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11 Recipes for Celebrating Purim

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Renee Comet

At the Jewish holiday of Purim, eating, drinking, and making merry is of utmost importance, yet the menu is less proscribed than for other holidays. The three-cornered hamantaschen (or, for that matter, other triangular foods) are a must, but aside from that traditions vary: some eat vegetarian food, in remembrance of Esther’s determination to keep kosher while living in King Ahasuerus’s palace. Others eat Persian food, aligning with the story’s locale, while another popular dish is Turkey, in reference to how far the kingdom of Persia reached. No matter which you choose, be sure to make it festive!

 

  • Recipe

    Apricot Hamantaschen

    These filled pastries, tri-cornered to mimic Haman’s hat and served during Purim celebrations, are commonly filled with prunes or poppy seeds, but apricot filling is the author's favorite.

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  • Recipe

    Whole Wheat Challah with Apricots

    As an organic baker specializing in whole grain breads, I often wondered what challah would taste like if made with stone-ground whole wheat flour. This may sound outlandish, considering that challah is the whitest of white breads. But it makes sense if you remember that observant Jews baked and ate this bread hundreds of years ago, before millers began to sift the bran from flour, and all flour was whole wheat. So I went ahead and developed this recipe. Since I was already bucking the norm, I decided to add some chopped apricots to temper the bite of the whole wheat. Instead of braiding the dough, you may divide it and bake it in two greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pans or shape it into a round and bake it on a baking stone. Loaf pan challah is wonderful sliced and battered to make French toast. 

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  • Recipe

    Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

    The humble look of this stew belies its complex flavor: a mix of spicy heat and earthy legumes, topped with a cooling, creamy lemon-flecked yogurt.

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  • Recipe

    Chickpea-Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt, Za’atar, and Sea Salt

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  • Recipe

    Persian-Style Carrots and Black-Eyed Peas

    A mix of sweet, warming spices and a burst of saffron complement the carrots while peas absorb and reinforce the flavors in this evocative dish. I like to serve this as part of a mezze (shared plates that kick off a meal) or as a side dish.

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  • Recipe

    Persian Saffron Rice

    Three kinds of rice come from one pot: light, fluffy, buttery white rice; rice flavored with saffron; and a crunchy fried rice cake (called tahdig). For best results, use a good-quality basmati rice and whole saffron threads, not ground saffron.

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  • Recipe

    Sesame Turkey Cutlets with Israeli Couscous Pilaf

    Crisp pan-fried turkey cutlets offer a nice change of pace from chicken. Their richness is balanced by the tangy feta and bright parsley in the couscous. Look for the larger Israeli-style couscous next to regular couscous at the supermarket, or substitute the same amount of orzo.

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  • Recipe

    Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Phyllo Triangles

    This tissue-thin phyllo dough is easy to work with and bakes up flaky and golden.

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  • Recipe

    Creamy Feta and Caramelized Leek Börek

    Börek is a Turkish pastry, made with either filo or yufka pastry, then stuffed with various fillings, such as cheese, vegetable or meat. It can be a perfect snack, a light lunch or a main course.

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  • Recipe

    Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts

    The slow cooker makes this classic Middle Eastern dish a breeze, mostly because the spices mellow slowly into a sweet, aromatic sauce. The walnuts should be finely chopped into bits smaller than grains of rice, or even ground if you want a somewhat smoother sauce. Serve the chicken over long-grain saffron rice.

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  • lemon poppyseed rugelach
    Recipe

    Lemon-Poppy Rugelach

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