Photo source: Internethaber.com
Breaking the fast is something you wait the whole day for. So are you friends and your family. One of my favorite things ever has become hosting an iftar during this holy month. You share the best part of the day with the dear people you so much want around you. The first iftar can be so stressful because it really isn’t your average dinner party. There is so much to keep in mind and without any guidance it’s just overwhelming. That’s why we wanted to create a loose guide to hosting the perfect iftar. And the more you practice and invite your friends over, the more flawless your iftars will become.
Before your guests arrive
Preparation is key, think about a theme for decoration and food. Little lamps to light up the room are magical and romantic. You can decorate in the theme of Ramadan with cut out stars and moons or whatever you feel would elevate the ambience. When thinking about food, think about healthy choices and aside of meat and fish, offer some vegetarian options. Don’t rely on your guests, but you can ask if they would like to contribute with a nice salad or appetizer. Just make sure you coordinate well so it does not end up being an incredibly bland, sweet or salty iftar. Cook throughout the day so that once the guests arrive you don’t need to still do any finishing touches. Preparing a variety of hot and cold dishes will ensure the hot dishes stay warm, while cold dishes can be stored in a cold room or the fridge. Plus don’t overdress, you can wear something pretty and comfortable to allow you to move freely throughout the evening
At 6:00 PM
Let your guests know they may start arriving at 6 PM, offer them a place to sit and make conversation. Introduce your guests to each other in case they don’t know one another already, because being bored right before breaking the fast has got to be the worst. Turn on the radio or a TV channel to wait for prayer call so that you all eat at the appropriate time. Arabic music, like Fairouz (you can never go wrong with her), may add to the friendly festive atmosphere. A nice touch is the canon shooting which happens in several places in Qatar and will be streamed on local television. Once you see it being shot, you know you can dig in!
At 6:30 PM
Around half past six is time to break the fast. Perhaps you are thinking offering dinner right away but it’s better to kickstart your metabolism with dates and water. Other hydrating drinks may include fresh juices, laban (a yoghurt drink), a banana milkshake, or Jallab. Jallab consists of rose water, pomegranate molasses, cut up almonds and pine nuts mixed in water with ice cubes. You can get dates from every supermarket, my personal favorite is the Medjool date with a saturated caramel-like taste. Place them on small plates with a variety of dried fruit and nuts. The combination of hydrating drinks and sugary fruits is the best way to break your fast. You’ll be surprised to feel the difference on your empty stomach.
After the initial break-fast, you can move to do the nearest mosque for praying Maghreb, or allow your guests to pray in your home. If you have time you can continue with the Sunnah prayers before moving to dinner.
At 7:00 PM
Dinner is served! In terms of dishes you can be as creative as you like. You don’t have to stick to traditionally Arabic dishes, although having a few I feel adds to the Iftar-feel. Plus they are great for sharing! If you want tips on what dishes are healthy choices for an iftar meal, check out http://www.iloveqatar.net/news/content/planning-healthy-ramadan-here-are-some-tips Start with soup and salad and then move to the main course. Lentil, mushroom or tomato soups are great choices, while tabuleh and fattoush simply can’t be missed.
Another thing to keep at the back of your head is to eat in moderation, keep the portions small, so you have space for the other dishes and dessert. Although I recently heard from a friend that there’s always space for dessert because it doesn’t go in your stomach but in your heart!
To check out how to avoid eating too much, also have a look at http://www.iloveqatar.net/news/content/health-tip-avoid-overeating-during-holy-month-ramadan
Before dinner you may say Bismillah, and after dinner you may say Alhamdulillah to voice your appreciation!
Last but not least comes everyone’s valued tea time. You can serve Arabic coffee, Moroccan minty tea, black and herbal tea. Of course dessert cannot come too short, so have chocolate, and other little treats ready. Baklava, halwa, kunafa, cupcakes, macarons, Umm ali and other pudding are all sweet treats to look forward to. Now it’s time to have inspired discussion and exchange views and thoughts. Don’t rush but you can do the Taraweeh prayers collectively so no one needs to miss them due to the iftar party.
And never worry about leftovers, give some for your guests to take home and hand them out to the less fortunate. Now nothing goes to waste and you can share your tasty dishes with even more people! We hope this gave you some ideas of how you can make your iftar the best ever. If you have any more ideas or suggestions please let us know! Ramadan Kareem!
Also check out http://www.ramadan.qa/ for everything you need to know.
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