Persian Recipes for Chanukah

by Reyna Simnegar

Kookoo sib’e torsh

Sour Apple Latkes

Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Traditionally, latkes are eaten with applesauce and sour cream, but here is a latke with the applesauce included. These are absolutely delicious and savory, with a hint of sweetness.

2 large green apples, with skins, cored and shredded
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
Canola oil, as needed, for frying

1. In a medium bowl, mix the apples, eggs, salt, and flour to form a wet batter. Set aside.

2. Fill a medium skillet with 1/2-inch of oil and heat over medium heat until oil sizzles when a little water is dropped in. Drape a platter with a few sheets of paper towel to absorb the oil after frying.

3. Using a large spoon or 1/4-cup measure, drop batter into oil, forming patties about 2 inches wide. Fry for about 2 minutes per side or until the kookoos are brown. Place on the paper towel-covered platter to drain.

4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 13 kookoos


Golden Dough Spheres Soaked in Rose Water Syrup

These little dough balls really look like their name. Bamieh is Farsi for okra. These look just like small okra that are still green. It is impossible to eat just one of these. Consider yourself warned!

Tricks of the trade
With anything that needs deep frying, it is very important to bring the oil to a temperature of 350°F. If you do not have a frying thermometer, test the oil with a small piece of dough. If the ball of dough rises to the top when dropped in the oil, the oil is ready. If the oil is not at the right temperature, the food will absorb more oil than necessary.

If you do not have a pastry bag or a pastry tip, use a storage-size zip-top bag, making an opening with scissors at one end.

1 cup water
1 stick unsalted margarine (4 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
5 eggs

1/4 cup rose water
1 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

4 cups canola oil for frying

1. In a small nonstick saucepan, bring water, margarine, and salt to a boil. Add the cup of flour, all at once, mixing rapidly. Reduce the heat to medium and keep on mixing until a ball of dough that detaches easily from the pot forms. Set aside and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, make the syrup by mixing all ingredients in a glass bowl and microwaving for 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool.

3. Transfer cooled dough to a stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one by one, making sure each egg has been completely incorporated into the dough before adding the next.

4. Transfer the dough to pastry bag fitted with a medium star pastry tip.

5. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 350°F. Drop in a 1-inch size strip of dough, squeezing the pastry bag and cutting the dough with kitchen scissors as it comes out of the tip. Fry until the dough is golden and puffed.

6. Scoop the bamieh out of the oil and place into a strainer to cool.

7. When balls have cooled, transfer them to the bowl of cold syrup. Soak the bamieh in the syrup for about 3 minutes, drain and serve.

Yield: about 100 pieces

Reyna Simnegar, born in Venezuela, is a descendant of anousim. She is the author of Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride.

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