Passover recipes

Language is just one aspect of the cultural diversity of the Jewish Diaspora. This page highlights Passover unity and diversity in cuisine.

Charoset

Charoset - a sweet mixture of fruits and nuts - represents the sweetness of freedom, as well as the mortar the Israelite slaves used to build pyramids in Egypt. Jewish communities around the world have different words for this symbolic food placed on the seder plate, for example:

Communities also have diverse recipes for charoset. Here are a few examples:

Haroset from Surinam (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish/Judezmo)

By Adeena Sussman

Excerpted with permission from Hadassah Magazine   

https://www.hadassahmagazine.org/2016/04/07/haroset-five-ways/

Makes 3 cups

Every year, my friend Chaviva Levin prepares a variety of harosets, packages them and gives them to family and friends. When I tasted this one, with origins in the Jewish community of Surinam, I was hooked. Sephardic Jews first settled in Surinam in the 1600s, some seeking economic opportunity and others fleeing expulsion from Recife, Brazil.

The recipe is rich with tropical flavors, spices like cinnamon, dried fruit, and wine. It would be great served with brisket after it fulfills its ritual obligations at the Seder.

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped dried apples
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cherries
Water, to cover
1/2 cup sweet red wine

Combine all of the ingredients except the water and wine in a medium saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until softened, 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the wine until incorporated into the mix.

Moroccan Style Charoset (Judeo-Arabic)

from Shellyshumblekitchen.com/charoset

Ingredients

2 cups pitted medjool dates

1 cup walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

½" piece of ginger (optional)

1 tablespoon marsala or any sweet red wine

 

Instructions

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix for 1 - 2 minutes or until all the ingredients are finely chopped and begin to stick together and roll into a ball. Transfer the Charoset into a jar or a container and refrigerate until serving.

Italian Charoset from Padua (Judeo-Italian)

from dinnerinvenice.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound apple slices, peeled

  • 3/4 pound boiled chestnuts, peeled

  • 1/2 pound walnuts, shelled

  • 1/2 pound pitted dates

  • 1/2 pound dried apricots

  • 1/2 pound raisins

  • 2 small bananas

  • 1 small seedless orange, only the pulp

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves (if liked)

 

Directions

Put everything in the blender and process until combined, but it shouldn’t be too smooth.

Cook on a low flame for 15 minutes, stirring. Add some sweet wine or grape juice right before serving.

Persian Charoset (Haleg) (Judeo-Persian)

Excerpted with permission. For more Passover recipes, go to https://jamiegeller.com/holidays/passover/passover-recipes/ 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (6-ounce) package ground walnuts (1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 (6-ounce) package ground almonds (1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup pistachio nut meats, ground

  • 1 cup date paste

  • 1/2 cup raisins, ground

  • 1/2 cup grape juice

  • 1 banana, peeled and ground

  • 1 apple, peeled and ground

  • 2 tablespoons charoset spice

 

PREPARATION

Grind together all the ingredients that do not come already ground.  Combine very well.

Tricks of the trade:

I buy already ground walnuts and almonds to make my life easier.  I also purchase date paste so I don't have to grind that either.  These are easily available kosher-for-Passover at many kosher groceries.  The rest of the ingredients I process together into a wet paste similar in texture to chummus.  Charoset spice is made by Sadaf and you can get it online; or simply mix equal parts of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon.  Keep haleg refrigerated and if it gets too thick, thin it with grape juice or even sweet wine to give it a grown up twist!

 

Yemenite Charoset (Judeo-Arabic)

Excerpted with permission. For more Passover recipes, go to https://jamiegeller.com/holidays/passover/passover-recipes/ 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dried black figs, stems cut off

  • 1 cup dried dates, pitted

  • 1 cup dried apricots

  • 2 cups red wine or apple juice

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon plus 1 additional tablespoon for dusting

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or pinch of ground ginger

  • ½ cup coarsely ground toasted almonds

 

PREPARATION

1. Place dried fruit in a large bowl. 

2. Place wine or apple juice in a small pot over medium low heat until it comes to a simmer. Pour liquid over the dried fruit and steep for 1 hour.

3. Drain fruit into a sieve suspended over a bowl reserving liquid. Place fruit in a food processor and pulse or chop by hand until the mixture is combined and only slightly chunky. You may need to add some of the reserved soaking liquid to help fruit stick together.

 

Here is just a small sampling of other Passover foods:

TooGoodToPassover_Cover_Front_300dpi.jpg

Espanakhi Pkhali from Georgia (Judeo-Georgian)

Ground Walnut Spread with Spinach, Garlic, Coriander, and Fried Onion

 

©JenniferAbadi.com, excerpted (with permission) from Too Good To Passover.

 

Yield: Serves 8 to 10 / Makes About 3 1/2 Cups. PARVE.

