For me, the part of Sukkot I really love is sitting in our beautiful sukkah and being with all of the guests that fill it.
Our sukkah is large, 22 years old and has a lot of character. I made 3-inch holes with the drill at various heights so the kids could look out, depending on their ages. We save the decorations each year and 99% of them are homemade. Each year we add something new and special. I took the kids' pictures and had them framed to make them more special. Every year we ask, "Which is your favorite decoration?"
We also fill the sukkah with many guests. Make a calendar, write in which days you want guests and invite them now so you don't end up with an empty sukkah.
And bring on the food. This summer at Aish HaTorah we had a Life-Science mission. I was fortunate to cater the opening banquet on the roof of our New Building. I was asked to make an Asian theme. It happens to make for a fun Sukkot menu. Don't forget plenty of cold drinks, wine, beer and good scotch.
My menu was:
Homemade Asian Breads with Herbed Spreads Sushi (I bought. I will learn to make it soon and share it with you.) Chicken and Herb Potstickers Teriyaki Steak Cornish Hen Grilled Salmon Asian Salads Three Pea Stir Fry Seasoned Rice Flaming Mangos
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Prep Time: 10 minutes. Start to Finish: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 3 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup tap water
- 2 tsps. oil
- Some more whole-wheat flour, to help in rolling
Put the flour in a mound on a kneading surface. Make a well in the center and add salt into it. Then, adding a little water at a time, incorporate it into the flour and knead the flour into a soft, smooth dough with water (a finger pushed in presses without too much pressure). Then coat it with the oil and leave to rest for 30 minutes covered in a damp cloth.
Shape into smooth a little bigger than walnut-sized balls / medium lemon sized balls. (You can go bigger too if this seems like too much of trouble as the lesser the size the more rolls.) Roll these into a ball between your palms well to make sure there are no cracks. Flatten a bit between your palms. Coat with flour on both sides.
On a well dusted surface, roll these into 1/8" thick rounds which should be around 6 inches in diameter. (Keep the pressure while rolling as light as possible and soon, with practice, the roti starts rotating with the rolling pin movement and you do not have to turn it manually to get a perfect circle.) Place on a plate with wax paper between each.
Place the griddle over the fire, and heat until a drop of water thrown over it evaporates immediately with a sizzling sound. Place a rolled chapatti over the hot griddle for about 10-15 seconds, until flecks appear on the underside. Lower the flame and turn over and cook for about 40 seconds.
With practice you can use this time to roll out the next ball so you do not need to roll them all out when you start.
As soon as brown flecks appear on the underside again increase the flame to full heat and remove the tava and turn the roti over. Now slide the tava out and with a pair of metal tongs place the lesser cooked side directly over the flame. The roti will puff immediately like a ball. Turn over on the other side if necessary.
Take off the flame.
Now on the high flame put the tava back on and the next roll. Proceed to finish the whole lot.
Alternatively, if you are not comfortable cooking over a direct flame: Cook the second side on low for 40 seconds. Flip over on the tava itself. Put on high and use a cloth to press the roti down at various points. It should fluff up this way too.
Steam the rotis wrapped in foil to reheat, or roast on griddle - but this takes away the softness.
NOTE: The remaining unused dough should be refrigerated (not frozen) in a plastic bag for later use (but please use within a couple of days).
Makes 3 servings - 20 phulkas.
Banana Sweet Puri
- 1 ripened banana
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cardamoms (powdered)
- oil (for deep frying)
- 1 tsp. margarine
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
Mix two flours together thoroughly. Add margarine to the flours. Peel and mash the banana to a fine paste. Add it into the flour. Make a light syrup (sugar should get bubbles after dissolving in water), with adding ¼ cup of water. Now add cardamom powder to the flour mixture (pouring little by little).
Make a fine, pliable dough and prepare walnut-sized balls, without any cracks. Make each ball like a small puri, and deep fry them to golden brown color.
In a wide plate, sprinkle sesame seeds. Place the sweet puris directly over them, turn to the other side, check whether the seeds are properly applied or not.
Serve hot or cold.
Makes 8 servings.
Easy Skillet Cornbread
- 2 cups corn meal
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1 cup parve milk
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees. Grease the inside of an 8" cast iron skillet and place it in the oven.
In a medium or large bowl, beat the egg and add milk and oil. Stir in sugar, then cornmeal, just until moistened. The batter should be lumpy - do not over mix.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Return to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
The top of the cornbread should be golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when the bread is done.
Makes 4 servings.
