Tag Archives: green

Four Generations Come Together for Algerian Boulettes with Green Peas

David Rak's grandmother Ginette (seated left), clockwise: David' mom X, David's Dad X, David's wife Jennifer, David (center), and his youngest daughter Léa

David Rak’s grandmother Ginette (seated left), David’s parents Nicole and Robert Rak (standing in back),                 David and Jennifer Rak (center and right), and their youngest daughter Léa (on David’s lap 🙂 )

Each spring, Ginette Cohen would pack her suitcase with quatre épices and a box of Spigol spice packets, and fly from France to New York City to visit her grandson David Rak for his birthday. In his tiny Harlem kitchen, she would prepare the dish that he most longed for: Les Boulettes, and a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch her on a visit and learn her secrets. Ginette explained to me that for other occasions, these meat patties would be coated in semolina and served over couscous, but during Passover they were instead dusted with matzah meal and served over steamed crushed matzah. Proudly served on all occasions, Boulettes gives delicious new meaning to Algerian-Jewish comfort food.

The following is a visual recipe for Boulettes:


Step 1: Combine ground lamb and beef, eggs, broken up matzah, almond flour, onions, garlic salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, saffron, mint, coriander, and parsley in a large bowl.


Step 2: Roll meat into large balls and roll lightly in the semolina or matzah meal.

Step 3: Place all coated meatballs onto a cutting board or tray and flatten slightly into patties.

Step 3: Place all coated meatballs onto a cutting board or tray and flatten slightly into patties.

Step 4: Dip patties into beaten eggs.

Step 4: Coat patties into beaten eggs.

Step 5: Gently place patties into a pan with very hot oil to fry until dark golden-brown on both sides.

Step 5: Gently place into a pan with very hot oil and fry until dark golden-brown on both sides.


Step 6: Simmer boulettes with peas in a broth made of water, onions, salt, turmeric, and saffron for 1 hour.


Step 7: Serve!


Going Green for Passover: It’s all about fresh ingredients in Indian cooking

Passover is almost synonymous with spring, and in Indian Jewish cooking all herbs, vegetables and fruits used for the holiday must be fresh and not dried. Foods that are naturally green in color are especially popular as they represent the freshness of the spring season (and the overall spirit of “renewal”). During this time, fresh turmeric root (resembling ginger root) replaces the ground kind, and young, unripe green mangoes (which have a pale yellow/white flesh and are a bit sour and crunchy in texture) are plentiful and used in salads, sauces, and chutneys.


Fresh turmeric root (left), green mango (right).

Unfortunately it was not easy to find an actual Indian green mango, so instead I used the hardest most unripe one I could find and created a salad adding fresh coriander, mint leaves, and green chili peppers for flavor as well as color. The combination of ingredients was based upon what Sharona Galsurkar described to me — a young woman whom I was most lucky to meet and interview for my cookbook while she was visiting New York City from her native Mumbai.


Kairi Chi Koshimbir 
(Green Mango Salad with Green Chilies, Mint, Coriander, and Dates)

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 / Makes 5 cups

3 large unripe, firm mangoes (2 3/4 to 3 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

(Note: If you can find the true unripe “green” mangoes in a Indian grocery,
then peel and coarsely grate instead of cubing)

1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped  fresh mint leaves.
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped green chilies (optional: add to taste!)
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
15 regular pitted dates (not soft Medjool), sliced into strips about 1/8 thick
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons date sugar (or to taste, depending upon how sweet or sour mangoes are)

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Serve at room temperature in a decorative bowl or small platter.
Store in air-tight container in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Lenore’s Pre-Passover Seder on St. Patty’s Day: Four leaf clovers instead of parsley?

FourLeafClovers_BlogPassover orders are rolling in and I wonder (as I do every year) how I will manage to do all of the shopping and cooking for just two big days. I have already started to prepare some things for my own Passover Seder which for the first night will be an all-vegetarian one (Greek Matzah Meal-Spinach Pie, Layered Matzah & Cheese Mina, Syrian Pistachio Macaroons with Orange Blossom Water, Syrian Apricot Charoset, and Yemenite Date-Raisin-Pomegranate Charoset — all safe and sound in the freezer by now!).

Lenore is another great client of mine and she lives just around the block, so it’s very convenient. Because her family cannot all be together on the actual dates of the Seders, we are doing a “pre-Passover” Seder (with all of the traditional trimmings) on Sunday, March 17th, which happens to also be St. Patrick’s Day. Green is the color of choice to symbolize the Irish as well as St. Patrick’s Day, and it got me thinking about the karpas on the Seder plate (the green vegetable representing spring). Perhaps on this night we should dip a bunch of four leaf clovers into our salt water to ensure a year of good luck? Either way I think that I already have the luck of the Irish since cooking a Seder on Sunday gives me time to recuperate before preparing for four more Seders the following week. (Thank you Lenore!)

Trio of Charosets:
–Syrian Charoset with Apricots, Pistachios, and Orange Blossom Water
–Moroccan Charocet “Truffles” with Dates, Raisins, and Walnuts, Rolled in Cinnamon
–Libyan Charoset with Pecans, Dates, Allspice, Nutmeg, and Fresh Ginger
*Above served with mini matzah crackers

Italian Whitefish with Capers, Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Marinade
(in place of usual gefilte fish)

Mixed Green Salad with Avocados, Artichoke Hearts, Toasted Nuts
Moroccan/Syrian Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Oregano
Sephardic Brisket with Prunes, Onions, Cumin, Coriander, and Ginger
Potato Kugel (gotta find a good Ashkenazi recipe!)
Syrian Style Long Grain White Rice with Fried Onions and Pine Nuts

Pistachio Macaroons with Orange Blossom Water
Sweet & Salty Toasted Ground Almond Cake with Almond Syrup
*Ask Lenore to provide sorbets, fresh fruit, maybe chocolate things?

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