Recipe for vegan okra gravy … and maamoul cookies

My mother and father’ upbringing in Baghdad, Iraq didn’t embrace pop psychology. Certainly, there was little or no Western in his adolescence. I at all times loved when he would refer again to his childhood and discuss western issues like calling bread “loaf” and the way he smoked a Marlboro as soon as (he hated it and did not choose up one other) and the primary time he noticed a film and was impressed by the dramatic music and loud promoting for “twentieth Century Fox” in English Arabic.

My father’s upbringing included self-discipline, absolute and unwavering respect for his mother and father, and a robust sense of duty in the direction of the household. He by no means advised me he beloved his mother and father, however I knew it from the tales he advised about them. I’ve by no means heard him say to my mother, “I like you!” However he was evident in the best way he acted, in gestures massive and small. He by no means mentioned “I like you” to me, however I knew it from the underside of my being.

I’ve a confession to make. I’ve a Starbucks dependancy—each day, I am going there for a flat white. I do know, I do know, there are higher coffees on the market, however I actually like their water (as soon as I overheard a supervisor clarify to a would-be barista that water goes by reverse osmosis 18 instances). Additionally, they’ve a rewards program. Let’s simply say I’ve numerous stars!

My father additionally beloved espresso. Throughout his lengthy keep within the hospital, my favourite factor to do was carry me a latte from Starbucks. And each day (largely nights) leaving the hospital, I’d kiss my father on the brow and say “Ani ohevet ot’cha! (I like you in Hebrew.)

My father’s funeral in Beit Shemesh, Israel, was a surreal expertise. (I’ve to thank Rabbi Kalman Taub of Congregation Beth Jacob, Israel’s Consul Common Hillel Neumann and my husband Alan for spending hours on the telephone to ensure my father’s physique was on Monday morning for the El Al flight.)

His funeral was preceded by that of Cantor Moshe Krause, a 100-year-old Holocaust survivor. Krause sang each Sunday to conductor Josef Kramer, “Bilsen’s Beast”, who stored him alive due to his candy voice. Many survivors of Bergen-Belsen do not forget that Moshel’s assortment of Yiddish and sacred music stored their hope and religion in that darkish, infernal place. After the conflict, he turned the primary Hazan official within the IDF. And though he lived in Ottawa and died childless, his funeral was standing room solely.

It was bittersweet to fulfill my father’s beloved sisters Daisy and Adina and youthful brother Naim, his accomplice in youth adventures and on to Israel. It was gratifying to see so a lot of my mother and father, nephews, my mom’s cousins, and so many mates take the time to mourn with us on a highly regarded Tuesday afternoon.

Shiva seated us in Rehavia. The condominium had an enormous balcony surrounded by sentinel palms, tall eucalyptus vegetation, and flowering vegetation, with views of the Russian compound and the white dome of the YMCA. My cousin Sarah Sassoon, poet and kids’s guide writer, served us a pot of lentil soup (the standard meals of mourners) and an enormous tray of scrumptious rooster and easy white rice.

The condominium was on the third ground and the entrance door was at all times huge open. However it was nonetheless a shock when a person simply walked in, carrying two enormous bins of sizzling borica, and welcomed us within the conventional manner.”Your concern is sympathizing. (The place will put you relaxed.) Simply an abnormal Israeli supply man. I really cried after I opened the cardboard and noticed the love letter from Beth Jacob.

Sephardim have them royal To supply a spread of meals at Shiva in order that guests can put together a bracha to Nshama (soul) to be attic in heaven. Thankfully, the meals in Israel, particularly in the summertime, is ridiculously good. Tender watermelon, darkish cherry, candy fleshy peach. Contemporary delicate multigrain bread with scrumptious yellow cheese. and higherbezochem—pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried fruits, even Japanese rice chips. On daily basis, I’d ship my son Ariel and my nephew Yosef Yitzhak to Shuk Machne Yehuda with a protracted listing of meals gadgets to purchase.

Our pricey pal Lillian despatched us an exquisite fruit plate. My good pal Shirley organized a protracted listing of mates who contributed an appetizer tray stuffed with Syrian kibbeh (made with bulgur and minced beef), Lashmagin (Mini pizza with Syrian beef), kebbeh and fried rooster. My mother’s cousin Ilana introduced home made trufflesIt’s a crunchy and salty ring cracker historically served in Iraqi mourning properties.

Many guests introduced truffles and cookies. There have been a number of lengthy slim chocolate babkas (referred to as crunch in Israel).


When Sharon returned from Israel, she advised me that she wished to make okra kibbeh and schwander kibbeh for her father’s shloshim. Kibbeh is the identify given to the shell-wrapping round a meat ball produced from floor beef, lamb, or rooster breast, typically produced from bulgur, potatoes, or rice. However Sharon was speaking about making kibbeh with semolina. It is extremely troublesome and never simple to do.

On the appointed day, I popped into Kahal Joseph to see Sharon, our greatest mates Esther and Jazmin, and Kahal’s resident chef Benina sitting in entrance of commercial bowls of semolina dough and floor beef blended with Italian parsley, chopped onions and spices.

I sat down, absorbed within the activity at hand. I certain thought we would be there till midnight. However I forgot who I used to be coping with, these girls are severe within the kitchen. Earlier than we knew it, we had made 360 ​​kibbehs, which I froze penna on the spot. Sharon even reused leftover meat filling in massive trays of kebabs by including eggs, potato starch, and extra seasoning.

