Finding authentic Israeli restaurants in Metro Detroit can be difficult, but these Israeli cookbooks are sure to help please your palate!
Metro Detroit has more than its fair share of Middle Eastern restaurants, but only Pita Post comes close to authentic Israeli. If you’ve been to Israel, you know what I mean. There’s a layering of flavors, punctuated by fresh ingredients and spices.
Now you can try your hand at cooking traditional Israeli dishes by using two new cookbooks that make perfect Chanukah presents.
Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen (Avery, $35) by Adeena Sussman, a Tel Aviv recipe developer and food writer who shops daily for fresh ingredients at Shuk HaCarmel. an open-air market.
Sababa means “everything is awesome,” and you agree as you search for recipes in the oversized hard-cover book filled with gorgeous food photographs. Sussman begins with a primer on versatile spice blends and staples, then moves to salads, main courses and desserts.
Sample recipes include Honey Harissa Chicken Thighs; Zucchini, Dill and Feta Shakshuka; Root Vegetables and Medjool Date Stew; and Tahini Caramel Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust.
Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking (Artisan, $35) by Einat Admony and Janna Gur, reflects Admony’s Sephardi upbringing in such dishes as Persian rice platters and Moroccan tagines. You’ll also find Israeli street foods, inventive shakshukas, stuffed vegetables and more — all with ingredients found in Israel’s many shuks.
Now living in New York, Admony’s chapters are defined by ingredients: cauliflower and eggplant, tahini and chickpeas, dairy and eggs, couscous, salads, chicken and more.
She also gives histories and her favorite spots at eight shuks in Israel, with fabulous photos of each spot. The recipe photography is outstanding as well.
And, because I ate a fabulous meal at one of his restaurants on a recent trip to New Orleans, I also recommend Alon Shaya’s 2018 cookbook Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel (Knopf, $35).
The cookbook/memoir traces his journey from Israel, to Philadelphia, to Italy, Israel again and then New Orleans, where he now lives and shares his new Southern-Israeli-Italian cuisine, such as Spicy Scallop Rolls, Yemenite Stewed Chicken and Labne Cheesecake with Pomegranate Caramel and Candied Nuts.
These cookbooks should satisfy any craving for Israeli food this holiday season.