I am continuing my series of Culinary delight in Tel Aviv , it was time to take all of our ingredients from Souk Carmel and begin to learn our cooking lesson. We head north of Tel Aviv towards Orly’s home. Greeted by her husband, Ben each of us were issued a bright yellow apron and a recipe book cum menu. It was a degustation menu:
- Challah Bread
- Eggplan Baladi
- Multi Color Peppers Antipasti
- Fatoush Salad
- Kitchry – Rice with Red Lentils Iraqi style
- Chriime – Moroccan Style Fish in Red Sauce
- Dates, Figs and Nuts cake
From my basic knowledge of Israeli foods, most of the dishes are influenced by Middle Eastern, Arab and Mediterranean. Thanks to the Jewish immigrants who brought these flavours into Israeli. Working backwards, we started our cooking class with chopping and cutting the ingredients for our dessert. Meanwhile, I volunteered to start making the Challah bread, a traditional bread served during Sabbath. I enjoyed mixing and kneading the dough. While the dough is left to rest and rise, we moved ont to making the hummus. It is so easy to make that I have tried replicating myself recently. It is versatile recipe that allows you to play around with the flavour by adding fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or basil to give a different taste. Orly even shared that the type of tahini used can make a difference in the final taste of the hummus. There was a demonstration how to eat hummus Israeli way thanks to Ben.
With all the cake ingredients mixed together and placed in the oven for baking, it was time to knead the Challah bread dough. Kneading the dough is very therapeutic. We rolled the dough into long strips before cutting and shaping into a plait. After sprinkling poppy and sesame seeds, the bread was ready for baking. There was a such a buzz in the kitchen with eggplants and multi colored peppers being roasted under the grill and preparing the salad leaves for Fatoush salad. We all chipped in to peel the blistered skins of the peppers and slicing them into thin strips for the anti pasti.
I watched and helped Orly prepare the rice with lentils. While the rice is being cooked, it was time to prepare the red spicy sauce for our fish. The tomato paste, paprika, garlic, cumin and caraway blended was not to spicy and tasty without overpowering the taste of the fish. It is so easy to prepare that it can be whipped up within 30 minutes served with fresh baguette or on a bed of couscous makes it a perfect meal.
After cooking for at least 2.5 hours, our feast was ready. The table had an array of colours and food that I couldn’t wait to stick my fork and tase the food. We had the pleasure of Orly’s youngest daughter and husband to join us for the scrumptious lunch. It is so satisfying to see the ingredients and flavours coming together. My taste buds was enjoying every morsel. Learning to cook Israeli cuisine with Orly was a great experience. I recommend to spend the day with Orly if you want to truly understand Israeli cuisine. Visit her Cook in Israel website for more details.
Now I am craving some hummus and pita bread!