Too often, the foods of traditional Jewish holidays and other family gatherings are overlooked by people outside the faith tradition. The culinary heritage of the Jewish faith is rich in Middle Eastern spices, inventive ingredient pairings, and hearty, comforting desserts and side dishes that aren't difficult to prepare or cook. Here are some dishes you'll want to try in your home:
A punchline in movies like Annie Hall, brisket is a melt-in-your-mouth meat entree. It’s also a great budget item because the recipe calls for inexpensive, usually tougher cuts of meat that are tenderized with slow, lower-temperature cooking to break down the fat. The result? A flavorful, tender meal. Much like pot roast, brisket can be customized to skew more sweet or savory, depending on the seasonings and braising accompanying ingredients you choose.
Kugels are unique dishes that most of the world hasn't had the opportunity to try. Somewhere between a sweet or savory pudding and a casserole, these starchy creations can either be side dishes (potato-based) or desserts (noodle-based). Potato kugels, in particular, are a welcome change from more labor-intensive gratins. Start with peeled, shredded spuds, mix them with eggs, onions, olive oil and some seasonings, pop the savory blend into an oven and you’re done.
Matzo Ball Soup
There are times when nothing hits the spot quite like matzo ball soup, and if it’s not in your cooking repertoire, you’re missing out! To the classic chicken soup (stock, vegetables and shredded chicken meat) and then add two or three filling, tasty matzo balls about the size of ice cream scoops just before serving. The balls are traditionally made with a dough of matzo meal, eggs, a bit of chicken fat, and club soda, for fluffiness.
This Middle Eastern classic is somewhat akin to coleslaw in execution, but the flavorings veer more to the zesty-minty side of the chopped salad coin, rather than to the tart. The basic Israeli salad features diced cucumbers, tomatoes, mint and parsley, along with olive oil and lemon juice, but you can add more color and crunch with sweet peppers.
These little dessert pastries get their addictive quality in no small part to the traditional sour cream or cream cheese doughs, which are wrapped, crescent-style, around the fillings. They can boast different types of filling, including chocolate, nut, poppy seed, raisin or fruit. Looking like mini-croissants, they’re a great addition to any cookie platter.
Ready to Learn More?
Perhaps you grew up on Jewish food or are just starting to learn about the delicious cultural traditions. Either way, there are bound to be culinary avenues you haven’t had the time to explore. A catered meal from Panosh Kosher Catering is the perfect way to open up the exciting world of traditional Jewish food, as well as a few modern takes on the classics! Contact us to learn more.