Home Culture More than Hummus and Rugelach: Israel’s Culinary Heritage

More than Hummus and Rugelach: Israel’s Culinary Heritage

by Touchpoint Israel

When people think of Israel’s food, it’s likely they think of hummus, rugelach or falafel. But there’s a wide range of Israeli dishes that celebrate the country’s culture and heritage. If you’re looking for a way to create memories that will last and to expand your palate as well, consider immersing yourself in the foods of the region, like the ones described below.

1. Cholent

In Israel, cholent, otherwise known as Jewish stew, is a slow-cooked meal that is extremely popular during Shabbat. In fact, the recipe was developed over the centuries to align with Jewish laws that prohibit cooking on the Sabbath. According to multiple sources, the dish boils on Friday before the Sabbath and then is placed into a slow cooker or oven on low heat until the next day. Cholent typically includes meat, potatoes, beans, and barley. However, Sephardic Jews often substitute rice for the beans and barley and chicken for the beef. They may also add whole eggs, shell included! Ashkenazi Jews often include a sausage casing or chicken neck skin stuffed with flour.

2. Jachnun

Jachnun is another dish created out of necessity to abide by Jewish laws regarding the Sabbath. It is a sweet bread from Yemen, typically served on the morning of Shabbat with a side of tomato dip. The rolled and baked dough is left to cook in a slow oven overnight and when finished, has the flaky texture of a croissant. You may find this dish in Tel Aviv, at the Shuk HaCarmel.

3. Latkes

Latkes are traditionally served during Hanukkah, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy this dish year round! There are multiple variations on the traditional pancake recipe, both sweet and savory. Well-known versions include potato latkes and cheese latkes. There are also some more out of the box recipes including corn and red pepper latkes, mushroom-pecan latkes, and even sweet potato latkes with cinnamon.

4. Malabi

This gelatinous pudding is a very popular dish in Israeli kitchens. You’ll find it in the street markets and restaurants of Israel. There are several versions of this dish: a dairy-free version, a dairy version, and a chocolate option. It is also known to have been often flavored with rosewater.

5. Matbucha

Matbucha is a dish of stewed tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, and onions. In Israeli kitchens, cooks make their own adjustments to matbucha – adding a variety of vegetables and garnishes. This dish is often served as a dip for pita bread or vegetables.

6. Ptitim

This rice-like pasta was invented in the 1940s by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Being very popular amongst children, the pasta is often sold in ring, star and heart shapes. Variations are made from white flour, whole wheat, and spelt flour. It is often prepared with onions and garlic or even meats and vegetables and then fried.

7. Shawarma

Shawarma is shredded meat often served in a pita. Meats used in shawarma include lamb, chicken, turkey, beef or veal. This is a very popular street food, available at vendors in markets and tourist areas. The dish also includes shredded vegetables and condiments.

Originally posted at Gil Travel.



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