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A celebration and exploration of the Judeo-Spanish culinary legacy around the globe.
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90 responses to “ASK”
My mother used to refer to an ice cream she called Dondurma. Are you familiar with this? Have you ever made it. Once, when I was a small child my mother took me somewhere in Brooklyn to eat some and it was divine.
My mother was from Monastir, now known as Bitol.
Our food were greatly influenced by the Turkish.
Hi, dondurma, is another word for ice cream, which in the Levant, Iraq, and Turkey are made with sahleb, flavored with mastic, and it has a delightfully chewy, elastic texture.
Dondurma is what my mom called ice cream.. a special type of ice cream.
She was from Monastir..
I do not know the correct spelling of this food but it sounds like, pisch pisch t or a friend said it was called pisch pisch teal. I love this food but have not been able to enjoy it since my grandmother passed away.
Dear Ms. Amateau,
We will be visiting Catalonia in May. We are really excited about trying your restaurant and touring Girona. Do you have any suggestions for Jewish tourists in Catalonia? I am really looking forward to meeting you!
Hi, Ronit – I’ll send you an email with details.
Tishpishti, you can Google it for recipes
Jeff, no doubt you’re looking for Turkish walnut cake soaked in syrup. The difficulty with coming up with the right spelling of this one is because the word is Turkish; transliterating is subject to regionalisms, people’s accents, etc. As a result, you’ll find all kinds of variants, eg. tezpishti, tishpishti, tishpitti, and so forth. The list goes on.
Back to the cake itself, which is based on ground walnuts flavored with any combination of spice and citrus (most commonly cinnamon, clove, orange, lemon). It’s baked in a square cake pan, soaked in a honey or lemon syrup and cut into diamond shapes for serving.
I’ve seen dozens of approaches to making tishpishti, ranging from light as a feather, flourless sponge cakes made with many eggs (the technique of my great aunt, who came from Adalia) to a dense, eggless oil dough you spread into a pan using your hands. The technique your grandmother used will mostly depend upon where she came from. If you remember the density of her cake – sponge? compact? oily? crumbly? – you will be able to find the kind of recipe you’re looking for. And if you know specifically where she came from, I may be able to help you narrow down your search even further. I hope this has been useful. — JA
Janet,,,YOU are beautiful.. you hit the nail on the head the first time…Wow…Your discription is exactly what I was looking for!!!…LOL… I am soooooooo excited..Tishpishti….I only knew it as pish pish t…wow..dense, eggless oil dough you spread into a pan using your hands. ground walnuts flavored with any combination of spice and citrus, (orange), oily. My grandmother was from Istanbul, Turkey.
Thank you so very much for all of your assistance!!!!!!!
Janet,,,,I just had to add a little more to my post…My grandmother always had good Jewish food for us kids..My uncle was Joe Behar, Head Chef de Cuisine for Hyatt; he used to give my grandmother bags of walnuts and she always made treats for us. I grew up with Spinacha, Biscochos, Bourekas, Bulemas, (spelling ?) and many other foods of unknown names….There was another post regarding Nona,,,I had a Big Nona, my greatgrandmother and little Noni, my grandmother. Both played major roles n my growth and taste for Saphardic cooking.
once again…thank you
You are very, very welcome, Jeff.
Hi Janet, thankyou so much for providing a reference and source, I am sephardic and I love reading about all this delicious food.
Linda – thank you. Your blog is delightful and your bulemas look fantastic. As an aside, we are probably related through my great-grandmother, who was a Capelouto (sp?) from Rhodes. And if it’s the same Capelouto family, then you’ve got a lot of relatives in L.A. I’ll have to introduce you to! — JA
Hola, quisiera saber cómo se dice en inglés niños envueltos en hoja de parra.
gracias por su respuesta.
Valeria, en inglés se llaman ‘stuffed vine leaves’ o ‘stuffed grape leaves’ (hojas de parra rellenas), pero es un plato de origen turco/balcano, donde se llaman o ‘yaprak/yaprakes’ o ‘dolma/dolmades’. ‘Yaprak dolma’ significa literalmente ‘hoja de parra relleno’. La receta es aparecido a niños envueltos, en que lleva arroz, especias y carne picada (o cordero o ternera en la tradicion judia). Los griegos (y los armenios) hacen ‘dolmades’ que llevan arroz, piñones y hierbas aromaticas sin carne. – JA
While getting a recipe of a fritada from my mother I was a bit confused. Fritada, almodrote and cuajado, they seem very similar. What are they actually. Is the difference only the way we cook it?
