Special Feature

ALIF KITCHEN SERIES: 5 Tips on Hosting A Stress-free Open House

by Honey Photography FriedChillies on Fri, June 22, 2018

Open your house with a plan, and you'll stay stress free this Raya!

Be the hostest with the mostest this Raya

Rahimah Rahim’s tune is playing in the background, the smell of spices is drifting around the house and relatives are arriving. For many, Aidilfitri is about family, childhood memories, kampung and of course, the food (especially the food). We are a nation blessed with good food.

So comes the open house season. Hosting it (especially for first timers) can be a little daunting. There are so many things to think about like drinks, enough chairs, how much food, is so and so not talking to this person...? Anyway, while we can’t really pick your relatives and friends for you, we can, certainly help you out in setting up a great open house table. Here are some great tips from us, the people who throw food parties all the time!

Picture Credit: thevocket.com

Tip 1: Plan it
This is not something you wing it especially if it's your first time. There are a lot of labour and cost involved. You need to sit down and think about how many guests you want to invite and then you can think about the food and cooking the right quantity. Our suggestion is ask people who have done it before. For instance if you are making laksa a rule of thumb is about 1 and half fishes a person, then take it from there.

Tip 2: Make ahead
When you know how many guests are coming, now you can plan the food. This sounds like a no-brainer but if you are going to do an open house, one week before the big day you should be thinking of all the stuff you need to cook and stagger them. Rendang or even just the paste itself for instance can be made a few days or 1 week before and then kept frozen until you need them. Whatever that can be peeled, cut, prepared in advance, do it. Saves you so much time. And of course, use a good, reliable oil like ALIF. There is a lot of stuff to ‘tumis’ so every little bit helps.

Tip 3: Curb your enthusiasm
Don't go nuts on the food and drink. Yes you want to be the best host and not run out food (every Malaysian’s nightmare!) but really, can your guests eat it all? Think about who is coming and what they might appreciate. If they are mostly Malays, then perhaps they might want something different from the usual traditional selection. So go for light bites and perhaps one really great noodle dish. A good tip is to have the ingredients for mee goreng at the ready that you can fry up quickly if food is running low. Do not underestimate how much people love a good mee goreng.

Photo Credit: delicious.com.au
Tip 4: Lay out and set up
There are going to be lots of people around in the house so you need to think about the space, flow and practicality. Clear out whatever bits and bobs you won’t be using and stuff ‘em in the store room temporarily. Space out furniture so guests have more space to move around and use that side table or shelf to set up your food, plates and drink stations. This gives more room on the table so your guests can dine comfortably. A good idea is to stagger times. Perhaps people with kids can come earlier and the more foot loose fancy free, later in the afternoon. It’s all in the planning folks (see Tip 1).

Tip 5: Get help if needed
Don't be a 'jaguh' nanti 'jatuh terlentang'. Hire someone to help you with serving, replenishing and washing up. Of course if you are catering, then this is not a problem. But at least once in a lifetime you would want to host a party where you prepare the food yourself right? It's a great, great satisfaction. If you need help from your mum or relatives ask for it. That’s what Raya is all about kan? You should enjoy your own open house and spend time with your guests and not be stuck in the kitchen most of the time.

Photo Credit: thestar.com.my
Lastly, have lots of fun! It is not often where everybody can get together so relax, they will still love you if the lemang runs out. When it is all over, it is the best, rewarding and satisfying feeling ever. Oh and don’t forget to prepare duit raya! Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.