By the point it took us to scrub our arms, Esther had already made an industrial-sized bowl my girl A dough (made from flour and semolina and calmly scented with rose water) and one other bowl stuffed with date paste and one other bowl stuffed with crushed walnuts. We began an industrial line. Esther rolled the dough into balls for us. I stuffed Jazmin with dates, stuffed them with nuts, pressed every ball into stunning picket molds, and got here out with 200 biscuits. The aroma of the oven-baked biscuits was superb. In the meantime, Sharon and Pnina had been rolling date-nut balls in coconut (certainly one of her dad’s favourite meals).

I took a deep breath and checked out my pricey, loyal mates cooking collectively. “Wow, this have to be the way it was once, household and neighbors gathering to prepare dinner and bake collectively,” I mentioned to myself.

Esther was prepared to proceed however all of us protested. All of us went residence to some effectively deserved relaxation. I believed what we would achieved – we made these complicated conventional recipes with such ease and camaraderie. We even had a couple of laughs.

On the morning of Sharon’s father’s memorial, I walked into the kitchen at Cahal Joseph’s. Sharon and her daughter Alexandra had 4 enormous pots of soup boiling over the hearth. There have been two bowls of vibrant reddish-purple beet stew and two bowls of deep purple okra, tomato and butternut squash soup. It was a magical sight to see Sharon and Alexandra drop all of the kibbeh we made into the 2 bigger bowls. (To accommodate vegetarian company, Sharon stored small bowls for every vegetarian soup.)

Sharon and I arrange a protracted buffet desk. Within the heart, was an ornate bicycle stuffed with vibrant roses (an emblem of the bicycle that Sharon’s father rode into his eighties). There was fried fish, grilled rooster, white rice, Persian dill rice, and loads of salad. However the kippah was an enormous hit with Ashkenazi and Sephardi alike. We thank everybody for this particular meal. Fairly a couple of folks advised us that the kibbeh took them again to their grandmothers’ kitchen.

The dessert desk was stuffed with contemporary fruits, dates, dried fruits, nuts and Alexandra contemporary brownies. Our flower formed cookies had been superb. The crunchy dough was dusted with a bit of powdered sugar and had simply the best crunch and the proper orange blossom perfume. The dates inside had been melting clean and scrumptious. They disappeared in minutes.

Numerous instances, we prepare dinner as a result of we now have to feed our household and mates. However typically cooking has a deeper function. Our purpose was to honor Sharon’s father’s reminiscence by making ready his favourite Iraqi meals. I’m so pleased with my pricey Spice Lady Sharon for persevering with within the legacy and traditions of her grandmothers.

I really know that blessing comes from our arms and is transmitted to the meals we make. Once you prepare dinner with intention and love in your coronary heart, you obtain perfection. The meals is bursting with taste and texture and you may style the love.

I really know that blessing comes from our arms and is transmitted to the meals we make. Once you prepare dinner with intention and love in your coronary heart, you obtain perfection. The meals is bursting with taste and texture and you may style the love.

What a particular night to honor Nshama David Ben Raphael and Rosa.

You may really feel the love within the room.

– Rachel

1/4 cup of additional virgin olive oil

1 massive onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon candy purple pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon finely floor black pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

Six cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 massive tomatoes finely chopped

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 tablespoons of sugar

Juice of two massive lemons

4 cups of water

2 tbsp client powder

1 medium zucchini, peeled, seeded, and minimize into 2-inch cube

1400 grams of frozen okra

In a big saucepan, warmth the oil over medium warmth. Add onions and sauté till translucent. Add turmeric, paprika, garlic powder, pepper and salt and stir effectively.

Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, mashed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir effectively and go away to boil.

Add sugar, lemon juice and water. stir effectively.

Add the cobs and pumpkin powder and stir effectively. Cowl the pot and cut back the warmth. Go away it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the okra and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve sizzling with white rice.

Picture by Alexandra Gomperts


2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup semolina flour

1/2 teaspoon rose water

1 cup unsalted butter or shortening or coconut oil

Walnut filling

1 pound of crushed walnuts

2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, shortening, or coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon blossom water

Dates filling

1 lb. pitted dates

1/2 cup floor walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon blossom water

Preheat the oven to 350 levels Fahrenheit.

Combine the flour and semolina in a big bowl till the consistency of crumbs.

Add rose water, add butter and add 1/2 teaspoon of lukewarm water.

Knead the dough effectively and put it within the fridge till you utilize it.

Put together the fillings by mixing the elements.

Divide the dough into 4 parts.

Work on one part at a time, masking the remainder as you’re employed.

Roll out walnut-sized balls of dough, and press down the middle along with your finger, forming a 1-inch indentation.

Fill the area with 1/2 teaspoon of the filling, then shut the dough.

If you’re utilizing a maamoul mildew, press the highest of the pastry firmly towards the mildew, then gently faucet the mildew on a tough floor to take away the pastry.

Place the pastries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the bottoms of the pastries are calmly browned and the tops are pale.

Sprinkle the biscuits with confectioners’ sugar earlier than serving.

Sharon Gomperts And Rachel Emquis Chef We have been mates since highschool. The Sephardic Spice Women undertaking developed out of their collaboration on the Sephardi Training Middle in Jerusalem. Comply with them
on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Fb at Sephardic Spice SEC Meals. Web site:

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