Basically, yes, Avraam that’s the difference. If you click on the glossary link in the right hand column (or go straight to http://www.sephardiccooking.com), you’ll find an entry about this in the glossary. You can look up either cuajado or fritada for an explanation. Almodrote is actually an arabic word in origin, whereas the other two are Spanish, but it refers to the same category of food.
Janet, my mother, who was from Smyrna (Izmir) used to make a juice from dried melon seeds. She called it subiya (my phonetic spelling). Are you acquainted with it and if so, would you know how it is made? Thank you. Victor Hazan
Victor – you’re describing pepitada, which is made by steeping melon seeds in water (at least a few hours to overnight), after which you strain it through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. Traditional flavorings, if you feel so inclined, include rosewater, honey, sugar or orange flower water. It’s a classic Sephardic beverage (You can read a little more about it in the on-line glossary I maintain at http://www.SephardicCooking.com). I’m intrigued by the word you use, since I’ve never seen pepitada referred to as anything other than pepitada. Right off the bat I’ve got a few theories, and would love to hear from anyone who’s familiar with this alternative name for pepitada.
My dear Janet, thank you for the immediate and informative reply. My wife is a gifted (and celebrated) cook, but i miss my mother’s dishes so much. They tasted of my mother and it is she I miss. I would sign away 10 years of my life for a tray of her borekitas. I shall look up pepitatda and see whether i can come close to what she used to make. Best, Victor
Dear Victor – I tasted my great-grandmother’s biscochos only once that I can remember. I was no more than four years old, and they were heavenly. She died when I was nine, wrote nothing down, no one remembers her recipes and I didn’t attempt making them until I was well into my 40’s. Amazingly, on only the third attempt I got it right! I was overjoyed, and amazed that I could remember that singular, wonderful taste after so much time. Alas, I was also so excited that I left my scribbled notes for another day (too busy eating biscochos), and then couldn’t decipher them! But I’ll get them right again. As for your mother’s pepitada, the key will be to recall what kind of melons she used; the same flavor will be in the seeds (some people toast the seeds; we never did). And as for your wife, I suspect I should be asking you to extend her her my own sincere thanks for all I’ve learned from her 😉 – JA
In Turkey we call it “Sübya”. But actually only Sephardic Jews from İzmir prepare it during summer time. Unfortunately I do not know the etymology of that word.
Thank you, Avraam! That’s enough for me to go on, and I will start digging… — JA
my father would eat a appetizer which was raw fish with lemon squeezed onto it. I think it is called LAKADA, made from mackeral.
He would eat it with greek olives and bread
I am a Sephardic Jew who grew up in Brooklyn and now live in Kansas City and would like to know how my mother prepared this dish for my dad
My Mom made TRIPE in a red sauce, do you have a receipe for that.
Many Thanks and Blessings
I enjoy reading your blog.
I just saw this question, and though 5 years have passed since it was asked, I thought I would add what I know.
Though I now live in Canada, I am originally from Israel. One food I loved since I was a child growing up there, and always sought out when I went back to visit, was a fish called “lakerda”. I had no idea what it was, and could never find it in Canada.
I googled the word a few years ago in another attempt to find it, and found reference to it meaning “mackerel” in Greek. Shortly after that I was in a Russian-Jewish shop, and to my delight found cold-smoked mackerel (different in texture from the hot-smoked version) which was very similar to what I remembered.
I note in googling the word “lakerda” today (while typing out this answer), that there is now a Wikipedia entry about it, and it refers to pickled (rather than cold-smoked) fish, often served with lemon, as Joseph describes. Interestingly, the fish apparently is usually bonito, despite the fact that “lakerda” does mean “mackerel”.
So now I will start searching for the pickled version….
