What is Sephardi food?
The Jewish people are divided mainly into 2 groups based on ancestry from the past 1,000 years. Ashkenazim have ancestors from Eastern Europe who spoke Yiddish (a mix of German and Hebrew) and Sephardim came from the Iberian Peninsula and the Arabic lands and spoke Ladino (a blend of Spanish and Hebrew). Each group has its own set of customs, songs, melodies, and traditions including food with influences from the regions they came from.
Therefore, Sephardi food refers to any of the traditional foods from these Sephardi Jews, but since these Jews lived in various regions including Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East, the foods associated with Sephardi Jews include all the flavors from these countries. Learn more about the history of Sephardi Cuisine.
The most prevalent food today in Israel comes from these Sephardi roots and the foods are more flavorful, more vegetable-filled, and spicier than the typical traditional Ashkenazi foods.
If you like Sephardi flavors than you will love this delicious meal idea, perfect for any night of the week and/or Shabbat.
Stuffed vegetables is a common specialty dish among Sephardim. This version comes from Libya and a meat stuffed potato cooked in a tomato sauce. You can also make it with eggplant and then it is called Moussaka.
You can make it leaner with ground chicken or even vegetarian with veggie ground meat. If you want to try this recipe but it looks like too much work, a fan recently suggested turning into a layered casserole. She said she layered slices of parboiled potatoes with some beaten eggs, the mafrum meat, more potatoes on top and then covered in sauce. Delish!
Couscous is the best Sephardi side to all their saucy mains. This version adds a whole lot of vegetables making it a meal by itself and leftovers amazing.
End the meal with something just a little bit sweet, these tahini cookies prove you don't need a lot of sugar to make a great cookie. Serve them with some mint leaves in hot water for the ultimate finish.
Get more Sephardi Recipes here.