Sephardi Sabbath Eggs

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Typical for a Sephardi Shabbat (the Sabbath) lunch is a type of Cholent or Hamin which is a traditional Jewish stew. This Jewish stew was developed over the centuries to conform with Jewish laws that prohibit cooking on the Sabbath. The pot is brought to boil on Friday before the Sabbath begins, and kept on a blech or hotplate, or placed in a slow oven or electric slow cooker until the following day.

There are many variations of the dish, and the one I grew up on is called Osh Sovo, which is a a rice based dish cooked with potatoes, carrots, beans and dried fruits. Reference to my Silk Road Vegetarian cookbook, to be released on May 20th which has the Osh Sovo recipe. In all variations of the Shabbat lunch, Central Asian Jews and Sephardi Jews adorned the Jewish stew with a side of whole eggs in the shell, which turn brown overnight. Some Sephardi communities cooked the eggs with the stew. My mother always made the eggs separate from the Osh Sovo with the addition of whole potatoes. The result is the egg whites become a rich brown color and the eggs develop a nutty, roasted taste. Here, I present my family recipe for Shabbat Eggs.

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 eggs with shells
3 medium sized potatoes, such as yukon
1 black tea bag in a sachet
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Place the eggs, potatoes and tea bag in a medium size sauce pot. Fill with water, an inch above the potatoes.Add the oil and the salt.
  2. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, move the sauce pot to a hot plate or a blech. It should cook through the night, up to 8 hours and no longer than 12 hours.
  3. Remove from water, peel the eggs and slice the potatoes. Serve in a bowl or platter. You may want to season with salt and pepper if that’s your preference, while I don’t.

Baked Eggs with Arugula, Yoghurt & Chili

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I have been inconsistent in posting recipes. Sorry for that. My hands have been very full lately. My father is quite ill and has been and out of the hospital regularly, which has been very disorienting for the entire family. He’s at home now and quite a trooper. Never complains and just deals with his life.
My cookbook Silk Road Vegetarian is underway and my publisher has sent me the galley to review several times. Luckily they are always asking for my input, and want my artistic sensibility and the essence of who I am am to shine through the book. They haven’t listened to everything I suggested, however the book is definitely forming into a beautiful coffee table cookbook.
Then there is the other book I am writing, on the intersection of Rosh Chodesh (head of the Jewish month) and challah. It’s a monthly curriculum on how to incorporate the Jewish theme of the month into the shape of the challah.
Amidst all of this is my dutiful CSA which always comes in on Wednesday to deliver the freshest produce that has been picked the same day. This week I got some arugula and decided to try the very famous Ottolenghis’ recipe, Baked Eggs with Arugula. I really savour the peppery kick arugula has near the end of a bite – the taste is nigh on mustardy. That spicy bite so characteristic of arugula has always inspired me to dress it with some yoghurt.  It makes for a quick and effortless meal, where the yoghurt and za’atar really make the dish.
If you don’t want to bake this, you can always cook this on the stove and just cover it with the lid. From the much-loved Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ cookbook.
serves 2
Ingredients 
4 large eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch Arugula
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
Drizzle of extra Virgin Olive oil
Za’atar, for seasoning
salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Place the arugala and olive oil in a large pan and sprinkle over a little salt. Sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes, until the arugula wilts and most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer to a small baking dish (or leave in the pan, if ovenproof) and make four deep indentations in the cooked arugula. Carefully break an egg into each hollow then place in the preheated oven to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until whites are set.

4. While the eggs are baking make your garlic yoghurt. Stir the garlic through the yoghurt and season generously with salt. Set aside.

5. When your eggs are ready to your liking, take them out of the oven. Spoon on a large dollop of garlicky yoghurt and pour over a drizzle of olive oil with za’atar. Serve immediately.