What Do Jews Eat During Hanukkah
Every year around Christian Christmas time, Hanukkah brings families and friends together to commemorate a miracle in Jewish history. Following the Maccabean war in the 165 BC, a lamp had oil enough to light for one night only, but miraculously, it managed to burn for eight nights. From that day, Jews celebrate this festival for eight nights every year. The celebrations include lighting, playing games, and of course, food. Most of the foods cooked for Hanukkah are fried, representing the magical oil that burnt a lamp for eight nights. Doughnuts and potato latkes are staples, in addition to short ribs, brisket, noodles, kugels and others. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out what do Jewish eat during Hanukkah, and what not.
Fried Hanukkah foods
Oil became the reason to celebrate Hanukkah, and it plays an important role in making Hanukkah dishes as well. Latkes are fried potato pancakes that are the most popular foods Jewish eat during Hanukkah. These are nothing but shredded potatoes made with flour, egg, onions and seasonings. Then they make small pancakes out of this mixture, and fry them in oil. They become crispy in texture, and are usually served with applesauce and sour cream.
While these are the traditional latkes, there are several variations developed till date, featuring ingredients like sweet potato, scallion, brandade, pumpkin, Moroccan spice and cauliflower.
Another fried delicacy enjoy during Hanukkah is the jelly filled, deep-fried donuts traditionally known as sufganiot by the Jewish. Everyone, especially children, love them across the globe.
Hanukkah meat foods
Brisket is a very popular dish that features on most Hanukkah tables. This is a slow-cooked piece of meat that serves as a warming and welcoming dish during winters. Roasted chicken is also included by some families along with a green vegetable and the latkes. Usually, brisket is cut from the lower chest or breast of veal or beef.
To make brisket, place a roasting pan on medium heat, sear brisket from all sides, pour beef broth, onion slices, onion soup and beer in it, and let it bake for 30 minutes. Let the brisket cool down, wrap it in an aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, cut away visible fat from the brisket, and cut thin slices across the meat grain. Place these slices in pan juices bake for 45 more minutes and serve.
Hanukkah dairy foods
According to a Hanukkah tradition, Judish, a Jewish heroine, secured a military victory with the help of homemade cheese. To commemorate that victory, Jewish people have a tradition to eat dairy products during this festival as well. Some of the most common dairy foods relished during this festival include sugared pecan salad with cheese, spinach tidbits, grilled salmon, beet risotto with goat cheese and greens etc. Some other must-try delicacies include farfalle with red onions, goat cheese and blueberries, and feta, mushroom and spinach pie baked with olive oil.
Traditional Hanukkah desserts
As far as desserts are concerned, Hanukkah gives a variety of options to try. From cupcake menorahs and decorated sugar cookies to contemporary cakes and traditional Hanukkah donuts, you can use your imagination to decide what to serve after dinner on Hanukkah. Some great ideas would be Hanukkah gelt cookies, olive oil baked doughnuts and a cake baked in olive oil with your favorite ingredients. Although it is commonly related to Indian desserts, gulab jamun is also eaten for Hanukkah.
Forbidden foods for Hanukkah
There are certain foods that are forbidden for Hanukkah. Some of them are:
- Any animal that does not have cloven hooves or which does not chew its cud is forbidden to be eaten on Hanukkah. Such animals include camel, hyrax, hare, pig etc.
- Any product derived from a forbidden animal is also prohibited, including fat, organs, milk, meat and eggs
- Certain parts of birds and animals are forbidden too. The slaughtered animal is firstly checked for any signs of disease. If it is clean, its fats, sciatic nerves and blood are removed. Blood is immediately removed by cutting the blood veins. They soak the meat in cold water and sprinkle some kosher salt on it. If the meat food you are making on Hanukkah does not follow these rules, it is not allowed to be eaten
- Any seafood that has fins and scales can be eaten on Hanukkah, which means that shrimp, crab, oyster, lobster and clam are forbidden
- Rodents, reptiles, amphibians and insects are restricted
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