Leek patties
Leek patties
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Gourds
Gourds
Silka
Silka

I didn’t grow up eating most of the simanim featured here. When I was a child, our Rosh Hashanah table always had dates, figs, pomegranates, carrots, and, of course, the head of a fish.

Flash-forward a couple of years: I got married and saw that my sister-in-law prepares an entire spread — a full course of simanim appetizers. We eat simanim to symbolize the beginning of a good new year. They are also a wake up call to remind us to improve our behavior going forward.

The first thing you may notice as you peruse these recipes is that most of the recipes have sugar in them, which is meant to help usher in a sweet new year.

Thank you to my sister-in-law Debbie Englard for these recipes and inspiring us to incorporate these foods into our Rosh Hashanah meal.

Symbolic Foods we eat:

Dates -
“May … our enemies be consumed.”

Pomegranates -
“May … our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate.”

Apples in Honey -
“May … you renew us for a good and sweet year.”

Head of a fish or sheep -
“May … we be as the head and not as the tail.”

Caramelized Carrots
“May … that our merits increase.”

Rubia- Black-eyed Peas
“May … our merits increase.”

Karti- Leek Patties
“May … our enemies be destroyed.”

These are delicious! If you like latkes,chances are you will like these too.

Leek patties are our family’s favorite and I think we would make them even if they weren’t included in the simanim. Though it isn’t a very traditional ingredient, my sister-in-law adds a bit of chicken soup powder to the batter. If the batter is very loose, add a little more bread crumbs.

Ingredients:

3 large leeks (or 4 smaller ones), white and light green parts only
water as needed
2 tablespoons oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs or matzah meal
salt
pinch of sugar
oil for frying

Instructions:

1. Cut off the dark green part off the leeks and discard. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut the leek into strips and dice.
2. Place leeks into a pot with enough water to cover. Add 2 Tablespoons oil. Bring to a boil.
3. Drain very very well, pressing out excess water.
4. Add the eggs, crumbs, salt, and sugar. Form the batter into patties.
5. Pour a thin layer of oil into a skillet over medium heat and bring to a frying temperature. Slip patties into hot oil and fry until browned on one side. Flip patties and brown the other side.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

Yields: 20-24 patties


Kara- Gourds
“May … our merits be read before You and the evil decree of our sentence be torn up.”

Strictly speaking, the gourd family of vegetables includes cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash — the latter of which is our custom to use for this siman. In the United States, winter squashes, such as spaghetti squash, are often used. The choyote squash, with its edible skin, is widely used in Israel and other places with warm climates.

Ingredients:

3-4 chayote squash
juice of ½ lemon
1½ cup sugar
½ cup water
dash of salt

Instructions:

1. Cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and pit. Dice, with the peel, into small cubes.
2. Place into a small pot. Add lemon juice, sugar, water, and salt.
3. Cook 1 to 1 ½ hours until caramelized and candy-like.

Yield: about 2 cups

Silka - Beet Leaf Patties
“May … our adversaries be removed.”

The beet leaves shrink all the way down, so don’t worry if they fill the entire pot at first. In Israel, beet leaves are commonly used and are sold pre-washed in bags. Many also use spinach or Swiss chard.

Ingredients:

8 bunches beet leaves (each bunch is about 6 leaves)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs or matzah meal
dash of salt
dash of sugar

Instructions:

1. Wash the beet leaves very, very well. Remove the leaves from the stalks and then discard the stalks.
2. Place the beet leaves into a pot. Cook over low heat until they shrink and are very soft. Stir with a fork occasionally to break up leaves.
3. Drain very, very well. Combine with the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, and sugar. Form into small patties.
5. Pour a thin layer of oil into a skillet over medium heat and bring to a frying temperature. Slip patties into hot oil and fry until browned on one side. Flip patties and brown the other side.

Yield: 18 patties


Go to Cookkosher.com to view more simanim recipes and photos.