Purim’s Hidden Foodie Message
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
Did you know that the Purim story lasted for 13 years? 13 years in which God was hidden.
Food combined with hidden spirituality is a major theme of the Purim story and it was through this the Jewish people were saved.
Here are a collection of interesting insights into both food and customs and some Persian dishes that may just have been served at the time in Shushan.
- During the Purim meal, it is customary in many communities to serve kreplach, meat-filled dumplings. The "hidden" meat is an allusion to the Purim miracle which though orchestrated by G d's hand, was hidden in seemingly natural events. Even if the meal lasts well into the night, the V'al Hanissim is still recited in the Grace after Meals.
- When Purim falls on Friday, there are some who will start their Purim meal before nightfall and continue into the night—combining the Purim meal with the Shabbat meal. If this option strikes your fancy, speak to your Rabbi. He will let you know whether it is advisable in your situation, and if yes, he will tell you how it is done (how and when to make the kiddush, eat the challah, etc.).
- It is a mitzvah to drink wine or other inebriating drinks at this meal—"until one knows not the difference between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai."
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
Founder of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute
Ingredients: (4 Servings)
one beef or two lamb tongues
garlic, 2-3 cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
medium onions, 2
tomato paste, 3-4 teaspoons
mushrooms, 500 grams (2 1/4 cups)
margarine, 100 grams (3.5 oz)
fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, dill, spring-onion ends), 200 grams (1 cup), finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Wash the tongue carefully. Add enough hot water to cover the tongue and bring to a boil. Remove any of the foam that may accumulate on top.
2. Add the garlic, onions and herbs to the tongue and cook over low heat for 4-5 hours. Adding additional hot water while it is cooking, if necessary.
3. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper towards the end of cooking.
4. When the tongue is cooked, there should be about one cup of water left in the pan. Remove the tongue and peel the skin while still warm.
5. Allow the tongue to cool and then cut into thin slices using a sharp knife.
6. Wash and slice mushrooms. Fry in margarine for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and the water left in the pan in which the tongue cooked and bring to a boil.
7. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Serve tongue with mushrooms and some fresh parsley.
Ingredients: (4 servings)
fine sugar, 150 grams (3/4 cup)
thick honey, 3-4 teaspoons
cooking oil, 100 grams (1/2 cup)
saffron, one teaspoon
almonds, 150 grams (3/4 cup), thinly sliced
pistachios, 100 grams (1/2 cup), thinly sliced
1. Mix the sugar, honey and oil and cook over high heat stirring occasionally until sugar melts and turns golden.
2. Add almonds and continue cooking while stirring occasionally until almonds also turn golden. Avoid stirring the mix too much. Dissolve the saffron in a bit of hot water and add to the mix.
3. Pour some oil on a flat tray and rub over the entire surface. Pour a small amount of the mix on the tray. If it solidifies too quickly, the mix is ready. Turn the heat very low.
4. Pour small portions of the mix using a teaspoon on the tray at equal distances so that the portions do not touch. As soon as each portion is poured on the tray, place a few slices of pistachio on top. Allow to cool.
5. Separate the sohaan from the tray using a knife and keep in a covered container.