Pantry essentials: five best buys in Qatar

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By Ms. Hala for Zomato Qatar

We know it can take a while to figure your way around town if you’re new or, let’s be honest,  even if you’ve been in Doha your whole life. When it comes to eating out or ordering in, the Zomato app is just a few clicks away.

For cooking at home, it’s all about the right ingredients and where to find them. It’s also about which ingredients will keep in Qatar’s unique seasonal climate.

When you start getting busy living, quick meals only require a few ingredients and you want to make sure you have these five items in your pantry at all times!

Lentils
When in Qatar, eat as the Qataris do! Lentil is a staple in Qatari, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. It’s deemed one of the most versatile of beans out there. Simmer a cup with your favorite broth after cooking up some garlic and/or onion in oil. In about 15 minutes, blend it to a smooth or chunky texture and you’ve got yourself some good soup. Boil a cup of lentils for about seven minutes, or until al dente, to toss on salads or add in a vegetable stew. Because they’re such a staple part of the local dining scene, almost every produce store carries a variety of colorful lentils that you can keep in a sealed bag or tupperware.


Noodles and Pasta

These dry ingredients count as one because really, they’re from the same food family. These kinds of dry ingredients can be turned into the perfect dish any time of day. Go ahead and make that ramen recipe you’ve bookmarked online, or try your hand at recreating that penne arrabiata you enjoyed the other day at that Italian restaurant. These keep well all year long and for the best quality, keep them in airtight containers you can find for cheap at IKEA. If it gets too humid, you can store them in the fridge. Spinneys, Carrefour and Lulu have most brand names so you can too.

Chocolate!
If you love baking, then you should naturally always have chocolate on hand, right? Chocolate doesn’t go bad if stored in a dry or cold place. You can buy in bulk or small quantities depending on how often you use chocolate. Get a bag of almost any brand of chocolate chips from Carrefour to quickly whip up chocolate chip cookies or to cream down in three minutes into a ganache drizzle atop almost anything. Get a block of chocolate from Megamart to bake a batch of brownies or double chocolate cake. Get natural cacao powder from Monoprix to simmer up the best hot chocolate ever. Drooling yet?


Flour

From baking those brownies to thickening that soup, flour is the foundation of many worldly dishes. You really can’t get lost finding any type of flour in Doha. For specialty flours like gluten-free, rice, or almond, head to Spinneys, Lulu, and Megamart. For regular flour made in Qatar, head to Giant Stores or Almeera supermarket. To properly store them, make sure to either put them in an airtight container, or place the flour bag in a zip bag and place it in the freezer during the summer season. Stored properly, your flour can easily last up to eight months.

Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
If you haven’t had hummus yet, you are missing out on about half of your life. Then again, don’t limit yourself to just hummus because these beans are one of the healthiest beans around! At Giant Stores or Almeera Hypermarket, you can find good quality canned or dry garbanzo beans. Canned are perfect to cook in a few minutes by rinsing them out and cooking them in fresh water to blend with tahini and olive oil for hummus, or to toss whole into a halloumi salad. Dry garbanzo beans are only for those with the patience to soak for a few hours before cooking. Either type can be kept almost all year long so go ahead and stock up!


If all else fails (and we hope it doesn’t), download the Zomato app and never have a bad meal again!

What did you think of Ms. Hala's article? Any other essentials you would add? Comment below! And don't forget to share!  

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