Hi, Sharon. I answered Joseph’s question five years ago in this post. It’s nice to revisit the question now; and you’ll find some of your answers in my post. (By the way, I’ve since eaten mackerel over here in Spain and it was absolutely delicious!). Thanks for your comment!
hello. I am also of Sephardic descent and my family was also living in Rhodes for centuries. I am currently a cook in a Spanish restaurant in Portland, Oregon and will be travelling to Spain for a few months to eat and explore. I am writing to see if perhaps we could be in an email dialogue about Spanish and Sephardic food and I would love to come to your restaurant.
Umm.. I am listening to an old Sephardic Purim song. At least I think it’s old.. old Ladino. I could use some help decoding the food references.. at least I think it’s food..
They say, este noche de Purim no duermen los haluiyim (panaderos)- tonight on Purim the bakers won’t sleep
Haciendo alhaluinadas para las desposadas- making alhaluinadas for the brides-
WHAT is an alhaluinada?- talk about a thinly veiled Arabic word!
And then.. the next food related verse discusses-
Indianas muy bien asadas- Indian nuts very well roasted?
pinonadas y almendradas- pine nuts and almonds/ almond cake?
Lombos, elguengas ahumadas (I don’t know what either of those are, but ahumada means ‘smoked’ and elguenga is definitely another Arabic word).
Porque hacen bien beber (for they make for good drinking)-
So the reference is clear.. they are eating salty, spicy smoked snacks on Purim to drink a lot and get drunk, which makes sense, since it’s what you do on Purim. But I have no idea what any of these foods are and was hoping you could help me figure it out! Or at least steer me in the right direction? Thanks.
Here are the meanings, Mark:
indianas = turkeys (the bird)
almendradas = chewy almond cookies
pinyonadas = the same, only studded with pine nuts
lombo = lomo, or loin, a cut of meat often served smoked
elguenga = aluenga, or luenga, i.e. tongue, also smoked
alhaluinadas – the root of this word is Hebrew, not Arabic. Look at the word for panaderos (bakers): haluiyim. This is Hebrew for Levites, one of the Tribes of Israel. One of their duties was baking for the Tabernacle, ergo for religious ceremonies. The ‘al’ beginning is from Arabic, and the -ada ending is Spanish. Hebrew, Spanish and Arabic all rolled into one – this is a great example of a word that could only be Ladino!
The meaning? I believe this may not be a specific recipe, but rather a way of saying ‘baked goods’ – for the brides, meaning the women dressed as Esther (traditional costume), during the holiday. It was Sephardic custom to prepare holiday breads and pastries for a bride in preparation for her wedding, and to give gifts of food at Purim (also to feast and get drunk, which figures in the Purim story). If a Ladino speaker wants to confirm or correct me on this, great!
Wow- detailed and fast! I love you! You’d make a great librarian. Thank you Janet.
I found your blog some time ago. I would like to consult you regarding a book called Jewish Cookery that I saw on sale. I remember reading from you that many books have wrong facts about the recipes so I was wondering if you happened to know this one by a Czech author, Alena Krekulova…It is translated into English from Czech, published or printed in the Czech republic and the recepies are mostly from Central and Eastern Europe. I would like to buy it but i have no clue if it is good since i am completely new to Jewish cooking. Thank you for your response.
Hi, Golema –
My knowledge is with traditional Sephardic cooking, not all Jewish cooking, so I wouldn’t be the best consultant for you on this book. But that’s no reason not to buy it. The recipes and techniques may or may not be traditional (the book you’re asking about has traditional recipes), but cooking is as much about discovery and invention as it is about preservation. As an aside, the reason I am so interested in getting the traditional foundation ‘right’ is that everything that comes after will be built on that foundation. It should accurately represent the culture it grew out of. When I began this project, many Sephardic cookbooks still did not.
In general, if a foreign cookbook has been translated it’s probably because it’s got good recipes and there’s a niche it can fill. Foreign cookbooks can be wonderful discoveries because the recipes haven’t been adjusted to suit American tastes or preconceptions.
It’s always a joy to discover new recipes or styles of cooking, so why stop yourself? If the book hasn’t received much promotion, probably the printing was small and the audience is still untested. Go with your gut. If you like the sound of the recipes, if the book intrigues you, then buy it, enjoy it and let it inspire you!
Thank you for seeking my opinion.
