Meetings at the kitchen: Noah from Israel

23 July 2015
"What does maikata (the mother) do?" - asks Noah, as he's trying to recall the exact word. "Banitsa!" - answers Maya behind her back from the kitchen. Today we're visiting two people that understand each other just like that - from two words and between three languages. What does this has to do with the most Jewish recipe in the world, we find out at their table.

It's a piece of cake to say which is the most Jewish recipe, says Noah, our cook today. Falafel. But is it only Jewish? Actually the people around the world have been eating it for so long and at so many places, that its' origin is a serious culinary dispute. So serious actually, that a Lebanese Industralists' Association has raised charges against Israel for stealing a recipe. Well, today we don't really care about all of that - we're here to look Noah in the hands, while they put together the "food of the poor". That's how people in Israel call falafel. We also find out why this is a favorite recipe for a person with a serious business such as himself.

As he's making the preparations for the falafel, Noah starts his story from way back - when his parents came to Israel from Romania. We ask him about his favorite dish from his childhood and his answer catches us unprepared. Neither the stuffed peppers his grandmother used to make (the Romanian way - with lots of minced meat and tomato sause), nor the hummos with bread could arouse his appetite. It seems that the same man that today makes brioche (probably the most difficult French bread) and cheesake that is as soft as a cloud (with a kilo and a half of cream cheese in it), didn't really enjoy food for most of his life. How come?

Well, you know how love sometimes comes slowly. In Noah's case, it happened because of one of his three sons. He has a passion for food and he enjoys taking the whole family at restaurants, where he's left to order for everyone. The plates are always for sharing - so that everyone can try everything on the table. That's how, bite by bite, Noah starts loving food, and later he surrenders to cooking.

"Israel is a mix of so many cultures - the people living there came from all over the world, from Maroco to Bulgaria, and they carry their own traditions with themselves. That's why the Israelian cuisine is such a mish-mash, that it's difficult to explain", says Noah. Then he turns to Maya (the love for which he came in our country) and tells her a sentence that mixes Bulgarian, Hebrew and English. That's when we know - here they speak as they cook: tasty, mashed together, and between different cultures. Noah's reason to spend so much time in the kitchen is because, as he says, "the best thing about cooking is to watch the faces of people just after they have tried your food". On our faces you can read something like "it's amazing, so delicious!". Here's the recipe, so that you can find your own words to describe the taste.

From the evening, put two cups chickpea in water. After you take them out, put them in a blender with parsley, some old bread, a few large cloves of garlic, salt and red pepper. While blending, you may put in some water. After half an hour in the fridge, they are ready to fry. It's important to have your oil in the right temperature - you'll know it is, if you put a bit of the batter inside the oil and it starts cooking right away (it must sink and then emerge on the surface). Fry them until they become golden, it should only take a few minutes.

To eat it the Jewish way, you'll need some homemade bread. Cut it, put inside some hummos and tahini (mixed with water, garlic and lemon juice), then put the falafels together with some tomato, cucumber and onion salad, cut in small pieces as they make it in Israel. Finally, put some more tahini on top. "It should be dripping down to your elbow, if you made it right", Maya jokes. Well, it happened to us, now it's your turn.


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