Israel - Israeli Cuisine
is an ongoing debate whether Israel has a true native cuisine.
Although various dishes and preparation methods are rooted in
Israel, much of the cuisine has been imported from other
countries and cultures in and around the Mediterranean as well
as Western and Eastern Europe. Falafel, kebabs, couscous,
hummus, and honey-soaked sweets are extremly popular items that
are also enjoyed in countries from Northern Africa to Greece.
lb. canned chick-peas (drained)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs or fine bulgur (crushed wheat)
1 tsp. ground coriander or cumin
1 tsp. dried hot peppers
1 tsp. garlic powder
vegetable oil (for frying)
Combine chick-peas with onion. Add
parsley, lightly beaten egg and spices. Mix in blender.
Add breadcrumbs until mixture forms a small ball without
sticking to your hands. Form chick-pea mixture into
small balls about the size of a quarter (one inch in
diameter). Flatten patties slightly and fry until golden
brown on both sides. Drain falafel balls on paper
towels. Serve individually with toothpicks as an hors
d'oeuvre or as a sandwich filling with chopped tomato,
cucumber, radish, lettuce, onion, hummus and/or tehina
inside pita bread. Makes about 24 falafel balls.
Like tehina, hummus was brought to Israel by Jews from
Arab countries, though today it is everyone's favorite.
It tastes best when eaten with fresh, warm pita bread.
2 cups canned chick-peas, drained juice
of 2 lemons
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
3 tbs. pure tahini paste or 1 cup tehina (see above
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2-3 tbs. oil
parsley (for garnish)
Place all the ingredients in a food
processor or blender, mix until chick-peas are smooth.
Refrigerate hummus in a covered container. Serve
well-chilled, with chopped parsley on top. If desired,
reserve 1/4 cup unmashed chick-peas and sprinkle on top.
More garlic may be added, if desired. If pita is not
available, crackers or thick slices of French or Italian
bread may be used.
2 lbs. ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1 large onion
Mix meat with cumin, salt, pepper, and
water. Knead well for 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and
chopped parsley. Form a big ball and keep in
refrigerator for 12 hours.
Before cooking, wet your fingers and
form 3 in. x 1 in. stick-like hamburgers. Grill for 5-8
minutes. Turn from side to side until brown. Serve with
fresh vegetable salad.
Chicken is extremely popular in Israel, because it is
relatively inexpensive and can be prepared in many ways.
Chicken paprika is, of course, a Hungarian variation.
With the amount of chicken Israelis consume, it is hard
to imagine a family going without it for very long.
1 - 4 lb. chicken
3 tbs. flour
2 tbs. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 tbs. chicken fat or margarine
1-1/2 cups sliced onion
1 tbs. paprika
1 cup boiling water
Cut up chicken and season with flour,
salt and pepper. Brown chicken in the fat (or
margarine). Remove chicken and brown onions in remaining
fat (or margarine). Return chicken to the pan, sprinkle
with paprika and add water. Cover and cook over low heat
for 1-1/2 hours or until chicken is tender.
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cup nuts, walnuts, or almonds
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 cups dark honey
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. powdered cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking
soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger together
(spices depend on your personal taste).
Beat eggs, gradually adding the sugar. Beat until thick
and light in color. Beat in oil, honey and coffee; stir
in flour mixture and nuts. Grease an 11x16x4 inch baking
pan and line with aluminum foil. For 2 smaller cakes,
use two 9 inch loaf pans. Turn the batter into the pan(s).
Bake at 325 deg F (170 deg C) 1-1/4 hours for the large
cake, 50 minutes for the 2 smaller ones, or until
browned and cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a cake
rack before removing from pan.
Tarato comes from Bulgaria. The Jews of Bulgaria, like
those of Holland, Greece, Turkey, and Italy, are
descended from Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal in
the 15th century. This cold soup is particularly
suitable for hot summer nights in Israel. Yogurt, the
main ingredient, has been a popular food in Israel for
3 cups plain yogurt
3 cups water
dash of salt
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. vinegar
2 cucumbers (diced or cut into small pieces)
Mix all ingredients except nuts.
Sprinkle with nuts and cool in refrigerator for 2-3
hours before serving.