I see that my father-in-law has already found your informative blog. Thank you for your kind replies and answers. In my father-in-law’s family they always served rice instead of Challah for Shabbat. Is that an Izmir tradition? Victor thinks it is Sephardic; however, I’ve been to other Sephardic homes that I believed had Challah. I’ve tried to look up the history but have hit an end. I’d love it if you could assist. Thank you in advance.
Lael, your question is the subject of today’s post!
My name is Jamie, and I am currently studying abroad in Madrid. As part of my language intensive program, we also have a cultural class, and I have decided to write my paper on the history of Sephardic cooking, its traditions, and its influence on Spanish cuisine today. Do you have any recommendations of sources I should look at to help me with this paper. You have an incredible website. Thank you for spreading your knowledge and passion with the world!
Hi, Jamie! You’ve chosen a very ambitious project. I’ll answer you via email with some suggestions.
This walnut cake was called by Salonician jews “tupishti” and when I was a kid I liked it very much. I still like it but cannot find in Greece or in Israel where I live.
The version my mother was baking was crumbly and compact (I mean the the opposite of fluffy or spongy).
I managed to collect a few recipes but to determine which one is closer to my conception is not easy, as I must bake them all and then compare between them!
That’s a lot of cake! But it freezes well. A very patient woman has been helping me test biscocho recipes, and that’s hard to do in small batches (she probably wants to kill me!)…
LOL Janet,Testing bichochos is nearly impossible to do in small batches. really, I don’t want to kill you. Waiting for my next assignment if you are still passionate about finding the perfect biscocho recipe. Maybe when it gets a bit cooler.
My mom, who came from Bitol aka Monastir, called the cake you are talking about Tispishti. I never tasted it.
The recipe my grandmother (from Salonica) gave me was to boil equal parts of oil, honey and water (1 cup each) together and then add 1 cup chopped walnuts and 3 cups flour (flour amount equals total liquid amount). Pat dough into a 13×9 pan and bake at 350. Take out and cut after about 10 minutes and pour honey over. Return to oven, but take out every 10 minutes or so to pour more honey. Total baking time around 35-40 minutes, when top is lightly browned. Pour more honey as it cools. This is still a favorite of mine. I can practically eat the whole batch by myself. Hope you find what you’re looking for!
Using flour, a lot of honey, olive oil, walnuts and mixed sultana and corinthian (small black) raisins, I believe in English they are called “currants”, (sugar? I don’t remember if yes or no.)
my mother used to make the much appreciated by Saloncian jews BUDINO cake.
I searched the word in internet for recipes but did not find anything similar.
Most probably, this cake exists in the Sepharadic world under another name.
My wife wishes to bake a “budino” but doesn’t remember the proportions
she learned from my mother. It was such a lot of time ago!
Can anyone help?
P.S. If I am not mistaken, my mother poured a small glass of sweet wine in the dough.
I can’t ask anyone from the vast Salonician Jewish community that existed before WW2 as it was wiped out almost completely by the Nazis. Still I wonder why they gave such diminutive names to all their food.
Thus borekas were called borekitas, sfongato=sfongatico, enkiousa=enkiousica, pastel=pastelico, samsada=samsadika, nogada=nogadika, and so on.
The only inavoidable name in this series are the kalavassicas (zucchini, courgettes, κολοκυθάκια) to distinguish them from the kalavassa amariya (pumpkin, potiron, courge, κολοκύθα).
You’ll find your answer in today’s post, Ino!
I have a bit of a question for you about Sephardic history/culture. I know that the yellow ritual garment worn by the accused “heretics” (especially marranos) during the Inquisition was/is called a sanbenito or sambenito in Spanish. What does this mean? Some translate it as “blessed sack”. People have linked it to Saint Benedict… I assume it refers to Saint Benedict of Monte Casino, the founder of Catholic monasticism, since the persecution of Jews and heretics was so often linked to the monastic orders, particularly Dominicans and Franciscans. But could it also be derived from the Ladino name for G-d? In a Ladino version of Chad Gadya, I heard G-d referred to as “Santo-Bendicho-El”, i.e. the Holy Blessed One (ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu). I know it’s a strange linkage to make but could it be plausible?
I’m glad you’re not satisfied with the standard answers, Mark. I’ve offered my opinion in today’s post.
