10 Best Israeli Dishes from ‘Taste of Israel’ Festival
Best Israeli Dishes awaits you at food festival ‘Taste of Israel’ being celebrated at Nook, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park till this 26th. No, I am not talking of hummus and tahini stuffs alone. Read on to know what are the best Israeli dishes that we bloggers were treated to at the food festival of Israel.
‘Nook’ of Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park has dazzling interiors. The lighting is warm, the sitting area spread out; there is a billiards table too. Guests were trying a hand at the game. The festival mood was just setting in when I entered. Formal introductions and casual high fives put all of us at ease. We were soon introduced to Chef Shachar Aschengrau, a culinary expert hailing from the port city of Haifa. He curated the sumptuous spread of delicacies that included Mediterranean, Arabic and East European cuisine along with the talented chefs of Nook.
Introducing Chef Shachar Aschengrau
Chef Shachar Aschengrau born and brought up in Haifa was passionate about cooking since childhood. He got his basic exposure to cooking from his mom of Polish origin and from his Moroccan and Arab friends. The chef is qualified in beverage and food management. He later became the GM of Israeli catering company.
With his wife Yael, an Israeli diplomat, he has traveled several countries. In Japan he participated in TV programs as Mediterranean chef and created few dishes for the Japanese Starbucks coffee chain. While in Mexico, he used the opportunity to study in Mexican high culinary institution. Their family arrived in Bangalore in Jan2016.
Chef Shachar Aschengrau is specialized in new Israeli cuisine which is fusion of Mediterranean, Arabic and east European cuisine. The Chef believes that in every place he cooks he should cook with local products that are found easily in different places of the world. This way cooking will support local farmers and fresh organic healthy products are used in cooking process.
Taste of Israel
We started off with a variety of cocktails and mock-tails, which were accompanied with crunchy, crispy finger food. These again were accompanied by dips like menthe dip, chili dip, mango dip, tahini! Amidst all these sampling Chef Shachar Aschengrau talked to us about his journey through this culinary world. With initial hunger pangs satiated we were led to their large dining area. The range of healthy salads were inviting with their ‘devourable’ (I invented this word now.) looks. Some of them worth mentioning here are Tabuleh Salad, minced chicken liver, shakshuka, eggplant salad, Israeli salad!
The main course did not lack choice either. There was everything from Spring chicken, grilled chicken, and Israeli pilau to our own curd rice jostling for space in the spread! Vegetarians have more than enough options. The stuffed vegetables, different kinds of vegetables in oven sprinkled generously with different kinds of herbs.
10 Best Israeli Dishes of my choice
1. Lamb Kebabs on Cinnamon Sticks
If you love meaty flavors doused with scents of spice you will definitely love these lamb kebabs on cinnamon sticks. Finely minced lamb meat wrapped on thick cinnamon curls. They appeared and disappeared in no time. I wondered what happens to the cinnamon sticks.
Perfect for vegetarians! The consistency so right, neither too thick nor too runny. It had all the goodness and sweetness of roasted cauliflower and garlic. I wondered why I thought it was boring and never tried it before. Add some cheese gratings too if you are not too calorie conscious.
3. Tabbouleh Salad
This one is their traditional dish. Tabbouleh is a kind of parsley salad with some bulgur wheat scattered and mixed into it. The pomegranate grains added a delicious juiciness to the dish and added to it there was a dash of Mint and lemon too. Have it at Taste of Israel and you will know why I included it among the best Israeli dishes.
4. Pumpkin Dip
The pumpkin dip with their breads or rather the other way round is a must eat combination. The various kinds of breads they had were Jerusalem Bagel, Fricassee, Chala, Pernes and the different dips we experimented was quite satisfying. Somehow I quite liked the taste of the pumpkin dip more.
The name is so exciting and so is the dish. In Israel this is a breakfast food I have read, but to me it looked like a good additional spicy dish to main course. It is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin.
6. Minced Chicken Liver
A wonderful variation of chicken dish! From the look and taste of it I felt this is a doable kind of dish at home. But the right spices will be the magic element in it. You can try with roll or as pita bread filling.
7. Israeli Pilaf
I am not sure when I will be able to go to Tel Aviv to get an authentic taste of Israeli Pilaf so I took a good helping of this just to satisfy my craving and hunger. It was very tasteful, light and fluffy; I had to rank it as one of the best Israeli dishes
8. Fish in Tomato Sauce
Now this is something I can die for again and again, blame my Bong genes for that! Chunky fish pieces floating in tangy tomato based gravy….mmmm…. my mouth is watering just thinking of my experience while writing this.
There was this dish called Thulluma served to us on a platter, golden fried crispy stuff! It wasn’t too crunchy, and just the right amount of sweetness. It wasn’t feeling oily either. Very well made, a different from the usual and good dessert!
10. Sesame seed cake
Ingredients of sesame seed cake may be similar to til ki barfi or til ki chikki we have during Lohri festival but there is a lot of difference in its texture. This one was all rigid halwa type and was breaking off like sandesh. Very tasty and I hope I can have it again some day!
Here is a recording of Dessert Special session at the end of the event that night.
This was the finale that day… a sort of showcase of dessert preparation… to the beat of Israeli music the chefs added dry fruits, cakes, nuts, assorted macaroons, chocolate, nougats and dry ice which gave the dramatic smoky appearance.