The story of Hanukkah is a tale of victory of the Jewish people led by the high priest Mattathias and his sons (the Maccabees), over the Syrian-Greek army in 167 BCE. The triumphant Maccabees then had to clean and restore the defiled Holy Temple. The final step in rededicating the Temple was relighting the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Lamp, for which pure olive oil was required. The one cruse of pure oil discovered lasted a miraculous eight days!
Today oil is still an important part of celebrating Hanukkah. Oil reminds us of the risks the Maccabees took to chase Antiochus and his army out of Jerusalem, and of the miraculous oil that enabled the Jews to purify their temple. Delicious holiday foods are cooked in oil to recall the miracle that kept the menorah burning for eight nights. Many families enjoy latkes and donuts called sufganiyot as part of their meals during Hanukkah. And while latkes and sufganiyot as super delicious – there’s a big wide world of other foods to try, perfect for Hanukkah.
Read on below to learn about dishes from all over the world that your family can enjoy during Hanukkah this year. If any of the foods we mentioned are on the menu in your house, let us know! We love seeing photos on Instagram and you can tag us @pjlibrary too.
Grab your copy of Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas for a perfect story to kick off Hanukkah. You’ll find super tasty, kid-friendly recipes in the back, including one for dosa! If your kids are fans of blintzes, they may be pretty excited to try dosa for the first time. Other classic Indian dishes you can sample for Hanukkah include pakoras, samosas, and papadum.
FISH AND CHIPS
Did you know that fish and chips, a popular British pub food, actually has Jewish roots? In fact, the very first official fish and chips focused restaurant in the UK was opened by Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant, in the 1860s.
If you’re in a rush, or too tired to make fish and chips from scratch, feel free to go the frozen food route with fish sticks and kosher oven-fries. If you feel like making your own, try this easy recipe from Food Network.
Vegetarian? Swap zucchini sticks for fish filets.
Listed as one of the “most Jewish foods” of all time, gribenes are crispy morsels of fried chicken skin. Did you know that there are versions of gribenes all around the world? Some Thai dishes include fried chicken skins and in some parts of the South in the US people enjoy cracklings as toppings on some meals. If you want to know even more about gribenes, visit My Jewish Learning for a full history plus recipes.
Poutine is a popular street food in parts of Canada, especially Montreal. It’s a mix of cheese curds and gravy—what some people in the US might call “disco fries.” To make a kosher version, use vegetarian mushroom gravy or stick with just cheese on your potatoes. Instead of fries you can also try making your poutine with—you guessed it—latkes! For a breakfast at night-time play on dinner, give this salmon latke poutine a try. If you have guests or family members with allergies, here is a meat and dairy free version of poutine.
If you’ve never had a tostone, you’ve been missing out! You can kind of think of tostones as a replacement french fry. Children all over Latin America and the Caribbean enjoy these twice-fried plaintains with their families. If you fear the fryer or want to let your kids do the cooking without the worry of hot oil, you can try easy oven-baked tostones.
Tempura refers to a specific type of frying technique used in Japanese dishes. If there are any vegetables your kids have been especially on the fence about, tempura frying is a great way to get them to ease into loving broccoli, asparagus, or taro. Plus tempura veggies go really well with matzoh ball soup too!
What is schnitzel? Put simply, it’s a fried, tenderized, and battered meat—kind of like an international chicken cutlet that can be made with just about anything. Schnitzel is popular in Austria and Germany, but countries all over the world have their own unique versions of it. For example, in France families enjoy a tenderized and fried dish called escalope and in Latin America, you’ll likely find families enjoying milanesa on their Shabbat tables. Want to make some schnitzel for your family this week? The Joy of Kosher has a chicken schnitzel recipe that is perfect for schnitzel beginners.
The 2020 Quick Guide to Celebrating Hanukkah With Kids
The PJ Library Hanukkah Hub
Printable Hanukkah Recipe and Activity Cards
Share photos of your favorite Hanukkah recipes with us on Instagram!
October 22, 2018