Modern Israeli Recipes

Pita

Ingredients
1 cup water, 105–110°F
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

Mix water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.

Using clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and very elastic, adding only very small amounts of extra flour if dough is extremely sticky, but the dough should feel tacky. Alternatively, knead dough at low speed in a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment for about 8 minutes, until very elastic and smooth.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, then rub oiled hands over the top of the dough.

Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, place a baking stone or baking sheet on the top oven rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a plate with a large, clean kitchen towel and set aside. Punch down the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into 6 even pieces (~100g) for large pita or 12 for mini pita (~50g). Form each dough piece into an even ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into either a ~7-inch or ~3.5-inch circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick, taking care not to tear dough and keeping the thickness even all around. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp towel, and let proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

Working with as many pitas as will fit on the stone at once, pick up each pita and place onto the stone top side down. Immediately close the oven door and bake until pitas have puffed and are slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Place baked pitas onto towel-lined plate and wrap with the overhanging towel. Repeat with any remaining pitas.

Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat until smoking. Working with one pita at a time, briefly heat each side until charred in a few spots, about 30 seconds. Alternatively you can do this directly over the gas flame just long enough to toast a few spots without burning. Return pita to towel and cover. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve immediately.


Pita

Ingredients
1 cup water, 105–110°F
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

Mix water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Stir in all-purpose flour until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.

Using clean hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and very elastic, adding only very small amounts of extra flour if dough is extremely sticky, but the dough should feel tacky. Alternatively, knead dough at low speed in a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment for about 8 minutes, until very elastic and smooth.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, then rub oiled hands over the top of the dough.

Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, place a baking stone or baking sheet on the top oven rack and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a plate with a large, clean kitchen towel and set aside. Punch down the dough, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into 6 even pieces (~100g) for large pita or 12 for mini pita (~50g). Form each dough piece into an even ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into either a ~7-inch or ~3.5-inch circle, no more than 1/4 inch thick, taking care not to tear dough and keeping the thickness even all around. Place dough disks on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp towel, and let proof until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

Working with as many pitas as will fit on the stone at once, pick up each pita and place onto the stone top side down. Immediately close the oven door and bake until pitas have puffed and are slightly golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. Place baked pitas onto towel-lined plate and wrap with the overhanging towel. Repeat with any remaining pitas.

Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat until smoking. Working with one pita at a time, briefly heat each side until charred in a few spots, about 30 seconds. Alternatively you can do this directly over the gas flame just long enough to toast a few spots without burning. Return pita to towel and cover. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve immediately.

Sabich Sliders

Ingredients
1 large eggplant, sliced thinly
Vegetable oil for frying
Pita bread, either minis for appetizer “sliders” or half of square pita for unique shape
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1⁄2 red onion
1 bunch parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice
Tehina (optional for sesame allergy)
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
Amba (optional)

Salt eggplant and let sit for a few minutes to release water. Press sliced eggplant between paper towels to remove excess water. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot, a few centimeters deep. When hot, add eggplant slices and fry, 1 to 3 minutes each side.

Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and parsley and mix. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Put it all together in the pita: eggplant, salad, hard-boiled eggs and tehina. Add amba to your liking.


Chicken Shawarma

Ingredients
3 plum tomatoes, sliced thinly
2 medium sized white onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons Baharat spice (clove, coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1⁄2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Vegetable oil (sunflower, corn, etc.)
1⁄2 cup tehina
1⁄2 cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix tomatoes and onions with 2 tablespoons Baharat spice, 4 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to baking sheet.

In a bowl mix chicken thighs with remaining 2 tablespoons Baharat spice, 4 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper.

Drizzle a grill pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil and cook on medium-high heat. Wait for the oil to start smoking, then add the seasoned chicken thighs in small batches, cooking a few minutes on each side until cooked through.

Roast tomatoes and onion in the oven for 10 minutes or until the edges start to burn. Remove from the oven and put on a serving dish.

Slice cooked chicken thighs into thin strips and layer over cooked tomatoes and onions, then mix well. Drizzle with tehina and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


Whole Roasted Cauliflower (Eyal Shani style)

Ingredients
1 large whole cauliflower, with leaves
1 cup olive oil 1⁄2 cup tehina
Coarse sea salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a large pot (that will fit the whole cauliflower) with water, and bring to a boil (salt the water, if you’d like). When boiling, add cauliflower (white side down) and boil for 8 minutes or until fork tender. Carefully remove from water and transfer to baking sheet. Allow cauliflower to cool and dry.

Preheat oven to highest temperature, at least 200°C (400°F).

Coat cauliflower generously with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until the cauliflower is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drizzle with tehina and sea salt.


Mejadra (or Mujadara)


Ingredients
1 cup black lentils
2-3 large onions
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Wash and soak the lentils for 40-60 minutes in room temperature water. Cut the onions into 1⁄4 inch thick half moon slices and caramelize in a non-stick pan without oil for about 20 minutes until brown, stirring every 2-3 min. When brown, add 2 tablespoons of oil and the sugar.

Stir the onion mixture for 5 min.

In a pot combine the washed rice, drained lentils, water, salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and cumin. Mix and bring to a boil. Cover and move to low heat for 20 min. Remove from heat and keep the lid on for 5-10 minutes. The longer the better. Fluff the rice gently with a fork and transfer into a large bowl. Mix in the onions and top with parsley.