I just found your blog and love it. I’m an avid home chef and my favorite things to make are my family recipes, but reading through your blog I don’t find many I know. My Grandfather’s mother was from Yanina, so her Romaniot cuisine was slightly different, though she did make the best kourabiedes I can remember having. But my Grandmother’s family came from Salonika, and cooked often with tomato sauces (eggplant, green beans, okra), rice with peas, lamb with garlic, spinach pie (no fila dough) and kalavasa. I have the “Sephardic Flavors” cookbook, which is great, but I was wondering if you knew where I could find (if they exist) cookbooks more related to Salonika specific dishes. Please let me know when/if you’re doing some more classes in New York. I’d love to check it out!
Hi, Patti. Yes, there are regional distinctions between those two places. And I can believe you about the kourabieh! The ingredients you describe from Salonika are the same used in Rhodes cooking, though even between Rhodes & Salonika the recipes are different, too – as are even many recipe names. Each community had/has its own approach to recipes with a common ancestry, plus recipes unique to each locale. One book with recipes from Yanina and Salonika (and Rhodes) is “Cooking the Sephardi Way”, which was published by the Sephardic synagogue of Los Angeles (Tifereth Israel). I don’t know whether it’s still in print. I also don’t know when I’ll be in New York next, but I’ll make an announcement whenever I do go. In the meantime I’m in Barcelona, and I do offer private classes to visitors. Thanks for your comments and welcome to the blog! 🙂
I am the author of A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen, and I am currently doing research for a Sephardic Passover cookbook full of not only recipes but traditions and stories. I was wondering if you knew anything with regards to the Sephardic Jews that may have settled in Mexico, and the foods that they ate there? (They may actually be more Middle Eastern, coming from Syria, but there are, I believe, some from Turkey?) I am specifically interested in finding out anything about the following dishes: Klabachi (some kind of sour sauce?), nogoda (a nut sauce), and tortitas de matzah. Are you familiar with any of these?
Love your blog!
Thanks. Jennifer Abadi.
Hi, Jennifer –
One thing I know is that there’s a sizable community of Sephardim in Mexico (among them my own family!). Sephardim and Mizrahim, from the Ottoman Empire and Syria, respectively, began settling in Mexico around 1900. Both communities are there today, as is a much larger Ashkenazi community. Sephardic and Mizrahi recipes you’d recognize as your own, or close to them, have been in Mexico as long as they’ve been in the States. What’s changed are their names, which are Spanish vs. Ladino.
The dishes you refer to are fairly easy to identify: tortitas de matza are simply matza meal pancakes (think bunuelos or matza brei), and nogada (note the spelling) is walnut sauce. What you’ve called ‘klabachi’ I suspect is escabeche. This is a sour marinade usually applied to proteins. It’s not a specific recipe, but a technique, essentially pickling, used in al-Andalus and the older civilizations of the Mediterranean. You gave no other details, but I’m assuming that’s the sauce you had in mind? – JA
Thank you so much for responding to my question about various Sephardic dishes in Mexico. The sauce that I was talking about is actually called “Clarashi” (I finally figured out what she was saying on the recording but because it was so loud in the background I sent you the wrong name originally.) Is this something that you have heard of? The woman described it to me as a sauce that had eggs and lemons, which reminds me of the Greek Avgolemono or the Syrian/Arabic Beddah b’Lemmunah. I just wonder if you know what Clarashi may mean, and from which language?
I’m not familiar with the word clarashi. Could it be Persian? You haven’t identified the recording you worked from, so I’m in the dark… People think of egg lemon sauce as Greek, but as you pointed out it’s used in the Judeo-Arabic world. It appears in Italian cookery, too – as a finishing sauce on lamb, which may have come either from Jewish tradition or from the Italians’ own long history in the Middle East.
Hi Janet, Jennifer Abadi again! The “Clarashi” egg-lemon sauce that I learned about was from a Syrian-Turkish Sefarad from Mexico. I am trying to get an answer from her regarding the name of the dish, but I am not sure that she would know. If the name does not have Spanish roots then my guess is that it could perhaps be an Arabic root. I guess I will have to look further!
