Jan 15, 2010

Recipe I bet you never heard of

I bet you never heard of this recipe. Well, unless you are Israeli or Yemenite, of course. I think I have an idea for interesting recipes you might like. Let me know what you think

A little background

I am originally from Israel. Israel is very young country. 62 to be exact. 99% of the people who came to Israel came from different countries around the world after WWII to rebuild the promised land.
This has a huge impact of the Israeli cuisine. Think about it:
First – the people are mostly Jewish. Because Jews are keeping the Kosher diet laws, their traditional foods even in the country of origin is different and unique.
Second – the people came from all over. Primarily from Eastern Europe, Russia and North Africa (Morocco). That creates a very interesting blend of spices, dishes and ingredients.
Last – Israel is in the Mediterranean, the country of Milk and Honey with influence from its Arab neighbors, and other countries in the region (Greece, Turkey)
Mix that altogether for 60 years and you get one of the most interesting food in the world!
So I thought that every once in a while (based on your reactions and comments) I will publish another dish with some history and stories if I have any.

The Personal Side

Jews are divided in general to those who are coming from the East European countries (Originated in Germany) – Called Ashkenazi, and those who are coming from West Europe and Africa (Iberian Peninsula before the expulsion , called Sephardic.
Why do I tell you this – because each one of those groups came with their own traditions, culture and food. And what happen when they mix? Me!
My mom’s ancestor are originally from Poland, while my dad’s family are coming from Yemen. Not that’s a combination. So the recipes I will give you will be Jewish Israeli Kosher Recipes, with Yemenite emphasis.
Many of those recipes were “Americanized” by Patti to match the local taste, ingredients and units. They were also adopted to RV cooking, if required.

Today’s Recipes

For a start I am actually going to give you 2 of them.

Yemenite Z’khug (Schug)

The first one is a very typical middle eastern HOT paste, originated in… Yemen. You can spice up your food with this, cook with it or mix it with grinded tomatoes to make Yemenite Salsa.
So here it is:

  • 1 Big bunch of Cilantro
  • 10-12 hot green peppers (you can choose any type you like – Habaneras are very hot, Jalapenos works great too). You can put couple red peppers to make it look nicer.
  • 1 big Garlic head
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • Pinch of Clove
Cut the stems of the cilantro, but leave the seeds. Peel the garlic. Cut and dispose the stems from the hot pepper.
Cut each peppers to 3-4 pieces. Use glove and watch your eyes – the peppers are juicy and you don’t want it in your eyes (The first reaction is to try and rub your eyes with your hands – Ouch)
Add the ingredients slowly into a food processor with the chopper blade, and chop until it becomes a paste. Add all the spices and mix well.
This is something that freezes very well, so you can put into small containers and freeze to use for later.

Israeli Salad

Why this salad is called Israeli salad? I don’t know. It is very popular in Israel and you can find it in almost any restaurant or Falafel stand. It fits great inside the Pita Bread – but this is for a different blog.
The salad is very simple to make, healthy refreshing and surprisingly tasty. There are many variations of the salad – but I love the basic and traditional version.
  • 4 small plum tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 big onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Parsley (optional)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon (the juice)
Peel the cucumbers and cut them into small cubes (1/4 inch)
Cut the tomatoes into cubes (1/4 inch)
Dice the onion about the same size as the cucumbers and tomatoes
Mix all vegetable in a big bowl. Chop the parsley and cilantro using a knife, add oil, and lemon juice from the 1/2 lemon.
Mix and serve.

What do you think

Now serious – if you like it, let me know. Leave a comment!
If you have suggestion on how to improve it – let me know that Also – if there is anything you would like to see in this blog or know about this recipe.
I promise that if we will get interest – I will create a separate blog just for recipes.
And – yeah – names for the new blog please :)


  1. waowwww.....its been decades since i last ate or tasted schug, at my grandma`s in zichron-ya`acov,it was best known in the name of `Bisbas`- did u know that?
    now u realy take me back to my childhood years.....:)when i used to facinated by looking at my grandma making a home made bisbas, while warning me endlessly not to touch the hot chillis in fear that i`ll burn my eyes with my hands..heehee....
    what can i say? i feel i have a virtual taste of it in my mouth now..lol
    well done!
    Maayan x

  2. Posted around 5 this morning and it's gone :(

  3. Ahhh....didn't take it past the preview stage. Musta still been asleep!