Carrying out my daily morning routine I scrolled through Facebook, poured over Instagram and read through my emails as I walked on the treadmill before work.
Amongst the 30+ new emails one was sharing trending topics, points of conversation and suggested blog subjects. One particular suggestion jumped out at me.
‘Hanukkah Recipes To Try (Even If You’re Not Jewish)’
As I continued walking, I pondered whether those of the Jewish faith would be offended by such a post. At least one worded that way. As saying ‘try the food but not the faith’. Sort of like receiving birthday gifts even though it’s actually your cousins birthday. Am I making sense?
But let’s be honest, when celebrating holidays it’s all about the ‘f’ words – family, friends and of course, food. At least in Australia it is.
But the email got me thinking about Hanukkah as a whole. Judaism is not a faith I’m familiar with. Curious as always and forever wanting to broaden my mind and knowledge, I did some research.
I think writing is supposed to provoke thought, discussion and entertain as well as educate. And in the end I came to the conclusion holidays are all about sharing. And sharing is caring. So here’s a little lowdown on Hanukkah, the traditions, the faith and of course – the food.
Like Christmas, the holiday of Hanukkah is one spent among family and friends. Giving gifts and enjoying traditional meals in the presence of loved ones.
‘Hanukkah’, also called the Festival of Lights, is a religious tradition spanning over eight days in December (um jealous!). It’s in celebration of Jewish national survival and its religious freedom.
Those who celebrate have numerous food traditions, to remind people of the miracles associated with the events of Hanukkah. Oil played a central role in the story of Hanukkah. Therefore fried foods are a must have, serving as a (delicious) reminder of the miracle of the oil.
Fried. Jelly. Donuts
You had me at the word ‘fried’.
Sufganiyot (Jelly Donut) Recipe
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsps salt
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup Jam of choice
- sugar for topping
- In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, water and 1 teaspoon sugar until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add flour and make a well in the center. Add eggs, yeast mixture, butter and salt. Stir to combine.
- Knead dough, adding more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and elastic and only slightly sticky (about 10 minutes by hand and 5-6 minutes in a stand mixer). Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down dough and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut dough into 2 1/2-inch circles. Re-roll out dough as necessary. Cover circles with a tea towel and let rest 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat to 370°F. Add doughnuts to oil 3-4 at a time, flipping over with a slotted spoon until both sides are deep golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove doughnuts with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
- Poke a skewer in the side of each doughnut. Using a pastry bag with a narrow piping tip attached, pipe about 1-2 teaspoons seedless jam into each hole. Sprinkle doughnuts with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
(Recipe via GirlVersusDough)
Latka – more simply described as a potato pancake. Yum right? From sweet potato latkas to curried kale, zucchini or even apple this traditional appetiser is easy to adapt whatever your tastes. Another Hanukkah foodie tradition is dairy – and especially cheese which is in tribute of Jewish heroine, Judith (Yehudit).
Cheesy Latkas – Recipe
– makes 12 bites
- 2 eggs
- 100ml yogurt or sour cream
- 70ml milk
- 80g grated cheese of choice
- 50g Parmesan cheese
- 180g plain flour
- salt & pepper
- 2 large carrots (or zucchini), grated
- 2 large potatoes, grated
- olive oil for frying
1. In a large mixing bowl add together the eggs, yogurt, milk and whisk. Then sprinkle over the flour and seasoning and mix together. Next add the cheese. Just before cooking, mix in the grated carrot and potato and stir them through the batter until it’s all mixed together.
2. In a frying pan add some olive oil on high heat.
3. Add a heaped tablespoon of mixture into the pan. Turn the heat to medium.
4. Fry them for approx. 4 minutes before turning over, and once golden on both sides remove.
(Recipe adapted from TheKitchenAlchemist)
Mouth Watering Main
On the Friday night of Hanukkah after lighting the ‘Hanukkah Menorah’ people traditionally sit down to a meat meal. For a main that will get your mouth watering you can’t go past a beef brisket. By preparing it in the slow cooker, not only is it easy but you’ll have free hands to get on with other important things (like unwrapping presents or holding a wine glass). So this year give yourself the gift of not cooking.
Slow Cooked Beef Brisket
(side note: while the prep time is a mere 10minutes, cooking time takes about 7 hours).
– serves 5-6 people
- 1 1/2kg (approx) beef brisket
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup beef broth
- 3 tbsp chili sauce
1. Mix together chili powder, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and pepper. Make a paste and rub over the brisket.
2. Place the brisket into the slow cooker.
3. Mix together beef broth, onions and chili sauce.
4. Pour over brisket.
5. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours or until tender and easily pulled apart.
6. Remove brisket from cooker and slice across the grain into thin pieces.
(Recipe adapted from YourHomeBasedMom).
No matter what your faith, religion, beliefs – HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
What are some of your favourite holiday dishes?
Got the craving to cook? Here are some of my other favourite recipes: