Wednesday, December 20, 2006

more hanukkah sweets & treats

hanukkah is, and has been, celebrated worldwide for many centuries by all those practising the faith. the only exception would be that of the jews with ethiopian backgrounds. having settled in, or inhabited, all parts of the globe, save for a few places, a tremendous variety of food and recipes from everywhere jews have lived, has been integrated into both their everyday and ceremonial cuisine. from siberia to south africa and new york to shanghai, jews have been adept at adapting and adopting local flavours, provided they could be eaten. many an item has been reworked with respect to the dietary laws and has led to the tremendous variety and diversity of what today is called jewish cuisine.

in food terms, most of what we eat for this holiday involves the frying items in oil to honour the miracle of the oil which burned for 8 days when it was supposed to last one day. this can become tedious after a few days and is not the healthiest of things to do for eight days straight, not to mention causing tremendous lingering smells of oil in one's home. from what i know, i will add here that frying so many things in oil is more of an ashkenazi tradition than a sephardic one. some of the foods served during this time such as bimuelos are fried however. some [sephardic] people will also eat dairy foods depending on which customs they follow. in the end, all these dishes, fried or not, taste wonderful.

the item for today's post is sweets. it is sephardic in origin, is not complicated and does not involve any oil. in fact, it is pretty much straightforward and something which is enjoyed by many people all over the world.

sesame candy — סוכריות סומסום

this treat is eaten at hanukkah and is very good if you like sesame seeds. as i cannot find my recipe for it at the moment, i am giving you another from gloria kaufer greene which works nicely. i will post mine when i lay my hands on it! obviously, this candy is not limited to just the middle east, look here, here and here for examples. whichever way you make it, it's great.


vegetable oil

2 c sesame seeds (12 oz)
1/2 c honey
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (powder)


take a 9 in square cake pan or pyrex and coat it with oil.

in an ungreased fry pan place the sesame seeds and dry fry them for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat until they are toasted. do not overbrown them. place them in a bowl to cool and wipe out the fry pan so it is completely clean.

add the honey, sugar and spices to the skillet and mix. bring it to a boil over medium heat. keep stirring until it comes to a rolling boil and cook this stirring for another two minutes. it must be boiling. do not exceed 2 minutes of full boiling. immediately remove from heat and add the sesame seeds. do not delay. stir until well mixed. transfer this quickly to your cake pan and press down with a spatula that has been dipped in water. make sure the spatula is heat resistant.

press this into an even layer. cool it for 15 minutes or until solid but lukewarm. run the spatula along the sides to loosen the candy and then turn the whole thing carefully onto a flat surface and with a sharp knife cut into fingers or squares. you can also make little squares or diamonds.

let these cool completely and store at room temperature. like all candy, this is best made when your kitchen is dry.



beenzzz said...

sesame candy is completely addicting. The organic food store here in Utah sells them, and I can't just eat one!

Princess Jibi said...

WOW i have alot to catch up on... Happy Hannukah...I cant wait to see these recipes... Oh by the way I got a question about the Dhaal.. I was cooking it today, and I finally got a blender in my kitchen and am thinking I wonder when do you blend it... Do you like wait for it to kool and blend it or do you have to drain out the water to blend it? do you blend it and then put it on back and add your garlic and salt and stuff.. I know its a dumb question, but when it comes to cooking and me, my common sense is just dead...

So do you have presents on Hannukah? Do you say like may God bless you and stuff like that??? I havent gotten to read up on it as yet...

burekaboy — said...

beenzzz - i love sesame candy. it is VERY addictive!! :) at least you don't need a 12 step group for it....or do you? :)

hey PJ - nice to see u. we just say "happy hanukkah" usually. that's the easiest. traditionally people don't give gifts but today it is done. the real thing is chocolate coins called 'gelt' and playing this game with a spinning top called a dreidl. it's not a GIGANTIC holiday like christmas is.

as for the dhal, just wait for it to cool so it's not burning hot or you can burn yourself and then put it in the blender. i would blend it in two portions because the lid can pop off when you blend it if you have too much in the blender. did u buy real dhal (chana) or split peas? it doesn't matter, it's the same procedure. you keep the water! put in the garlic and other things (seasonings) after you blend it. hope that helps. email me if you need more help.