Hummus who? That’s right. That’s how good my Israeli dinner (not hummus) was last night. Oh my, where to begin?
Hamin (pronounced with a strong KH so KHamin) or Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew. According to Lifa (Mr. Head Chef) it is usually simmered overnight Friday for about 12 hours, and eaten on Shabbat, the Religious holiday where Jewish laws prohibit cooking or turning on the light for that matter!
There are many variations of the dish but the basic ingredients are meat, potatoes, beans and barley. Sephardi-style hamin uses rice instead of beans and barley, and chicken instead of beef. A traditional Sephardi addition is whole eggs in the shell (huevos haminados), which turn brown overnight. Ashkenazi cholent often contains kishke (a sausage casing) or helzel (a chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture). When I asked Lifa more about this casing and what it was stuffed with, he replied in his thick Hebrew accent, “I don’t know, mostly FAT and BREAD.” Ha! So I’m glad he couldn’t find it in Japan and opted for boiled eggs instead.
I loved listening to Lifa describe this dish. He very much reminded me of my father. Seeing as we were both hungry, his mouth was watering as he showed me pictures of the cooking process. One description stood out. That being his technique of placing the beans on the bottom of the pot as they are his least favourite ingredient, so if something is to burn, it will be them!
Come tasting time, the Hamin or Cholent was unbelievably delicious. Picture a marriage between a risotto and a stew. So damn delicious. Lifa had also included prunes and date syrup making it a flavoursome sweet and savoury concoction. The ultimate comfort food. I can’t wait for him to make it again. Here I should mention, Aki also made, as usual, an amazing green salad with figs and hemp seeds, cabbage soup and a tasty broccoli dish.
For dessert, we had entirely VEGAN, GF and SUGAR-FREE cupcakes which I made using Kaori’s recipe. Don’t we have the best foodie community here?! Recipe below.
150g soft tofu(it’s called KINU-TOFU in Japanese)
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
nuts of choice (optional)
Mix the first lot of ingredients together in a blender then transfer to a large bowl.
Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
Pour into a greased cake tin or muffin tray and bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes.
Flesh of one avocado
1 small banana
3 tbsp pure cocoa powder
2 tbsp raw maple syrup (or honey)
Blend all ingredients together and spread atop cake. Make sure blender is off before you start licking it! <3