Hanukkah with South American Sabor

Entertain, Holidays, Holidays, Menu Ideas, Menus

This post comes to us courtesy of food writer and registered dietitian Joy Zacharia.


Hanukkah lasts eight days during which eight candles of a menorah are lit, beginning with one on the first night, two on the second night, three on the third night, and so on. The celebration is also known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah means “dedication” and thus commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. following a victory by the Jews against their oppressors, the Syrian Greeks. During the temple’s rededication, they had only enough oil for one night, but miraculously, the menorah continued to burn hour after hour, day after day, until eight days had passed. By then the Jews had gotten more oil to keep the lamps burning.


Jews around the world enjoy a variety of sizzling delicacies. These recipes were inspired by colorful and delicious South American ingredients.


Fried foods are commonly enjoyed during Hanukkah because of oil’s symbolism during this festive holiday.


Fried Fish with Parley-Garlic Mayo


2 large eggs

2/3 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 pounds firm white fish fillets

Canola oil

Parsley-Garlic Mayo (recipe below)


Whisk together eggs, water, salt and pepper in a large bowl;
gradually add flour, whisking until smooth.


Cut each fish fillet into 2 to 3 pieces. Dip fish pieces, one at a time, into batter, draining excess batter into bowl.


Pour oil into a large, heavy skillet to 1-inch depth; heat to 350° over medium-high heat. Fry fish, 2 to 3 pieces at a time (to avoid over-crowding) 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on layers of paper towels. Serve with Parsley-Garlic Mayo. Serves 4 to 6.


Parsley-Garlic Mayo


1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

2 garlic cloves


Place all ingredients in bowl of a food processor or blender; process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides.


Sweet Potato and Zucchini Latkes


Peel potatoes with a vegetable peeler and use a food processor to grate the potatoes and zucchini. To ensure crispness, place grated potatoes and zucchini in center of a clean, dry cotton towel, folding up corners; drain over sink twisting towel to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Look for Mexican crema in the dairy section of large supermarkets or in Latin markets. Crema is similar to sour cream but has a sweeter flavor and is
not as tart.


3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and grated

1 pound zucchini, grated

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Canola oil

Apple sauce and/or Mexican crema


Place grated, drained sweet potatoes and grated zucchini in a large bowl; add eggs and next 5 ingredients, stirring to combine well.


Pour oil into a large, heavy skillet to 1-inch depth; heat to 350°over medium-high heat. Place about 1/4-cup of mixture potato mixture into hot oil, pressing gently with spatula to flatten into patty. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Cook, about 4 at at time (to avoid over-crowding) 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on layers of paper towels. Serve with applesauce and/or Mexican crema. Serves 6 to 8.


Romaine Salad with Pineapple and Pomegranate


If you can’t find pomegranates, use 2 cups halved, red seedless


1/3 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1 medium head Romaine lettuce

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

1/2 small pineapple, cored and cut into bite-size pieces

4 slices red onion, rings separated

1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese

Mango-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)


Place hazelnuts in a small baking pan. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool.


Remove ribs from lettuce leaves; tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Place torn lettuce in a large bowl; top with pomegranate seeds, pineapple, onions and goat cheese. Sprinke with hazelnuts. Serve with Mango-Lime Vinaigrette. Serves 4 to 6.


Mango-Lime Vinaigrette


1/4 cup mango jam

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil


Heat mango jam in a glass microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute or until runny. Add lime juice and next 6 ingredients, whisking until smooth. Gradually add oil, whisking until blended.



Donuts with Guava Jelly


1 (1/4-ounce) package dry yeast

1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

3/4 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup guava jelly

Powdered sugar

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Combine yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 3/4 cup warm water. Let
stand 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly on the surface.

Sift flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and nutmeg
into a large bowl; stir to combine ingredients. Add egg yolks, yeast mixture,
and butter, stirring until blended.


Knead dough until it forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap
and let rise 8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.


Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 24 rounds with a 2-inch cutter or small drinking glass. (Dip in flour to prevent sticking.) Place 1/2 teaspoon of jelly in
center of 12 rounds. Top with remaining 12 rounds. Pinch edges, sealing with
egg whites. Let rounds rise 30 minutes.


Pour oil in a Dutch oven to 2-inch depth; heat to 375°. Place doughnuts into hot oil, about 5 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 4 to 6.


About the author: Joy, a registered dietitian, developed a love of food and cooking at age 10 while living in Mexico City when she opted to help peel, chop and shred for elaborate Mexican feasts instead of going outside to play with kids her own age. Joy’s Spanish-Jewish roots cultivated a passion for world food, such as Turkish, Israeli, and Cuban, but her familial struggle with weight led to a career in nutrition. The combination enabled her to embrace the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet without forfeiting amazing flavor. Joy was an associate food editor for magazines such as Southern Living and Cooking Light, developed recipes for Natural Health magazine and various food companies.

2 comments about “Hanukkah with South American Sabor

  1. Michelle Zacharia

    I must have missed this the first time around. I can see you knocking Ina Garten off her pedestal as “The Fried Contessa”. I love that we have a holiday that allows us to be holy and bad at the same time. Great pictures, Everything looks fresh and colorful even though it’s fried.


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