Hannukah 2009: Traditional Food And Recipes
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is being celebrated from the sunset of December 11 to the sunset of December 19 this year. The holiday is part of the non-Christmas December festivities and commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. The word "Hanukkah" derives from the verb "to dedicate." For millions of Jews around the world, the eight days of Hanukkah is an occasion to reconnect with their families and celebrate their cultural and religious heritage. The essential part of any Hannukah celebration is the Hanukkah feast accompanied by prayers and the lighting of Hanukkah candles (or menorah) every night for eight days.
The centerpieces of a traditional Hanukkah dinner are latkes and sufganiyot. Historically, Hanukkah has been closely associated with the miracle of oil -- the Maccabees successfully rebelled against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Temple was purified and the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day's lighting. No wonder that an important aspect of the Hanukkah celebrations is cooking meals and foods fried in oil. Latkes (or Livivot) are potato pancakes that are prepared by frying them in oil. The sufganiyots are another yummy Hanukkah tradition -- these are jam-filled deep-fried doughnuts. Dairy products are also quite popular during Hanukkah.
The traditional recipe for latkes is:
1. Grate four large potatoes and one onion.
2. Separately, mix one egg, salt, pepper, 1 tsp of flour and baking powder. Add potato and onions, and mix well.
3. Into heated oil in the pan, place spoonfuls of potato mixture.
4. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain.
5. Serve with cream.
The sufganiyots are made like this:
1. Combine 25 grams of yeast, one tbsp of sugar and water. Mix well, cover until the dough rises. In another bowl, mix 3 cups of flour with 50 grams of melted margarine, salt, sugar and two egg yolks. Combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture. Slowly add water while stirring. When batter is smooth, cover the bowl with a towel and let it sit and rise.
2. To make the doughnuts: After the batter has risen, pour it onto a floured surface and roll it out. Use a glass with a small opening to cut out circles of the dough. Place a drop of jelly in the middle of each circle, and then cover with another circle of dough. Make sure that two circles attach well to form a closed ball with jelly in the middle.
3. To fry the doughnuts: Heat oil in a deep pot until very hot. Drop the doughnuts into the oil and fry on both sides until brown.
The traditional Hanukkah menu also includes brisket or chicken, parve side dishes, cheese, pretzels, tongue, marshmellow dreidels and kugel.