A-Sham Arab Food Festival Brings Jews And Arabs Together In Haifa

The 3rd annual A-Sham Arab Food Festival took place in Haifa, Israel, over three days in December — right on the heels of Donald Trump’s announcement about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Somehow, the news of the festival glided by without a bleep, right under the international media’s radar. There was a conspicuous spirit of collaboration among the participants — approximately 70 chefs, both Jewish and Arab (Muslim and Christian).

The above paragraph is an excerpt from an article I wrote for The Forward about the 3rd annual Arab Food Festival in Haifa. It was on my bucket list of articles to write ever since I had heard of the festival's inception and inauguration a couple years back. On the same bucket list was my desire to write how Israel Takes Doughnut Decoration To Dizzying New Heights. I hope you click both links in this paragraph and enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Moroccan Sfinge (Doughnuts) & Burika! My Number One Bite at Shuk HaCarmel.

These doughnuts are egg and dairy free with large air bubbles, spongy yet slightly crispy outside. I first published it with a story about my hometown here. This Sfinge, Moroccan Doughnuts, photo was taken at the Burika stand in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, where he not only makes burika but also Sfinge every day not only for the holiday. 

Sfinge – A Moroccan Doughnut
About 40 small doughnuts

I kg (2.2lbs) all purpose flour
25 grams (28 grams = 1 oz, about 3 ½ 1/4 oz packets) active dry yeast
3 1/3 cups lukewarm water
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Canola oil for deep frying
Bit of canola oil for forming the dough
Sugar for coating

    Add the flour, water, yeast, water and 2/3 cups of sugar to a mixer attached with a dough hook. Mix then add the salt and continue kneading with the dough hook for about five minutes. The dough will be very smooth but will appear wet, that is fine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm environment for an hour or until dough doubles in volume. 
    Since the dough is wet, deflate the dough and punch the bubbles out of the dough with a rubber spatula and let rise again, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm corner for an hour or until it doubles its volume.
    Heat up 1 1/2-2 inches deep oil in a large surface pot on medium heat. To test the temperature of the oil, put a small piece of dough in the oil and if it bubbles gently around the dough, then the temperature is perfect. If it bubbles to a golden/brown too quickly, turn down the heat to low. If it doesn’t bubble, let the oil heat up further on medium and test again.
    Take a golf size ball of dough and with slightly oiled fingers, invert it and pinch the seams and gently roll in between your palms into a smooth ball. At this point you can fry the doughnut balls to get small doughnut holes. This method is easy. Another method is to proceed to the next step.
    Make a hole in the middle of the ball with the index finger finger and expand the doughnut hole, while the index finger still inside and thumb outside, turning and stretching the doughnut in a circular motion in order to expand the hole. Work with both hands. Turn and expand gently until the doughnut hole is about 1 ¼ - 1 ½ inches in diameter (3-4 cm).
    Fry immediately for about two minutes on both sides until lightly golden. Drain on paper towel and dip in granulated sugar and serve warm immediately.

Cooking with a Mumbai Caterer During the High Holidays 5777; PART II

Part two of Cooking with a Mumbai Caterer During the High Holidays 5777 was published today. In my article titled "Discovering Yom Kippur Tradition And A Beautiful Break-Fast Pastry In Mumbai" published in the Jewish Daily Forward today, not only did I share the cooking but also other traditions during the High Holidays.