Purim is the unique holiday when it was revealed to us that “natural events” are truly miraculous. Our celebration of Purim testifies to our sincere belief that God is behind everything that occurs in our lives. The more we come to perceive everything good that seems “hidden” behind the challenges we face, the more we can discern the kindness in the midst of the concealment, the more our lives will be transformed in positive ways.

Because the miracles of Purim were “hidden”, we have a custom to prepare dishes that represent this “hiddenness,” including kreplach, stuffed cabbage, knishes, hamentaschen, and meatballs.

Other Purim customs regarding the festive meal include preparing poppy seed cake and nuts and seeds that remind us of how Queen Esther survived on these, as her way of keeping kosher in the palace of Achashverosh.

Here are some of our family favorites.

Stuffed Cabbage

  • 16-18 large cabbage leaves

Wash, check and steam the cabbage leaves for about 7-10 minutes, so they are soft enough to easily fold over the filling.

Meat Filling

  • ½ - 1 kilo of ground meat, chicken or turkey
  • 2 grated onions
  • 1 cup raw brown rice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

Veggie Filling

  • 2 cups of raw brown rice or kasha
  • 2 grated onions
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 8-10 mushrooms, cubed
  • ½ - 1 tsp sea salt
  • 12 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tb whole wheat flour

Sauce

  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • 3 Tb lemon juice

Mix filling ingredients and divide into the separate cabbage leaves. Gently roll each one up and place in a large pan. Cover with sauce and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Purim Knishes

  • 3 cups of whole wheat or spelt flour
  • ½ cup of olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • ¼ cup of cold water
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 eggs

Knish Fillings

  • 2 packages of mushrooms (about 20) chopped and steamed for 10 minutes (or 2 cups of canned mushrooms with 1 cup of liquid from the can)
  • 1 cup of water from the cooked mushrooms
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup black pepper
  • ¼ cup of whole wheat or spelt flour

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Then add and mix the mushrooms, spices, flour and flavored water in one bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add oil, water and eggs and knead into dough.

Roll out the dough and spread the knish filling on one side of the dough. Gently roll the other side of the dough over the mixture. Or you can make individual knishes by cutting rectangle shapes out of the rolled out dough.

Other knish fillings include: Mixing 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes or potatoes with the sautéed onions and garlic.

Bake in the oven at 350 F. (180 C.) for 30-40 minutes.

Chicken Kreplach Soup

  • 1 potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • 2 zucchini
  • ½ butternut squash
  • 1-2 kilos of chicken, quartered (2 to 4 lbs.)
  • 12-16 cups of water

Slice all the vegetables into chunk pieces and add to a large soup pot with the chicken and enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables. Simmer for 2 hours

Kreplach

Dough

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 Tbs. oil

Combine dough ingredients and knead together. Roll out thin and then cut out 3 inch squares (or 4 inch for bigger kreplach). You can also use the top of a glass to make circles.

Filling

  • 1 ½ cups of ground meat
  • 1 large onion grated

Mix the ingredients and then place about 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in each square (or circle). Fold over to make triangle shaped kreplach, or “half-moon” shaped kreplach.

Kreplach can then be added to the boiling soup and float to the top of the soup when they are done (about 10 minutes). Leave them in the soup to absorb the flavor. You may want to add more water and spices after the kreplach have absorbed some of the broth.

They can be served separately at the seudah or in the soup.

Vegetarian “Chicken” Soup and Kreplach

The same soup can be made without chicken and the kreplach can be filled with mashed potatoes that have a grated onion added.

Purim Roast

  • 2 lb. (1 kilo) stew beef
  • 4 onions sliced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • ½ - 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 carrots, cut in large circles
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced

Directions: sauté onion, garlic and celery in oil or water for about ten minutes, then add the meat, two cups of water, spices and cubed vegetables. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours.

Purim Meatballs

  • 2-3 lbs. (1-2 kilos) of ground chicken, turkey or beef
  • 2 grated onions
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 grated (small) sweet potato
  • 1 grated (small) potato
  • ½ cup of matzo meal (optional)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin (optional0
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika

Sauce

  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 – 2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbs. of lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar

Mix meatballs ingredients in a large bowl and shape into meatballs.

Simmer in a large pot with the sauce, for about two hours or until done.

The seudah can include a large variety of kugels, hot vegetable dishes and colorful salads.

Spinach* Kugel Purim Pie

  • 2-3 cups of steamed spinach (if using fresh greens, 2-7 bunches can be used. When steamed for seven minutes, they tremendously reduce in size.)
  • 6-7 eggs
  • 2 cups of almond or soy milk
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika

*Beet leaves/Swiss chard greens can be substituted for spinach

Mix the first seven ingredients together and pour into a large oven tray. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 350 F. degrees (180 C. degrees) for about an hour until the pie appears firm.

Baked Beets

Baked beets are incredibly sweet.

  • 8 small/medium size beets
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 sprig of parsley

Cut beets into quarters.

Bake for 60-80 minutes at 350 degrees (180 Centigrade)

Decorate baked beets with sliced scallions and parsley.

String Bean Sesame Stir Fry

  • 800-gram bag of frozen string beans (or two!)
  • 2 large onions, one white, one purple, sliced in slivers
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, sliced
  • ¼ cup of sesame seeds

Sauté the onions and garlic in 1-2 Tbs. of olive oil

Add string beans and sesame seeds, a bit of water (about ¼ cup) to prevent burning, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.

Kale Pomegranate Seed Salad

  • 3 large kales* – enough to fill a large salad bowl
  • 2 cups of pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup of shelled sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup of sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup of cashews halves
  • 2-3 Tbs. of pecan and/or walnut halves

*Additional dark green lettuces can be added or used into of the kale.

Toss the greens and the pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Decorate with all the nuts and seeds.

Salad dressing can be made separately and added to each individual’s serving.

Dressing

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ olive oil
  • ¼ water
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. garlic granules
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1 Tbs. of dried dill

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well until well mixed.

Purim Poppy Seed Cake

A special cake!

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 cup of poppy seeds
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of apple sauce
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar (or 1 cup of honey)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Simmer the milk and poppy seeds together for about ten minutes on a low temperature (not boiling). Then turn off the fire and let the seeds soak.

Mix the coconut oil, sugar and apple sauce.

Whisk the eggs and then add them to the sugar mix.

Add and mix together the dry ingredients, vanilla and lemon juice.

Pour into a 9” x 14” inch baking tray, and bake in a 350 F. degree oven (180 C. degree) for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick test comes out dry.

Hamentaschen

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 5 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • (Opt. 2 Tbs. of poppy seeds can be added to the dough)

Hamentaschen Fillings have many possibilities, from traditional prune jam, chopped dates, apricots, or a honey with poppy seed mixture, as well as more exotic pineapple, papaya, mango, and raspberry jams, and carob and chocolate spreads Mix all ingredients to form a dough. Then roll out to very thin and cut out 3-4 inch circles (with a cookie cutter or the top of a drinking glass). Spread the filling within each circle and then fold over into triangular shapes, and pinch the sides together. Place on a large oven tray and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 F. degrees (180 C.)

I’lui nishmas Avraham ben Yitzchak Isaac, z”l