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Jewish Food with an Israeli Twist

Danya and Deanne from Matkonation came up with a very special food feature for the sisterMAG issue No. 56: Jewish food with an Israeli twist. Find here the following recipes: Chopped Liver Brioche with Cherry Tomato Jam, Latkes with Goat Cheese and Pear, Horseradish Salmon Gravlax and Chocolate Halva Rugelach. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? You can download all recipes here for free and try them out yourself!

Jewish Food with an Israeli Twist

When we were asked to share our favourite Jewish recipes, we had to think for a moment – what really is Jewish food? Traditional Jewish food is generally considered to be what was eaten before the Jewish state of Israel was founded, in the countries where Jewish communities thrived. There is the European (or Ashkanazi) kitchen which relied heavily on European inspired, meat heavy dishes. There is the Sephardic Jewish cuisine which relies heavily on Lavant inspired dishes such as spicy fish patties and sofrito-like stews. Today though, the Israeli cuisine is made up of those traditional kitchens and mixed together with a new style of modern cooking which relies heavily on local produce. The recipes we decided to share remain true to traditional Jewish food, but each has an ingredient which symbolizes the modern Israeli kitchen. We also focused on dishes that can be served as finger food or tapas style – a way that we Israelis like to eat.

Danya and Deanna

Chopped Liver Brioche with Cherry Tomato Jam

  • Ingredients (for 6-8 servings):
  • 500 grams fresh clean chicken livers
  • 4 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 79 ml oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs


  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onions and fry until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon remove onions and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the livers and fry for about 10 minutes over a low heat until they turn brown and begin to fall apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the livers (and oil) and add to the onions. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  4. Using a food processor, chop the livers, onions and hard-boiled eggs. Stir in some of the fat used for frying. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Cherry Tomato Jam

Ingredients for around 1.5 cups:

  • 500 grams cherry tomatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 250 grams sugar


  1. Place the cherry tomatoes, lemon juice and cinnamon stick (if using) in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sugar, increasing to medium to heat until coming to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. To check to see if the jam is ready place a small amount of jam on a cold plate and then transfer to the freezer for 2-3 minutes. When you take it out of the freezer, make a line with your finger through the jam. If the line remains, the jam is ready to be poured into the jar.

Serve chopped liver over toasted brioche bread and top with cherry tomato jam.

Latkes with Goat Cheese and Pear

Ingredients (for about 15 latkes):

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 35 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon coarse salt (1 tsp if using kosher salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil for frying

For serving:

  • Soft goat cheese
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced


  1. Grate potatoes coarsely or finely, according to your preference. Finely grate the onion.
  2. Place grated potatoes and onion in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze tightly until all of the liquid is strained.
  3. Place the strained potatoes and onion in a large bowl and add the eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the 1-inch of oil in a large pan and drop 6 to 8 spoonfuls of mixture into hot oil. Using the back of a spoon, pat down each latke to flatten it. Put as many as you can in the skillet without crowding. Putting them too close together will make them soggy.
  5. Fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp around the edges; repeat procedure until finished with all the batter.
  6. Blot excess oil with paper towels and serve warm with slices of soft goat cheese and pear slices.

Horseradish Salmon Gravlax

Ingredients for 6-8 servings:

  • 500 grams fresh salmon, skin removed
  • 200 grams kosher salt
  • 100 grams sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 grams chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons beet horseradish


  1. Combine salt, sugar, black pepper, dill and horseradish in a bowl.
  2. Cover a small baking pan with plastic wrap and place ⅓ of the mixture on the bottom.
  3. Put the salmon on the salt mixture and cover with the rest of the salt mixture.
  4. Wrap the salmon with plastic wrap, place a heavy weight on the salmon and keep refrigerated for 12-24 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, wash the salmon from the salt mixture under running water and dry completely.
  6. Serve thinly sliced with dill, sour cream and horseradish.

Chocolate Halva Rugelach

Ingredients for 40 small size rugelach:

  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 10 grams dried yeast
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 80 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 245 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 100 grams powdered sugar
  • 100 grams melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons halva spread or 1 cup halva strands

For baking:

  • 1 egg, beaten

 For sugar glazing:

  • 50 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water


  1. For the dough: mix all the ingredients together in a mixer with a dough attachment. Knead the dough on medium speed for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a clean bowl, wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for one hour or until double in size.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for the spread excluding the halva.
  4. After the dough has risen, divide the dough evenly into 3 balls. Take each ball and roll it into an even square. Using a spatula or knife, spread the filling and then the evenly distribute the halva. Fold the square in half so that you create a rectangle.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll out the rectangle, while maintaining the shape of a rectangle, so that the dough is very thin.
  6. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife cut the dough into triangles and then roll them up from the wide end to the peak.
  7. Place the rugelach on a baking tray, cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.
  8. Heat the oven to 180 degrees, brush the rugelach with the egg and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
  9. Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan for 5 minutes and then brush the rugelach immediately as they come out of the oven. Serve warm.