Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Authentic Israeli Dishes

When you hear “authentic” Middle Eastern food, a few images come to mind. However, when you hear “authentic” Israeli food you come to expect a heated discussion of what exactly that phrase means. It all comes down to the origin and, for better or worse, authentic Israeli food is a hodgepodge of recipes from all over the globe.

It's clear to see how the cultures coming to Israel have forever shaped the cuisine in glorious ways. We love the authentic dishes of Israel, and even more so the different renditions that pop up in different areas of the world. For each food there are at least a few popular variations of the same basic elements. Most importantly, “authentic” Israeli food is more than just felafel and shwarma. Below you will find some mouthwatering authentic choices that you can find all over Israel.

1. Malabi - Malabi is a milk and flour-based custard that can be found anywhere in Israel, from upscale hotels to outdoor market side-streets. This is a refreshing dessert in the summer or winter, for children and adults alike. Malabi’s sweetness comes from the rose-water used to prepare it. It's often topped with fresh ingredients like coconut shavings or chopped nuts, which adds a crunchy texture to the otherwise creamy delicacy.

2. Matbucha - Whether you call it matbucha or "Turkish salad", expect to see this dish at almost every Israeli table. The base of every matbucha salad is cooked tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and onions. Of course, different versions sometimes include other vegetables and garnishes like onions and parsley. Matbucha is usually served as an appetizer or a dip for bread, pita, or vegetables, and complements any humous dish.

3. Jachnun - Jachnun is a meticulously prepared Yemenite bread, incomparable to any roll or pastry you’ve ever tasted. Although it looks like an eggroll, the only thing you will find inside is more savory dough. Jachnun is prepared by thinly rolling out a ball of dough until it's paper-thin. Next, the dough is folded over and rolled into a doughy log, each layer separated by a smear of margarine. A true labor of love, jachnun is baked at very low heat for approximately ten hours. It is traditionally served with a boiled egg and s'hug, a crushed tomato sauce.

4. Kubbeh - Though there are many ways to spell this dish, they all sound alike. The Arabic word kubbeh means ball - maybe not the most appetizing name for an edible item, but it makes a lot of sense once you feast your eyes on this authentic Middle Eastern dish.

5. Kebab - Kebab basically takes the place of a hamburger in popular Israeli grill outs. They look like oblong meat sticks packed with onions, parsley, and other spices. Kebab is normally made out of ground beef and grilled over an open flame; however we see many varieties of this treat.

Read the rest of the article here.

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