Rosh Hashana, since it has been celebrated since biblical times, is one of the oldest holidays that is still observed today. While Jewish communities around the world are united by the mutual celebration of many customs, each country has also incorporated its own unique traditions.

One of the ways this is most vividly reflected is through the menu for Rosh Hashana. This year try some of these excellent Rosh Hashana recipes from around the world as part of your family’s celebration.

Tunisia

Pkaila is a traditional Rosh Hashana dish that comes from the country of Tunisia and is customarily served with bread or couscous. When preparing it, make sure to start one day in advance so that you have time to soak your beans. Also allow a good four hours of cooking time – the dish is time consuming but worth it! This recipe comes from Mona Lumbroso, who is originally from Tunis and now lives in France.

Ingredients:

2 and ½ pounds of fresh spinach leaves
2 cups of canola, olive, or vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
½ pound of white beans
1 and 1/3 pounds of beef (such as beef cheeks or boneless beef shank) cut into 5 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional — harissa, a Tunisian hot sauce made of chilies, garlic, coriander, and caraway

Directions:

A day before you begin cooking soak the beans overnight in water. The day of cooking begin by thoroughly washing, de-stemming, and chopping the spinach leaves.

Place the spinach in a large frying pan with one chopped onion. Cook this over high heat until all of the water is absorbed. Lower the heat and add in the oil, stirring gently and consistently to ensure that the spinach does not burn. Cook until the spinach becomes black and crunchy, adding more oil if needed to keep it from sticking. Cooking should last 2 hours.

Next place the spinach in a cooker or stewpot without adding any more oil. Cover the spinach with water. Add in the beans, 1 more chopped onion, garlic, mint, coriander, pepper, and optional harissa. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then add in the pieces of meat. Cook covered over low heat for 2 hours. Add salt to taste once cooking is finished.

India

These delicious little delicacies, Cornflour-Coconut Halava, are a specialty of the Bene Israel Community of India. This recipe comes from Rosy Solomon Moses of Mumbai, India.

Ingredients:

2 and ¼ cups of cornstarch (in India it’s called cornflour)
1 drop of pink, orange, or red food coloring
2 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of chopped almonds and pistachios
1 medium-sized coconut, or 1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of margarine or butter
½ teaspoon of cardamom
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 pinch salt

Directions:

Extract the coconut milk from the coconut (or used canned) and mix this with warm water to equal a total of 2 quarts of liquid. Sieve the cornflour and add this to the coconut milk.

Add in the sugar, food coloring, and a pinch of salt. Mix this together well and pour it into a stove-top pan.

Cook this over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. Stir and cook for 30 minutes. Pour a little bit into a glass bowl. If it does not stick to the bowl, it is finished cooking.

Add in half the nuts, the cardamom, and the nutmeg. Mix this well, then pour the mixture into two ungreased 8” by 10” baking pans.

Tilt each pan to distribute the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.

Allow to cool, then cut into diamonds or squares. Store in the refrigerator if not consumed the same day.

Siberia

This recipe for Baked Apples with Cedar Nuts in Honey uses two of Rosh Hashana’s most popular sweet treats: apples and honey. The recipe comes from Inna Vanetik, who is a volunteer for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Krasnoyarsk Hesed, or community center.

Ingredients:

5-6 apples, washed and cored
2 cups of cedar nuts (or pine nuts)
4 teaspoons of sugar
5 teaspoons of sweet liqueur
2 cups of butter
1 and ¼ cup of honey
½ cup of red wine
Ground cinnamon

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the cored apples on a well-greased cookie sheet. Mix together the cedar nuts, pine nuts, and liqueur, and place a spoonful of this inside the core cavity in the center of each apple.

Sprinkle on cinnamon and place a piece of butter on top of each apple. Mix the honey with the wine and pour this over the top of the apples.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Stuart