Israeli Roasted Chickpeas

If you are going to a Super Bowl party, it is always a good idea to bring a snack for the group. Making your own special homemade treat is a nice touch. This year, you may prepare something that I have been buying from the open-air markets in Israel ever since I can remember. Roasted chickpeas are easy to prepare, versatile, and new to the palates of many of my American friends. I always bought them prepared very simply, with a sprinkle of sea salt. Roasted hummus is crunchy, like nuts, and very versatile. It will take on the flavor of any spice mix you like. Here is the basic roasted chickpea recipe, with a few variations using several popular Israeli spice mixtures.

Basic recipe for Israeli Roasted Chickpeas

  •  2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drain the chickpeas.
  3. Dry them with a paper towel.
  4. Spread onto a cookie sheet.
  5. Drizzle the olive oil over the chickpeas.
  6. Sprinkle some sea salt.
  7. Roast for 45 minutes.

This is the basic recipe. You may accentuate your roasted chickpeas by adding one tablespoon of  any of the following Israeli spice mixes before placing in the oven .

Zaatar is an ancient Mediterranean spice blend. It is called Ezov (Hyssop) in the Torah, and is mentioned in Babylonian tablets in Akkadian. You may purchase it or mix your own.

Zaatar Spice Blend

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 2 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 tbsp. marjoram
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  1. Mix together

Lamb was eaten only on special occasions in antiquity. Chunks of meat were speared on skewers and roasted over an open fire. In the 19th century, a Turkish Efendi had the idea of cooking the meat vertically. This is the shawarma or donner kebab we enjoy today. The traditional spice blend works very well without the meat when combined with hummus and roasted. You may purchase premixed shawarma spices, or blend your own.

Shawarma Spice Blend

  • 1 1/4 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. ground garlic
  • 3/4 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  1. Mix together

In Yemen, spice mixtures are popular additions to two favorite delicacies, soup and coffee. These mixes are called hawaij. The savory one works very well with our delicious snack. You may purchase some savory hawaij spice mix, or make your own.

Hawaij spice blend

  • 3 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Mix together

Cupcakes With an Israeli Twist

— by Margo Sugarman

When I first visited Israel as a child, one of the new tastes that I have experienced and loved was the iconic Nesher malt beer. As a child, the concept of drinking beer, even though it was alcohol free, was very exciting. The taste of this local malt brew was wonderfully caramelly and rich, and to this day, I love the taste, which brings me back to my first visit to Israel.

While cupcakes are definitely not an Israeli confectionery, one way of bringing a little Israel-ism into these small cakes is by baking them with malt beer. When I came across a parve cupcake recipe, that used stout beer, on Chef Chloe’s vegan cooking website, I knew I had to make a few adaptations to make it more Israeli by using malt beer instead. Malt beer is said to also have additional health benefits (although I am not sure whether they survive baking at 350 degrees). The result is a very moist chocolate cupcake, that’s parve, and uses no eggs either.

Full recipe after the jump.
You can frost these cupcakes with any frosting you wish. I use a Tofutti-based cream cheese frosting for parve. Otherwise, any butter or cream cheese frosting will work well.

Malt Beer Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12/ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup malt beer
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

How to do it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until the mixture is homogenous.
  3. Line a muffin tin with #5 cupcake liners, and fill each to about two-thirds full with batter.
  4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Makes 14-16 cupcakes

Parve Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 90g (3 oz) Tofutti cream cheese and a few drops of vanilla extract until combined.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, and mix until combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you get a good spreading consistency — about 300g (10 oz) powdered sugar (3 cups). (Note: When you use the Tofutti cream cheese to make frosting, you won’t reach a stiff spreading consistency as you do when using butter or cream cheese. This frosting will always be glossy and soft.)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of soft butter, 100 grams of 25% fat cream cheese, and a few drops of vanilla.
  2. When it is smooth, gradually start adding powdered sugar (about 300 grams of powdered sugar in total), and mix until you get a good spreading consistency (the mixture should not fall off the spoon or should not run off the beaters).

Vanilla Butter Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer, beat 110g (4 oz)  unsalted butter, 60 ml milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 250 g (10 oz) powdered sugar, until completely smooth.
  2. Gradually add up to another 250g (10 oz) powdered sugar, and beat until the frosting has a smooth spreading consistency.

Margo Sugarman is the creator of The Kosher Blogger, a website of keeping kosher and loving good food.

St Patrick’s Day – Israeli Style

Yes, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Israel and that’s no blarney! It’s the day when green beer flows, Irish shanties are sung, and tall tales are spun. I never imagined that in Israel there would be no less than 76 pubs offering Happy Hour Specials to those who wore a bit of green that day. Although I wouldn’t exactly call St. Paddy’s Day a national holiday, there were a surprising number of Israelis who became Irish, if only for a day. At home in Cherry Hill, I never celebrated St. Paddy’s Day, but being in Israel somehow made me feel that it was my duty, as an American, to at least don the green and go to an “Irish” pub.
[Read more…]

Yalla Giant Supermarket! These Are The Israeli Products We Want!

— by Ronit Treatman

Ani rotze Milky!

“Milky!  Tell them I want my Milky!” replied a two-year-old Israeli when asked what he wished he could buy here.  “Milky” is a chocolate pudding snack.  This child was a customer at the Wynnewood Genuardi’s kosher section.  Lower Merion Township is home to a large Jewish community, of which a sizeable subset is made up of Israelis. They are very well educated, affluent, and in the United States for continuing education or work. Like their Jewish American counterparts, they buy many of their kosher and specialty foods at Genuardi’s.  The acquisition of Genuardi’s by Giant Supermarkets is an opportunity for this Israeli community to express what it wishes was available in the kosher section. There are no definite statistics of the population size of Israelis in Lower Merion. I surveyed over 200 Israeli families in order to obtain these results.

More after the jump.
Israeli residents really miss their dairy products! One desperate father told me he spent an hour locating “Milky” pudding snacks for his shrieking toddler. “Milky” is a delicious chocolate pudding snack topped with whipped cream.  It is produced by the Strauss Company. All the Israeli adults I questioned crave imported cottage cheese from Tnuva. They also yearn for assorted types of Feta. These are staples of the Israeli diet.

In the last thirty years, Israel has seen the growth of kosher artisanal cheese producers. They turn out unique, very high quality cheeses. The Israeli consumers really desire them. The following companies are great sources of these cheeses.

Barkanit Dairy

  • Barkanit, Brakin Farm, Kfar Yechezkel, Israel, Telephone: 972-4-6531431

This dairy produces sheep and goat’s milk cheeses in Northern Israel. Barkanit’s cheese makers learned their craft in Spain and France. They are famous for their French-influenced fresh cheeses coated with ash, and firm, Spanish-inspired cheeses.

Gad Dairy

Located in Central Israel, Gad dairy crafts cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. Among their coveted offerings are the Tsfafit (Safed) Cheese, Kashkaval, Syrian Haloumi style cheese, and Bulgarian Feta.

It was really difficult to conduct this survey. The Israeli community tends to remain almost invisible. Food is very important in the Israeli home, and Israeli customers are prepared to pay for quality. I hope that the management of Giant Supermarkets will take this demographic into account when planning their new store in Wynnewood. Israeli parents residing in Lower Merion and its environs will be eternally grateful!