Tag Archives: sides

Idit’s Red Rice

This rice reminds me of my grandmother’s rice – but don’t tell- Idit’s is better.


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • little bit of sunflower/canola oil
  • 2 cups water  (can use 1/2 water and 1/2 orange juice)
  • 2 heaping tbsp. of tomato paste
  • cumin – to taste
  • ground black pepper – to taste
  • 2 medium cooking onions – diced


  1. Soak rice in a large bowl
  2. Dice Onions; sautee (@ medium heat – do not burn!)  in a pot with oil until transluscent
  3. Add salt, pepper and cumin to the onions
  4. Dissolve the tomato paste in the 2 cups of water 
  5. Drain the rice & add to the pot; Stir around with the onions & spices
  6. stir in the water/tomato mixture
  7. Bring to a boil; simmer for 20-25 minutes on low heat
  8. Fluff and serve.


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Filed under Iraqi, Middle-Eastern, sides

Video: Mhasha – Iraqi “Cabbage Rolls”

Rachel explains that “mhasha” in Arabic means “stuffed.” In this video she explains how to make “stuffed things,” here she uses grape leaves but you could always sub in some cooked cabbage (drawing on our Polish side here!  Martha Shem-Tov has a killer recipe for those).  Bon Appetit.

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Eli’s Broccoli (and Tofu)



My kids love broccoli and this recipe is why.

• Broccoli has twice the vitamin C, ounce for ounce, as oranges and is one of the best sources of vitamin B, folate, dietary fibre, iron and calcium. It is also loaded with antioxidants and protective phytochemicals which help prevent some types of cancer.

• I like this dish with the Tofu and green onions but my Shabbat dinner gang prefers it without. Just skip these steps if you just want the broccoli.

• Cooking with a wok is the best way to do this dish; the high heat, seals in flavor. Others have tried it without a wok and said that it turns out just fine.

• I’m told that organic broccoli is tastier.

Shao Xing cooking wine shouldn’t be substituted with another cooking wine because this gives the dish its distinctive aroma. It can be found in most Chinese grocery stores.



  • Broccoli – 2 large bunches or 3 medium bunches, cut into branches
  • Garlic – 1 head peeled and crushed.
  • Cooking oil – canola, sunflower or vegetable. 1/3 of a cup
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon.
  • Shao Xing cooking wine – 1/3 of a cup,
  • Soy sauce – 1/3 of a cup- I prefer ‘Tamari’, which is a type (one of five) of Japanese soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce-3 tablespoons. I prefer vegetarian oyster flavored sauce.
  • Sesame oil – one tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds, roasted- handful
  • Green onions- optional, one bunch chopped finely,
  • Tofu- optional, extra firm, one package. Cut the tofu into strips that look like French fries and are approximately one centimeter thick and 4-5 centimeters long
  • Large colander


  1. Broccoli- cut, clean, trim and wash the broccoli. Don’t cut too small. Try and keep natural branch-like look of broccoli. Boil water in a large pot. Place broccoli in BOILING WATER and cover for 2 min- 3 min. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!! You only want to blanche the broccoli and keep it firm, not limp. Immediately, drain in colander and place broccoli into large bowl with ice and cold water. Completely submerse the broccoli in the cold water and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. (You can start the tofu now if you choose.) Once broccoli has cooled down completely, drain the water in a colander and dry off as much as possible. Don’t drain till completely cooled off.

  2. Tofu-. Heat up wok on high till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil, swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces. Heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Place tofu in oil and stir-fry gently so as not to break up tofu into little pieces. Brown the outside without burning. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Scoop out the tofu using a spoon with holes and set aside.

  3. Heat up wok till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil (or use oil that was just used for the tofu), swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces and again heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Add pepper and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add garlic and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add broccoli and stir-fry vigorously for 1 minute coating all surfaces of the broccoli. Add green onions now and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Add soy sauce, Shao Xing cooking wine, and oyster sauce. If you are using the tofu, place it in now. Mix and stir vigorously for 2 minutes.

  4. Immediately drain the contents of the wok into a colander in the sink and shake off any excess liquid still on the broccoli. Make sure you remove as much liquid as possible. You only want the broccoli ‘coated’ and not sitting in a sauce.

  5. Transfer the broccoli into a serving dish. Drizzle sesame oil all over the broccoli. Sprinkle the sesame seeds liberally. Cover and store or serve immediately.

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Homemade Labane

Peki'in old synagogue   Peki'in Village  

A favorite. The best I’ve had was in Pe’ki’in, a village in Northern Israel, where Druze, Jews and Arabs live well together. Maybe that’s part of why the labane tasted so good. Plus, the drizzled olive oil and za’atar didn’t hurt either. Below, a recipe for homemade labane from Rina Perry from this website.

