bars make an excellent option for both Suhoor and Iftar and freeze very well. Freeze in an airtight container.
Freezer-Friendly Dinner Recipes:
Most South Asian dinner recipes are exceptionally freezer-friendly. After thawing, reheat over the stovetop on relatively high heat with a little bit of water for a like-new taste. Garnish and serve.
- Dal: If you prefer, you can freeze dal without finishing it with a tarka (tempering). After thawing, reheat on the stovetop and add the tarka for a completely fresh dal.
- Chickpeas: Beans are also wonderful to freeze. Allow to thaw, then reheat over the stovetop.
- Kofta: These can be frozen by themselves before cooking. You can also make the entire curry and then freeze. Allow to thaw, then gently reheat over the stovetop.
- Keema: Other than potatoes (which lose texture and taste when frozen) most vegetables can be frozen along with curries.
- Chicken Curries: To reheat chicken curries, thaw to room temperature and then reheat over the stovetop on medium-high heat. Add a splash of water to make up for the dehydration. Be careful not to heat too much to prevent any breaking of the chicken.
- Baked Tandoori Chicken Curry: This can be frozen in its marinade before being baked. Place into the oven directly to cook.
- Haleem: As with dal, add the final tadka after thawing it.
- Naan: These gluten-free naan freeze wonderfully. Microwave them covered in a paper towel (no need to thaw) or reheat over the stovetop.
Freezer-Friendly Dessert Recipes:
- Carrot Halwa: I’ve had great luck freezing and reheating Carrot Halwa over the stovetop.
- Panjeeri: Leave out the exotic ingredients (fox nuts, kamarkas, etc.) and you’ve got a wonderful snack of semolina, wheat, nuts, and raisins that’ll fuel you throughout the nights of Ramadan. Thaw at room temperature and it’s ready to eat.
If you try any of these recipes or freeze them, do share with me in the comments or on Instagram. Also, I’d love to hear about your freezer-friendly recipes too. Thank you for reading!