Chicken and Herb Potstickers with Mint-Chili Sauce
1 20-oz. package fresh chopped spinach, steamed, squeezed dry
- ¾ lb. ground chicken
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ tbsps. finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsps. chili-garlic sauce
- 1 ½ tsps. oriental sesame oil
- 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
12 egg roll wrappers
1 cup Chinese plum sauce
¾ cup water
- 2 tbsps. dry Sherry
18 tbsps. (approx.) vegetable oil
Place spinach in a large bowl; mix in chicken, 1 egg and next 10 ingredients. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl. Place 1 egg roll wrapper on the work surface; cut in half diagonally. Brush edges with beaten egg. Spoon one heaping tbsp. chicken filling into the center of each half. Fold egg roll wrappers over filling, forming small triangles. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers and filling. (Potstickers can be prepared ahead. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 6 hours or freeze up to 3 days. If frozen, thaw potstickers before continuing with the recipe.)
Whisk plum sauce, ¾ cup water and Sherry in a small bowl to blend. Set aside.
Heat 3 tbsps. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry 4 potstickers at a time until brown on both sides, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining potstickers in 5 more batches, adding 3 tbsps. vegetable oil (or more if necessary) per batch.
Heat 5 tbsps. reserved plum-sauce mixture in another large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 potstickers and cook until chicken filling is cooked through, turning once, about 3 minutes. Transfer to platter. Repeat with remaining plum-sauce mixture and potstickers in 5 more batches. Serve potstickers immediately with Mint-Chili sauce.
Serves 8 as a first-course.
4 stalks fresh lemongrass, or dry outer leaves discarded and root ends trimmed
- 2/3 cup chopped well-washed coriander roots and/or stems
- ½ cup chopped shallot or green onion
- 8 large garlic cloves
- ¼ cup chopped peeled fresh gingerroot
- ¼ cup palm sugar or firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsps. curry powder
- 2 tsps. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 cups well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
- three 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb. Cornish hens, butterflied, backbone and breastbone removed (I used mini chickens)
Thinly slice lower 6 inches of lemongrass stalks, discarding remainder of stalks. In a food processor or blender, finely grind together sliced lemongrass, coriander, shallot, garlic, and gingerroot. Add sugar, curry powder, pepper, salt, soy sauce, and 1 cup coconut milk and puree.
Quarter each hen and divide between 2 large resealable plastic bags. Divide marinade between bags and seal bags, pressing out excess air. Put bags in large shallow dish and marinate hens, chilled, turning bag once or twice, overnight.
Preheat oven to 450°F, and line a large shallow roasting pan with foil.
Remove hens from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange hens, skin sides up, in prepared pan. Roast hens 20-20 minutes, or until just cooked through.
While hens are roasting, in a small saucepan combine reserved marinade and remaining 1 cup coconut milk. Cook sauce at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes and strain through a fine sieve into another small saucepan to keep warm.
Serve hens with marinade sauce and/or sweet chili sauce for dipping if desired.
- 2 lb. steak
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsps. lime juice
- ¼ cup scallions
- 1 cup beef boullion, double strength
- ½ cup rde wine
- 2 tbsps. brown sugar or honey
Cut meat into 1" strips, diagonally across the grain. Layer the meat and pour the marinade over it. Marinate 6 hours, then grill hot. Brush with marinade.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 4 tsps. soy sauce
- 1 ½ tsps. sugar
- 2 tsps. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsps. wasabi paste (green horseradish paste), or to taste
- 1 12-oz. salmon steak, cut into twenty 1" cubes
- 10 8" bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
In a bowl, stir together mayonnaise, soy sauce, sugar and lemon juice. Transfer 2/3 cup soy mayonnaise to a small bowl and stir in wasabi paste. Stir salmon into remaining 1/3 cup soy mayonnaise. Chill wasabi mayonnaise, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 24. Marinate salmon, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 24.
Thread 2 salmon cubes onto each skewer and grill on an oiled rack set 5-6 inches over glowing coals until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve salmon sates with chilled wasabi mayonnaise.
Makes 10 sates.
Three Pea Stir-Fry
It may seem odd that we use frozen green peas, but, sadly, even the best fresh ones can taste starchy by the time they make it to the supermarket.
Active Time: 30 minutes Start to Finish: 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
- 6 ozs. sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1" pieces
- 6 ozs. snow peas, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1" pieces
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
Heat vegetable oil in a 12" non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar snaps and snow peas and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in soy sauce and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and season with salt.
Makes 4 side-dish servings.
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- 2 fresh mangos
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tbsps. sugar
- 1 cup tequilla
Wash and peel fresh mangos, cut each into 6 slices. Place in chafing dish or skillet. Pour orange juice over fruit and sprinkle with sugar. Heat to simmering, stirring gently to dissolve sugar and coat fruit. After 3 or 4 minutes, pour tequila, keep over medium heat. Flame sauce by pouring a little tequila into a teaspoon and holding it over the flame of the chafing dish or range until it flames, then use this flaming tequila to light the tequila on top of the mangos. Serve over parve vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 serving.