How to Eat Your Way Through the 8 Days of Hanukkah

Hugo

Editorial Assistant

While most of television and high streets are seemingly dedicated to the celebration of Christmas, and with many people concentrating on the 24th and 25th, those of the Jewish faith will start celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah starting on December 12th this year.

The word Hanukkah means, in its original Hebrew, ‘to dedicate’ and so recounts the re-dedicating of the Holy Temple at Jerusalem when the Maccabees rebelled against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah is celebrated in the Jewish faith by the daily reciting of the Hallel prayer and the lighting of the menorah candles to remember the miracle of the oil that was lit in the Temple that should have lasted one day, but lasted eight.

Although originating from different regions and using different languages—Ashkenazi is derived from a Hebrew word for Germany and Sephardic is derived from a Hebrew word for Spain—food plays a central part for both Jewish groups when celebrating. An important part of the festivities is the eating of traditional, often oily foods, such as latkes. Eating oily foods is another way to remember the miracle of the oil burning for eight days.

To celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah, we have made a collection of four recipes that will impress and delight everyone, including those with their eyes more set on the 25th.

Braised brisket

Braised brisket

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One of the cheapest cuts of beef, but after slow-cooking, arguably one of the most delicious. Our recipe uses beer and is cooked over 3 hours, allowing the brisket to become more flavorful and delicious than even the most expensive cut of beef. It is a traditional Jewish dish, thanks to brisket coming from the front of the animal, and therefore making it kosher. Partly due to the emigration of Ashkenazi Jews to the U.S., it has now become a dish popular all around the world.

Coconut macaroons

Coconut macaroons

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Traditionally made by both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, macaroons, with varying recipes, have long had their place in Jewish culinary culture. Made using pistachios, almonds, and cashews by some Sephardic Jews in Egypt, the coconut macaroon is the more common recipe, especially in Europe and the U.S.

Orange-almond cake

Orange-almond cake

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This is a much-loved Jewish Middle-Eastern recipe that couldn’t be easier. Very few ingredients and very few steps—you don’t even need flour and eggs—but this is one of the most delicious cake recipes around. Just make sure to set aside a few hours, what it lacks for in ingredients, it makes up for in cooking time.

Potato latkes with applesauce

Potato latkes with applesauce

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Latkes certainly fit into the category of oily foods, however when enjoyed with sour cream and chives, or apple sauce, it is one the most comforting foods to eat in winter when the cold is starting to bite. As an Ashkenazi Jewish recipe, latkes can often be found in markets in central and eastern Europe.