Saturday, March 09, 2013

Taste of Judaism - International Jewish Food Beyond Chicken Soup and Gefilte Fish -- Recipes from My Talks

Messot Wot on Injera
Sunday I give my last in a series of lectures/tastings on international Jewish food sponsored by Jewish Learning Works.

Thanks to the JLW and to Peninsula Temple Sholom and Temple Sinai for hosting me for these programs.

I hope to post some of the info I talked about in the presentations soon, but for now I'll leave you with the recipes.  To see more on what I have written about what is Jewish food, the history of Jewish food and my Jewish recipes, please click on the Jewish label on the list of categories on the right side column of the blog.

I prepared three recipes for the tasting, a Syrian kibbeh (bulghur pie) dish (which is not my recipe and not posted here, check out the wonderful cookbook  A Fistful of Lentils for more info), an Ethiopian lentil stew and a Persian herb omelet.  Below are the stew and omelet recipes which are my interpretations of regional specialities. 

Messor Wot – Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Serves 6
This is my adaptation of a traditional lentil stew.  Berbere is available from some specialty markets and on line.  See my post at for a substitution and other Ethiopian inspired recipes.  Cooking time is approximate.  Sometimes lentils will take longer to cook.  Works well made in advance and reheated.

2 red onions, finely chopped
2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. plus 2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/3 to ½ cup berbere
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
½ cup olive oil
4 cups water
1 lb. lentils (green or brown supermarket style)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt

In a large, heavy pot over medium high heat, add onions (with no oil or other fats), cook until translucent and soft (about 5-10 minutes).  Stir if needed or add a bit of hot water if browning. Do not let brown or burn.  Add garlic and 2 Tbs. tomato paste.  Stir well and cook for a few minutes. Add berbere, ginger and cardamom. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes, adding hot water if needed to keep from sticking or burning.  Add oil, stir well, cook for 5 minutes.  Add lentils, mix well. Add 4 cups water.  Bring to simmer. Cover and simmer until lentils are soft and falling apart, about 35-40 minutes. Sauce should be thick and not at all soupy, but add hot water if needed.  Add remaining tomato paste, pepper and salt. Mix well. Let cook a few more minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.  Serve with green salad with injera (Ethiopian flat bread), millet or rice.
Baked Kookoo
Baked Kookoo – Persian Egg and Greens Omelet
Serves 4-6
Normally this omelet is fried, but I like this version with less oil and less fuss.  It doubles well, just use a larger baking pan.

1 cup cooked spinach
2 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing pan
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped leek (light green and white part only)
¾ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
6 large eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Squeeze and drain spinach. Chop. Set aside.  Grease 8x8” glass baking pan with oil.  Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet.  Sauté onion and leek over medium high heat until softened.  Add parsley and mint, sauté for a moment and then mix in spinach.  Stir until well mixed.  Sauté until any excess liquid from the vegetables has evaporated.    Take off the heat to let cool slightly.  Mix turmeric, salt and pepper in to eggs.  Stir in vegetables until well combined and pour into prepared pan.   Bake until set and cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Eggs will have pulled away from the edges of the pan, be firm but still springy and slightly puffed and lightly browned. If desired, after about 20 minutes of baking, lightly sprinkle top of omelet with paprika.

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