Hi Janet, after posting my last question about a Ladino saying the page closed so I don’t know if you got it. I just wanted to know if you knew what the following Ladino saying meant, and if so, did I write it correctly?
“Purim e las paponas, Pesach is like a ronas.”
(If you already got the last comment please disregard this one!)
Jennifer – No, I didn’t, and I didn’t receive a notification. I’ve only just found this now – sorry! That saying’s a new one on me. It’s alos half in English 😉 I’m guessing you copied it from something you heard – a recording? There are a number of Ladino dictionaries online. Have you checked any of them? OR maybe someone reading the comments can shed some light…
Hi Janet! Great to see you responding on my comments. What do you think about Spain’s offer of Spanish citizenship to the descendants of expelled Sephardim? It is a genuine offer of repentance designed to reintroduce Jews into the Spanish body politic and recognize the place of Jews in Spanish culture? Or is it merely political theater and political correctness? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one- it’s been all up in my Jewish news lately- everyone is abuzz!
Mark, that’s a topic better suited to my open group on facebook, The Sephardic Food Project. 😉
My grandmother was born in Turkey and used to make bourekas and montees, which were essentially the same but shaped differently. The bourekas were turnovers filled with potato and cheese or rice or meat and onions, or spinaca. The montees used the same dough (oil, water, flour), but were made like spiral spanakopita. I’ve never found any info on montees anywhere on the web, and everyone I could ask is gone. Have you heard of them and can you tell me the origin of the name?
Thanks very much
Len, your question is the subject of today’s post, which you’ll find here.
Please can you offer suggestions where to find information about Jewish immigrants in Latin America and the Caribbean in relation to their food and how they carried out Jewish culinary traditions
Sure, Cynthia. Leah Koenig wrote this excellent article on the subject for Tablet last September. She quotes many sources, and several commenters also added favorite books of their own.
P.S. I love your beautiful cakes. 🙂
The Easter Eggs in our family were always the long cooking method which made a brown nutty flavored egg. We thought everybodys Easter eggs were like that. With a little research, I learned that it may be a Sephardic food tradition? My knowledge of our family history doesn’t go back too far, but now I’m wondering. …
Linda, we call them “ouevos haminados” – warmed eggs – and the method you describe is indeed a Sephardic tradition. It was well documented by the Spanish Inquisition, and used as evidence of heresy in the converso population. We serve them at Passover, but also on the Sabbath anytime of year.
My father’s family came from siria and his Father was beréber from de North of África ( Melilla) . They use to make in mimona’si night a dish called “ada”. The Ada has hot milk,matza,butter, sugar and some type of crepe call terit. I only see this in our mimona’a table. I asked to other sepharadic’s families but i si sin’y found any with this Custom. Have you ever Heard about this before?
Sabrina, I already answered your question where you originally posted it. You’ll find it here. 🙂
Hi Janet – any plans to do another cooking class in NYC? Also I’m looking for Ladino classes and can’t find any in NY (or anywhere else) anymore. Grateful for any direction if you know of any, or any great books to learn. I only have a few limited expressions from my grandmother (born in Alexandria, her folks born in Smyrna).
Hi, Caroline – If I give any public workshops in NYC or anywhere else, I’ll announce them here. Thanks for asking! In re learning Ladino, maybe this book will interest you. There’s an affordable Kindle edition. (I’ll add the link below this, since it isn’t displaying properly). Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, you might then want to join Ladinokomunita, a Ladino conversation group in Yahoo Groups for practice. I hope that’s helpful. Good luck!
Hi, I would like to purchase a Sephardic cookbook and would appreciate any recommendations. Thank you!
Hi Elana, I hope you’ve discovered the “Books” page on the site. It’s been there for a while, and has some good recommendations.
Hola , Excelente blog felicitaciones. Pido ayuda, no me sale la masa de la Kibbe nabilseeyah , se me desarman , solo con trigo harina y pan rallado. Algun consejo?
Hola, Matias. Harina de trigo, sí, pero en vez de pan rallado tienes que usar bulgur fino, y agua justo suficiente para hacer una masa compacta. Suerte! 😀
Hi my name is Estelle Hasson my family came here in 1910 from turkey lived in Bensonhurst bklyn. In the summer my grandma would make rose jelly. It was delicious. They would eat it as a spread or put in seltzer. And serve it as a drink. She was from monistir turke
Hi, Estelle. My great grandma used to make rose petal jam, too, and I agree with you. It is delicious. Thanks for sharing your memories here 🙂
Hi Estelle, so ni ce to hear from another family who has memories of Rose Petal Jam. My familly came from that same place your familly did.
