Mar 8, 2010

The heart of Israeli-Yemenite Food

I do not write much lately, and it is not because I am lazy. Nothing much happening and I am waiting for nicer days. It feels like they are almost here! In this blog I want to share with you one the the BEST recipes I know – so look inside!

Kids, Work – rings a bell?

Sunday, March 7, 2010 – I feel that if I really wanted, I could write about many different things, but I feel those just don’t belong here. I feel some emptiness in my heart in the last couple weeks, and it looks like it is reflecting on my writing too.
See, we started this Journey not even planning to become full-timers but fell in love with this life style. It is exciting, fulfilling and perfectly fits our passions and life style. Problem is that we are at a stage of life where we still have to work for a living, and the gift of working remotely has been taken away from us. So now we find ourselves with the passion to continue our venture, but with a risk to lose it.
We have spent the last two weeks on looking for jobs, setting up our website ( and trying to find a long-term solution, but nothing is finalized yet. I hope we will not be forced to give-up the full-timing for an office job, but even if we do – I know we will be back on the road again, and we will be aiming that direction. Keep following and try to find out
iPhone 006 Rainbow this afternoon from our site in the park
Got the kids again this weekend (that’s why we are here in CA after all). All week we had the perfect weather, and the W/E is rainy again. We went to the Science Center museum un Santa Ana, but it was more for younger kids. The U-Pick Farm in Irvine has a close event for some group, so no picking today. Try to keep two teen-agers entertained is not an easy task.
My son spent all night protecting us and practically the whole universe from evil and bad monster in some computer game he has. I think he won but I don’t know how to find out. The screen looks like a bunch of color stains moving and making weird sounds. They call it a ‘Game”. I wonder how games would look like in 20 –30 years from now.

Recipe corner

Before I jump into the ingredients/instructions – some background. Yemenite food is part of the Israeli culture and very well reflected in the Israeli Cuisine. Having Yemenite roots, I love this food, but was surprised to know how Patti and her kids – who are very conservative mid-western picky eaters (Spaghetti and Hamburger) loved this dish.
This dish in not exactly on the “Weight-Watchers” top list, and it requires some time to make – but trust me – it well worth the effort. You can make some batches and freeze and then eat from time to time.
One more thing – the same exact dough is used to make to different dishes. One is the Mallawach, which is included in this blog, and the other one is called Jachnun, this is a dish that Yemenite jews are eating on Saturday morning, after it was heated all night in the oven. I love them both, but this other dish is for some other time.
So – here it is:


(About 12 pieces)
  • 9 cups flour
  • 2 tbs sugar or honey
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2-2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 Lbs soft margarine
  1. Prepare the dough: Mix in a bowl the flour sugar and salt. Add thin stream of water while hand kneading until flexible, soft and a little sticky.
  2. Cover the bowl with damp towel, and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Prepare the Mallawach: Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Shape each part to a round ball. Lay balls on a tray, covered with damp towel. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
    iPhone 013
  4. Oil work surface with margarine sparingly. Stretch each ball of dough to a very thin leaf – as thin as possible, using the palm of your hands – not the fingers.
    iPhone 022
  5. Fold a stripe about 1.5” wide from the far side inward onto the leaf. Spread margarine on the folded strip and fold again. Continue to cover with margarine and fold until you get a long stripe of folded layers of dough with margarine between the folds.
    iPhone 014
  6. Lay the stripe on its side and roll the dough stripe tightly around itself like a snail. Place the rolled snail on a tray and continue with the other balls.
    iPhone 015
  7. Wrap the tray with the 12 rolled dough snails on it with a syran plastic wrap. Put the tray in the refrigerator for couple hours – up to few days. For longer periods – you can freeze the dough rolls.
  8. Fry the Mallawach: Heat frying pan with margarine on medium heat. Cover your working area with margarine, and stretch one roll to a circle at the size of the frying pan. (If you have small frying pan, cut the snail into two). Fry the first side with the frying pan covered, until golden brown. Turn the malaawach and fry other side.
  9. Serve hot directly from the frying pan
iPhone 021
Now – how do you serve it.
So here are three ideas:
The original way is serving it with grinded tomatoes and Schug – hot chili paste (I owe you the recipe for that one). I love it this way – but you need to like hot food (or just use the fresh grinded tomatoes).
Patti eats it with egg on top – sunny-side up.
Patti’s kids  love it with Chocolate spread (Neutella)
so there are three different ways. Believe me – it worth the effort – it is soooo very good!


  1. This is a fascinating recipe. I'd rather just come to your place and let you fix it! Don't if I'm up to attempting it. Going to have to give it some thought.

  2. We're with Chef Serena - you make it, we'll come and visit your restaurant, maybe even tip the waitress! But thanks for sharing a fascinating recipe, and another part of your life. GOod luck with finding suitable work, especially if it works into a traveling life style!