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups walnuts

20 ounces baby spinach leaves

(or about 24 ounces of large spinach leaves, long stems trimmed), rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh coriander leaves

5 tablespoons vegetable or safflower oil

1 cup coarsely grated yellow onion (about 2 large), excess liquid drained or squeezed out by hand

4 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed fine using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder

(you can also use 3 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, but fresher if you grind seeds yourself)

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon ground fenugreek

One .13 gram packet (a little more than 1/8 teaspoon) saffron powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

 

For Serving:

1 tablespoons vegetable or safflower oil

Finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves

Pomegranate seeds

Matzah/matzo crackers or broken up matzah/matzo squares

 

STEPS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Pour walnuts onto a baking pan and toast for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking pan every 5 minutes, until lightly toasted, but not burnt. (If your oven runs hot or the heat is uneven, you may need to reduce heat to 350˚F. or remove them earlier.) Remove from heat and cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the spinach.

2. Steam spinach and coriander leaves with a few tablespoons of water in a large pot, covered, over medium heat until wilted and soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool, then squeeze dry with your hands to remove any excess liquid.

3. Grind walnuts in a food processor until finely ground and pour into a medium mixing bowl.

4. Pour the cooked spinach into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Combine with the ground walnuts in the bowl.

5. Warm oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the grated onion and fry until it turns a medium brown color, about 10 minutes.

6. Combine the cooked onions with the spinach-walnut mixture and mix well.

7. In a small bowl, mash the crushed coriander seeds with the chopped garlic, fenugreek, saffron, salt, and vinegar and add to the spinach mixture. Mix well.

8. Scoop spread into an air-tight container and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours for flavors to meld. Serve in a small bowl drizzled with 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkled with cilantro leaves and pomegranate seeds, with matzah on the side.

Hajji Badam from Iraq (Judeo-Arabic)

Almond Macaroons with Rosewater and Cardamom

©JenniferAbadi.com, excerpted (with permission) from “Too Good To Passover”

 

Yield: Serves 10 to 15 / Makes 3 dozen macaroons. PARVE.

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole blanched almonds, finely ground in food processor

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons rosewater

1/4 cup egg whites (about 3 whites from 3 large eggs)

 

For Decoration:

36 whole blanched almonds

 

STEPS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine almonds with sugar and cardamom in a food processor until finely ground.

3. Add rosewater and egg whites and pulse again until a soft dough is formed.

4. Drop one level tablespoon of the dough at a time onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch in-between (do not flatten or shape — let it stay rough around the edges). Decorate with one almond placed vertically into the center.

5. Bake the macaroons until very lightly browned around the bottom edge, about 15 minutes (they should still be fairly white in color on top and soft in the center). Cool completely before transferring to a serving platter and serving at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container layered between pieces of parchment or wax paper at room temperature for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to one month.

Mina de cordero (matzo pie with lamb filling) comes from Greece and Turkey:

By Steven M. Lowenstein, excerpted with permission from Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish/Judezmo)

2 lbs.shoulder of lamb 

3–4 green onions,finely chopped 

2 eggs 

8 matzos

oil for sprinkling

salt and pepper to taste


Place the lamb in the pot and simmer it very slowly until tender. (It will create its own gravy.) Cool it, trim off all fat, and cut it into tiny pieces. Add green onions, salt, and pepper. Beat 1 egg and fold it into the meat mixture. Wet the matzos to soften them; then blot them between paper towels to absorb the moisture. Preheat the oven to 400°F and place a generously greased baking pan, large enough to be lined with 4 matzos, in the oven until the oil is very hot. This will prevent the matzos from sticking. Line the bottom of the pan with matzos; spread the meat mixture and top with the remaining matzos. Sprinkle the top with oil and beat another egg; pour over all. Bake until browned on top, approximately one-half hour. Serves eight to ten persons.

Matzeklöss (matzo dumplings) is a staple Jewish dish that comes from Germany

By Steven M. Lowenstein, excerpted with permission from Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions (Yiddish)


6–7 matzos 

parsley  

onions

4–6 eggs

ginger

muscat

salt, pepper

enough matzo meal so that dumplings don't stick to hands

 

Soak matzos and press them to remove the liquid. Cook with parsley and chopped onions in fat or oil. Cool down. Add spices, eggs, and matzo meal. Form large balls (about 2–3 inches in diameter). Cook in salt water. Leftovers can be fried the following day in oil with onions.

Passover Soup: A traditional dish from Uzbekistan (Bukharian/Judeo-Tajik)

By Steven M. Lowenstein, excerpted with permission from Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions

1 tablespoon oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes

1⁄2 lb. beef bones

1 small carrot

1 teaspoon salt   

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper    

1 ripe tomato, cut into cubes 

1⁄2 cup chopped coriander

8 cups water

1 medium potato, cut into 1⁄2 inch cubes 

4 eggs, beaten 

matzo


Heat the oil in a large pan and stir-fry the onions, beef, bones, and carrot over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add the water, tomato, coriander, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over moderately low heat for 1 hour. Add the potato. Cook for 15 minutes. Just prior to serving, add the eggs in a steady stream to the simmering soup, stirring them in. Serve hot, breaking as much matzo as wanted into each soup plate.

Bodimjon Khoyagusht (Eggplant Casserole) from Baku, Azerbaijan (Juhuri / Judeo-Tat)

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Editor: Sarah Bunin Benor      Last update: 2020-08-23

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