Chanukah Meals From All over the Planet

North American Ashkenazi Jews may well associate Chanukah celebrations with potato latkes and sufganiyot, but there’s very little in the Maccabees tale that says these are our only alternatives.

For Jewish communities all around the planet, the custom of consuming fried food items throughout the Festival of Lights usually means getaway tables can function fried meat, sweet and savory fritters and any form of doughnut iteration conceivable. This 12 months, I sampled four standard Chanukah dishes from Italy, Spain, Latin The us and India.

Pollo Fritto for every Hanukkah (Fried Rooster for Hanukkah)

fried chicken on plate with lemon wedges
Pollo frito | Photo by Sophie Panzer

Acquiring grown up with brisket or roasted rooster as the protein of preference at a Chanukah desk, I was intrigued to come across that Italian Jews traditionally rejoice the Competition of Lights with a particular fried chicken recipe and required to give it a try.

I chose an Italian recipe from Leah Koenig’s cookbook “Little Ebook of Jewish Feasts.” It combines lemon, thyme and cinnamon in a quick marinade that makes the hen moist and tender without demanding it to sit far too lengthy (if it does, the acid from the lemon juice will make the
meat tough).

I experienced hardly ever had fried hen built with lemon just before, but it’s a very genius inclusion. The acidity cuts through the fats and helps prevent the dish from currently being overwhelmingly oily, which is specially welcome if you’ve continue to got piles of other fried deliciousness to plow your way by means of. I wouldn’t believe to contain cinnamon in a fried hen recipe both, but it adds a nice depth of flavor.

Keftes de Prasa

Photo by Sophie Panzer

These leek fritters are a Sephardic getaway staple and are normally eaten at Chanukah due to the fact they are fried in oil. They originated in the Iberian peninsula but can also be found in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern delicacies.

I observed a simple recipe by Michael Natkin on Serious Eats that named for leeks, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs and salt. At minimum, it seemed uncomplicated till I started off washing the leeks … and kept washing the leeks for what felt like two hrs mainly because they had so a great deal grit in them. The batter will come out a tiny thinner than a normal latke, which threw me off as I attempted to decide no matter whether they were being completed, but I managed to stay away from burning most
of them.

Fine, fifty percent of them.

The keftes have a light-weight, sweet, pretty much nutty taste when they are cooked, and I could very easily have eaten four or five at a time. The crispy fried texture definitely screams “Chanukah,” although these leek pancakes are a minimal significantly less starchy and filling than a latke.

Gulab Jamun

Image by Sophie Panzer

I was common with these fried sweets many thanks to my moderate to severe obsession with Indian food, but I didn’t comprehend right up until lately that they had been generally loved at Chanukah by Indian Jews.

“Gulab jamun is a regular Hanukkah address between the Bene Israel of Mumbai, as it combines the two key getaway meals, dairy and fried,” Gil Marks wrote in “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Meals.”

The desserts are produced by cooking milk and flour in oil at a lower warmth. When they’re golden brown, the fritters are drenched in a spiced chini pani (sugar syrup) that generally contains cardamom.

You can come across gulab jamun at a lot of Indian eating places — I ordinarily acquire mine from Ekta Cuisine in Fishtown. The tiny sweets have the consistency of a seriously rich cake doughnut — they definitely strike that decadent, deep-fried note you’d assume from a Chanukah dish. I also like pouring the leftover cardamom sugar syrup in chai tea.

Buñuelos, also acknowledged as bimuelos or bumuelos in Ladino, originated in Spain and Portugal and have turn out to be well-known desserts in Latin American nations. You can come across them served at Colombian or Mexican restaurants. They are typically eaten by Sephardic Jews all through Chanukah due to the fact, you guessed it, oil.

According to Ty Alhadeff, Sephardic reports investigation coordinator of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the College of Washington, they are also eaten for biblical motives. The very first Ladino translation of the Torah posted in Istanbul in 1547 examine that the manna God furnished to the Israelites in the desert tasted like buñuelos, or fritters, in honey.

They’re also very uncomplicated to make at dwelling — all you require is flour, sugar, yeast, drinking water, salt and oil for frying. I made a batch that turned out a small less fluffy and round than the photo on My Jewish Finding out (that recipe is adapted from Gil Marks’ guide “The Entire world of Jewish Desserts”) but the benefits were however a bit lighter and breadier than sufganyot. They remind me of the fried dough you can obtain at carnivals dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

Though these desserts are technically Iberian and Latin American, I put a North American twist on mine by drenching them in maple syrup. No regrets. ❆

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