Thanks Rina! To read more about Peki’in – Click here.


1-1/2 Liters Yogurt (1% or 3 % fat)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
Olive oil to cover the Labane


Put a sieve that is covered with thin cloth over a big bowl.

In a another big bowl, put all first 4 ingredients. Mix well and pour
into the sieve. Cover it and let it stand for about 12 hours.
I leave it overnight.

If the cheese looks a bit soft, tie the cloth loosely and let it hang over
a basin for another 8 – 10 hours.

Fill about 1/2 a glass container with olive oil.

With wet or (as I do) with oiled hands, create small balls and put them in
the glass container. If you need to add more olive oil do so, until the
cheese is covered. On top of all, I sprinkle some za’atar [a Middle-Eastern
spice; recipe for za’atar substitute in the groups archives. –rh].
Cover/close the container.

During summer I keep it in the fridge, even if the olive oil tends to
thicken and turn cloudy. In wintertime, you can leave it on the counter.

I take from the container only the small portion that I want to use, and
the rest I keep in its container.


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Video: How to make Hummus

Loving cute Moti!

Check out his website www.sooogood.org

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Filed under Appetizers, Israeli, Links, Middle-Eastern, sides, Snacks, video

Shimon’s Rice

Shimon*, a master Jeweler from Tzfat, came to stay with me in Brooklyn, sometime in 2004. As it turned out, he was also a master cook. I sat with him one day and took notes as he prepared a Shabbat feast for us. Since then, I have lost the notes but try to prepare his dishes on occasion from memory. I know there is a step about lining the bottom of the pot with very thinly sliced potatoes for a crunchy bottom – but I fear I am forgetting something important so I’ll leave it out for now. As usual, I do not know the exact amounts of anything – unless of course, it’s something you can learn from a package (i.e. rice). Here is one of many to come, thanks to Shimon.

[*Shimon and I met in 1995 in Tzfat. I was on crutches due to the sprained ankle I acquired while climbing through a window and I would run (or whatever you call it when you rush by on crutches) by his Jewelry store and he’d yell, “Savlanut! Savlanut!” (Hebrew for patience)]

This should serve 4-6 people.


1. 1 cup of rice (I use sushi rice but your choice here)
2. 1 ½ cup water
3. ¼ white onion, finely chopped
4. Salt
5. Freshly ground pepper
6. Olive oil
7. A handful of pine nuts [This is my variation – you can use any nut. Cranberries are delicious.]

8. A dash of love (this, I remember Shimon being very specific about!)


Sauté the onions in olive oil until glassy, adding a dash of salt and pepper
Add 1 cup of RAW (this is important) rice and stir over very low heat for about 10 seconds

Pour 1 ½ cup of water and give it a little stir
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small pan (or in a toaster oven on foil), heat pine nuts for about 5 minutes (or until they are dark) over a low flame

Once rice is ready, stir in pine nuts and serve!

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Marnee’s (well, Danya’s actually) Bok Choy

Marnee, also of Iraqi descent, is a friend and contributor to this blog. She has been making this bok choy ever since her cousin Danya from Vancouver came to NYC for Rosh Hashana in 2000. Marnee’s favourite part about making this dish, “is going to Chinatown and getting the bok choy there.” She adds, “Chinatown – best bargains in New York.” Marnee cautions me (like a real cook!) that she doesn’t know the exact measurements – so lighten up everyone, and improvise. Every time I ask her “how much?” of each ingredient – she looks at me incredulously. Here we go…


  • bok choy (2 bunches)
  • fresh ginger – 1 ‘stick’ (or root?); VERY finely chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (or to taste; finely chopped)
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Boil a large pot of water (approximate here)
  2. Take a sautee pan, and sautee the garlic and ginger (enough ginger to line the pan) in olive oil and soy sauce, until garlic is browned and ginger, she says “I don’t know what happens to the ginger – but by the time the garlic is browned, the ginger is ready.”
  3. Then, once water is boiling, and the “stuff has sauteed, you’re gonna take a tong full of bok choy” (when asked what is a tong – Marnee flaps her fingers together) and “blanche it” – until the bok choy is bright green. Marnee says 2-3 seconds to be exact. :>)
  4. Now, “you take it out – and put it into the pan with garlic & ginger,” and on a very low heat, mix it all together – stirring gently making sure bok choy is coated in the ginger, garlic and soy sauce.
  5. Remove and set aside
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for next “tong full” of bok choy – adding ginger & garlic as needed.

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