Jewish food recipes differ in many respects from recipes for dishes of other nations, and Jewish cuisine is one of the most ancient national cuisines in the world, it is rich in many traditional recipes that are cooked from a variety of products. Jewish recipes have one very important difference from most recipes from other cuisines. Usually, the recipes of national cuisines use products, ingredients and spices that are available in the place of residence of a particular people. Jews live all over the world, and therefore products from all over the world are also involved in Jewish food recipes, and the basis of Jewish recipes is not a set of traditional ingredients, but methods of cooking Jewish food recipes.
Jewish cuisine is based on kashrut, a series of laws that govern the diet of Jews. Kashrut determines what foods can be eaten by Jews and what not, as well as the methods of cooking that can be used in preparing Jewish dishes. Kashrut divides all foods into two types: kosher – suitable, faithful, and tref – non-kosher, prohibited. There are a number of parameters to determine the kosher of a product and a finished dish, and only taking into account all of them, the recipe for a Jewish dish will be considered kosher. In addition to kosher products, there are also strict requirements for meat and dairy products – they should never be mixed, stored or cooked together. But a number of foods called parve, which are neither meat nor dairy, can be eaten with meat or dairy products.
Traditional Jewish dishes has a lot to do with the way of life of the Jews over the past few centuries. Difficult material conditions forced the housewives to look for any ways to feed a large family with a lack of food. Therefore, in the recipes of Jewish food, dishes from whole meat, poultry or fish are not often found – preference is given to stuffed dishes. In many recipes, the main ingredient is chicken or fish – the cheapest and most affordable foods. In Jewish dishes, a product is rarely used to prepare one dish – for example, chicken was used to cook broth for soup, and chicken meat was used to prepare another dish.
Traditional Jewish fish dishes are widely known – forshmak made from chopped herring with the addition of apples and other ingredients, or a rather complicated but incredibly tasty Jewish dish – gefilte fish, or stuffed fish. Stuffed goose neck is also widely known – it is also a traditional Jewish cuisine recipe. It may surprise many that such familiar dishes as herring under a fur coat and vinaigrette are not Soviet dishes at all, but primordially Jewish recipes.
On Pesach, Jews are forbidden to eat yeast bread in any form, therefore matzah is prepared instead – unleavened bread made only from water and flour. In addition to the fact that matzo is used on Pesach instead of bread, many Jewish dishes are cooked from it. Various dishes are cooked from crushed matzah, or matzah flour, such as boiling dumplings "Kneidlach" in broth, frying pancakes "Macelatkes" and "Khremzlah", soaked broken matzah is fried like an omelet, sometimes with onions and eggs – the dish is called "matze braye"... The unchanging baked goods of Jewish cuisine is challah, a large wicker loaf usually topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
In Jewish cuisine, certain recipes are cooked for various holidays. On Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year, it is customary to bake a round challah, there are apples with honey. A must-have dish on Rosh Hashanah is fish or lamb. On Purim, it is customary to bake triangular cookies "khomentash", or "ears of Haman", in commemoration of the gift of the Torah, mountain-shaped sweets are prepared on Mount Sinai, and on Simchat Torah, a round carrot cake with honey will certainly be cooked.
Spices and herbs are widely used in Jewish recipes – black and white pepper, cloves, cinnamon, parsley herbs and root, saffron, coriander and nutmeg are added to many dishes. Jewish recipes also use spices such as mint, dill, various onions, celery, horseradish, and many others, but usually the amount of spice is limited so that the dishes are not too spicy.
Jewish cuisine is very tasty and varied, many Jewish recipes are distinguished by the complexity of cooking, but this is more than compensated by the result obtained – the excellent taste of the finished dish. Jewish cuisine has incorporated the products used to cook dishes all over the world, resulting in simple and complex dishes, but incredibly tasty dishes, and you can familiarize yourself with the recipes of Jewish cuisine on our website and try your hand at cooking them.