There’s still some summer left to enjoy and the school year has barely begun when the Jews are getting ready to celebrate Rosh Hashana – the Jewish New Year which is celebrated during September / October, depending on the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashana is an important festival even for those who follow the Gregorian calendar (in daily life Israel follows the Gregorian calendar, but the holidays follow the jewish calendar), inspiring, full of hope and a good excuse to gather the family accompanied by a menu filled with symbolism.

“Shana Tova ve Metuka” (Have a good and sweet year) is the traditional greeting for this New Year’s dinner, which begins with apple dipped in honey and often ends with a honey cake (unfortunately I haven’t found a good gluten-free recipe for this, but please come with contributions if you have).
In traditional Rosh Hashana family dinners are also several dishes served with a symbolic meaning. The traditional braided Sabbath Challa bread is replaced with a round Rosh Hashana Challa bread that symbolizes the life cycle. Fish that symbolizes abundance / prosperity belong, and the fish’s head represents the desire to “be the head rather than tail.” Pomegranate seeds symbolize the 613 commandments in the Torah. Carrot discs representing gold coins: the desire for a successful year, and so on.

I’ve picked out two Moroccan recipes which I will present, but you should not ignore that there may be more later, or maybe at the next Rosh Hashana.

Spicy Fish – Moroccan style (this recipe comes from Guy Peretz, Gazpacho, Holiday Inn, Ashkelon and is taken from the book “The Book of New Israeli Food – A Culinary Journey” by Janna Gur – ISBN 978-965-7279-02-1 ).

Some fine pieces of saltwater fish – fillets without skin and bones (I used in this case tusk) is cooked in a saucepan with the chilli, paprika and garlic. No holiday dinner in a Jewish Moroccan home is complete without this.

Ingredients (2 – 8 persons):

  • 1 x 180 g fish per person.
  • 1-4 red chillies, cut julien (in thin strips)
  • 1-2 sweet red peppers cut in strips
  • 5-20 garlic cloves (I use fresh garlic whenever the season allows it, and it makes the in between).
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Spice Mix:

  • 2-8 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2-1 cup olive oil

Here’s how:

  1. Add chili, pepper and herbs in a saucepan.
  2. Mix ingredients for seasoning mix. Dip fish pieces in the mix and place them in the pan. Mix the remaining seasoning mix with the garlic and 1-4 cups water and pour over the fish.
  3. Boil for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the fish pieces) on high heat, lower heat, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice or potatoes and:

Baked pumpkin chunks with cinnamon and ginger

Photo: exclusivelyfood.com.au
Photo: exclusivelyfood.com.au

This is a lovely sweet side dish from the Moroccan Jewish cuisine, traditionally served on a bed of couscos for Rosh Hashana dinner, but since this blog is gluten free, we choose to serve it with rice.

Ingredients (2-8 persons):

  • 150 to 500 gram pumpkin, cleaned of seeds (which by the way is delicious to shake and bake on a baking paper in the oven sprinkled with salt), cut into 2-3 cm sized cubes.
  • 1/4-1 large onion cut into half rings.
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 50-100 grams of sugar.
  • 1/4- ½ tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
  • 1-3 thyme sprigs

Here’s how:

  1. Fry onions in oil, add sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the spices and ginger.
  2. Preheat oven to 160 C.
  3. Place pumpkin cubes on a tray covered with baking paper. Pour the onion mix and leave it in the oven for about 20 minutes till the cubes are soft and caramel colored.
  4. Mix into the rice.

Links and further information:
Templeinstitute.org – Rosh Hashana
More recipes for Rosh Hashana, and to read more about The Book of New Israeli Food: Jweekly.com – New Year Meals in Israel reflect international sensibilities