Kosher food in India has always been close to the original food cooked in Israel. I found some recipes to be completely new using Indian spices and herbs, including coriander, coconuts, turmeric, bitter gourd, etc. The Jewish clan realized that India had much to offer in terms of variety, and they adapted to the lifestyle where they settled down. For example, the Baghdadi Jewish Community in Kolkata, use spices and vegetables available there, such as ginger, turmeric, and spinach. Kosher food has found new meaning in India and worldwide
The Jewish Dietary Laws are very specific about kosher food. These laws prevent Jews from eating certain animals that do not chew their cud like birds and animal of prey. Thigh meat is not allowed. Blood has to be completely drained. Meat and milk cannot be combined and separate vessels have to be used for both. Grape wine and other products not made under supervision cannot be consumed. Even meat coming from Israel has to be Kosher certified. In other words, tithe or one-tenth of any product in kind or cash had to be given to a religious organization. Maintaining continuity, Indian Jews have come up with great recipes that need to be cherished.
Curried Coconut Soup: Here is one kosher dish that uses commonly found coconuts. I cook it with onions blended with curry powder, and keep cooking till the onions are tender. Then I mix in the coconuts, cloves, salt, and milk. Stir for a while and it’s done. Toasted coconut can be used for garnishing.
Hameen: A combination of vegetables and meat, it has to be cooked on very slow fire till the meat gets tender. Usually chicken is used, and Jews in Kolkata follow the Baghdadi menu with some innovation. Basically, I would include chicken stuffed with khinta, rice chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt to taste. Cooking overnight like it is done traditionally is difficult, so I just time myself to serve when it is warm and the rice is almost dry.
Koobe: Very common during the Passover, the Indian way of making stuffed dumplings is not very different from the traditional way. I can get a bit adventurous just to add some flavor. I make the dough of ground rice and finely chopped chicken breasts. For stuffing, I use ground lamb, with dried rice, grated onions, with salt, pepper, and turmeric to taste.
Eggs In Beetroot Leaves: I cook garlic, grated ginger, and onions in oil for about five minutes. Then I add beetroot leaves or spinach, beat the eggs with curry powder and salt, and wait till it’s cooked.
Yogurt Sauce: This is basically similar to the tzatziki yogurt dip as an Indian adaptation. I used grated mango chutney which is sweet. Onions and garlic are heated in oil till they turn translucent. This is followed by cumin, coriander, and chilly powder. I add the chutney and tomatoes next. Yogurt goes in last. Care should be taken not to boil the ingredients.
Coconut Rice Pudding: Coconut milk is mixed with rice, cardamom, almonds, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins to create a delicious kosher dessert.
Date: October 6, 2015
Within kosher cuisine, October is commonly known as “after the holidays” month. After three weeks of delicious holiday meals, many find that their pants may be fitting tighter around the waistline, and start spending a bit more time on the treadmill and a little less time in the kitchen. Because of this, kosher meals in October tend to be lighter, simpler, and easier to prepare compared to the elaborate Rosh Hashanah and Simchat Torah meals that preceded them.
This culinary trend pairs well with the Deluxe Kosher Tours trip to Japan and Korea, which we are embarking on from October 11th to the 27th. Japanese cuisine is famous for being light and healthy. Its core consists of tofu, rice, fresh fish, green tea leaves, and vinegar. Most traditional Japanese cuisine, such as sushi, does not include milk or meat. The main staples that you will find in a Japanese kitchen are all very healthy for the heart and body. So while deciding what “after the holidays” meals to prepare during the month of October, and in honor of the DKT journey to Japan, try some of the following Asian kosher recipes. You will surely find them delicious and satisfying, and they won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
Miso Braised Tofu
2 pounds of firm tofu, cut into 4 slabs
1 cup of water
½ cup of Hatsukuru sake (kosher sake)
2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
3 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of white or yellow miso
1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into thin shreds
Place the pieces of tofu in a pot with the water and sake. Bring this to a boil over medium heat. Allow this to gently boil for about 2 minutes. Add the ginger shreds to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Separately, mix the mirin, sugar, and miso together in a large bowl. Dissolve into this mix ½ cup of the hot tofu cooking broth. Add this mixture to the pot, lower the heat, and cook for 7 – 10 minutes more, or until broth has thickened. Serve with steamed rice.
Sukiyaki means “cook as you like,” and is a form of table cooking, which is popular in Japan. It is great for fall because on a chilly evening, it is soothing and warming to sit around the table, which becomes both the cooking and eating spot. It is kind of like sitting around a warm fireplace. Sukiyaki is also a great way to entertain guests. In order to execute table cooking, you will need a deep iron skillet, and a portable electric or gas grill, which is then placed in the center of your table. As an alternative, if you do not have a portable cooking method to place on your table, you can cook the food in the kitchen, then place it, still sizzling in the frying pan, on a hot plate in the center of the table.
2 lbs. boneless rib-eye steaks
4 green onions
4 white mushrooms
4 shiitake mushrooms
1/3 head of cauliflower or broccoli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 eggs (optional)
Slice the beef as thinly as possible, and cut it into bite-size pieces. (It is easier to slice the meat while it is slightly frozen.) Slice the leeks and green onions on a slant into two-inch lengths. Cut off the edges of the mushroom stems. Chop the cauliflower or broccoli into bite-size pieces. Slice the zucchini into quarter-inch pieces. Arrange the meat and vegetables attractively on a large platter and it place on the table.
Place your skillet on your portable gas or electric stove in the center of the table. Heat the vegetable oil in the pan, and add in some of the meat and vegetables. Pour in a corresponding amount of sauce into the pan. Use medium to high heat to prevent water from leeching out of the vegetables. Use a wooden spoon or utensil to carefully stir the meat and vegetables.
When the food is done to your liking, each diner takes pieces of meat and vegetables from the pan using chopsticks, then places them in his or her own small bowl, which has been set in front of the person. Traditionally, Japanese dip the food in a slightly beaten raw egg placed in individual bowls. As everyone is eating, fill the skillet with more meat, vegetables, and liquid, and continue cooking. This recipe serves 4 people, but can easily be modified to feed a larger party. Sukiyaki is traditionally served with steamed rice.
Date: October 6, 2015
La Paz is a city of startling beauty. It is located at an elevation of almost 12,000 feet above sea level. That’s almost 2 and ½ miles high! The city itself sits in a sunken valley in the Andes Mountain range, with the startling gray-blue, snow peaked Mt. Illimani towering over the city at an elevation of 21,000 feet. (more…)
Date: May 26, 2015