Could we be relatives? One never knows.
Hi I am delighted to have found your site, I am living in Mallorca do you ever do tours or talks here and please share the link for Kindle edition of the Ladino book you mentioned and previous post if possible Abi
Hi, Abi. I’ve tried writing you back privately, but my emails come back as undeliverable. If you leave me a message here with your address, it won’t be published. (All comments are held for moderation). Thanks! – Janet
Looking for a Sephardic (Turkish) cookbook for my mother. Do you have any recommendations? Great blog btw.
Hi Dan, I hope you’ve found the “Books” pages I added to the site. Many books on the list have been reviewed in earlier posts, and there are some others, too.
I am helping a friend find a recipe for a pastry her sephardi relatives use to make (they have passed on now). a savory pastry, filled with lots of onions, shape maybe fanlike, maybe figure eight like, she thought it was called something like pepitas de savoy,. her family was from monastir. thanks!
Marlena! The library in a Catalan pueblo I used to live in carried a book of yours that I remember liking. It was a nice find then, and it’s nice to hear from you now. The name you’re looking for is “borekitas de sevoya” – onion borekitas. Happy to help. 🙂
Hi, my father was Sephardic and his family was from Kastoria. Since it is Passover, we were discussing different foods that we enjoy eating during this holiday, one of which is Matzo Brei. However, I remember my dad making it with olive oil and feta. He did not call it Matzo Brei, but something that sounded like “menudous”. My sister’s don’t remember him calling it this and I was wondering if you knew what the Ladino/Sephardic term is for this dish.
With much appreciation,
Hi, Heather – Depending on context, “menudo” can mean trifling, insignificant, small, etc., i.e. no big deal. As such it’s also the name of a stew or soup made from small pieces of tripe, or tripe and garbanzos. If you can imagine what that would look like, you can draw the comparison between the two dishes (both visually and in their being made from humble bits), and suddenly your dad’s name for his matza brei makes perfect sense!
Am searching for a recipe for rasban or risban which I’ve eaten in France in Sephardic Jewish homes. Can you help?
Hi, Sonia. It’s not a recipe name I recognize. If you describe the dish, also where in France and and in what kind of Sephardic home (Ottoman, Maghrebi, etc.) you were served it, I’ll have an easier time identifying it.
Hi Janet, Sonia: Could it be Osbane, the Algerian/North African dish made with semolina dumplings? Sounds like an Arabic word or name.
Hi Jennifer – I agree with you. But Risban is also the exact name of a famous lighthouse in Dunkirk (hahaha). For me the jury’s out until she offers a description of what she’s looking for. Nice to hear from you! 😀
Hi Janet! Yes, a description would be best for this mysterious investigation! Happy belated Hanukkah.
Dondurma is the Turkish word for ice cream and the ice cream (dondurma) in Turkey is simply divine. Very different from ice cream in the US.
My mother in law used to make individual spinach/cheese pockets that were made with dough, not filo. She called them “be e koos “( spelled phonetically). She said they were Sephardic . I would love to find a recipe for them to. Is anyone familiar with them?
Hi, Nancy – Your mother-in-law was referring to ‘boyikos’, that she said with a different accent. (I’d love to know where she was from!). Boyiko means “little boyo” – little bun. Boyos are made from homemade, fresh phyllo that is soaked in oil before being stretched thin by hand and folded more or less like an envelope. Some cooks add yeast to the dough, though I learned to make it without and the result was crisp, not at all bread-like. If the dough you remember was closer to pie dough (a short crust), she was making borekas. These are shaped like a half circle pinched closed along the round edge. They are indeed smaller than boyos, and it would be appropriate to call them little buns. The spinach filling for either has spinach, feta, and other cheeses (for example parmigiano, kashkaval, cottage) that vary with the cook, and there are other embellishments. If you let us know which kind of shape and dough you remember, I’m sure we can point you toward a recipe that will make you happy.