International Kosher Cuisines: Exploring Global Flavors While Staying True to Tradition

A colorful assortment of Asian dishes, including spring rolls, stir-fried vegetables, salads, and rice, arranged on a rustic wooden table.

For millions of Jewish faithful around the world, keeping to kosher guidelines is one of the most important facets of their religion. Keeping kosher is about more than food purity. Rather, it’s all about embracing traditions that are thousands of years old, connecting the faithful to those who went before them. Keeping kosher doesn’t have to be boring. Kosher dietary laws intersect with many international cuisine options, opening up a complex world of possibilities. Sarah’s Tent will introduce an exciting culinary journey, providing options and meal ideas for anyone who wishes to explore international cuisine while keeping kosher.

Understanding Kosher Food Principles

Kosher is the term used to describe food that complies with Jewish law’s dietary standards. Kosher describes pairing meat and dairy together. It also provides direction on how food should be prepared, including avoiding cross-contamination and keeping the preparation space immaculate. For meat to be kosher, all traces of blood must be removed prior to cooking. Additionally, kosher meat must come from animals with cloven or split hooves, although chicken and certain other domesticated fowl are also allowed.

Fortunately, ingredients from many other cultures are prepared in a kosher manner, making it easy to follow Jewish guidelines even while expanding your culinary horizons. Kosher foods will be labeled appropriately, and many Kosher grocery stores, including Sarah’s Tent, have extensive international food sections.

Middle Eastern Flavors

With rich spices and a depth of flavor, Middle Eastern cuisine is ideal for adapting to kosher guidelines. Israeli shakshuka is one delicious dish that can be prepared for brunch, lunch, or dinner. To make Israeli shakshuka, make a tomato sauce of tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, onion powder, and chicken bullion. Cook until the sauce is thick, then crack whole eggs into the sauce. Don’t stir the eggs, but continue simmering until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny.

A traditional Persian stew with a wealth of flavors, Persian fesenjan is made with walnuts and sweet pomegranates. To prepare the stew, finely grind and toast walnuts. Meanwhile, cook diced onions over high heat until caramelized and golden brown. Add chicken and sear, adding water once each side is golden brown. Add the ground walnuts, cinnamon, and pomegranate molasses. Simmer for 45 minutes and serve over saffron rice.

European Delights

One of Spain’s most popular dishes, paella is hearty and serves a crowd. To make Spanish kosher paella, sear chicken in a pan, removing once each side is golden brown. Cook tomato paste, onion, garlic, and red pepper in the same pan, adding rice, tomatoes, parsley, and lemon juice once the vegetables have softened. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook until the rice is fluffy and everything is fragrant.

A slow-cooked stew with abundant flavor, Polish cholent is a delicious exploration of Polish culture. To prepare this stew, cook stew meat or brisket in a large stew pot until all sides are seared. Add potatoes, onions, pearl barley, chicken broth, dried beans, and seasonings of your choice. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook until the beans and vegetables are tender.

Asian Inspirations

It can be tricky to adapt Asian cuisine to kosher standards, but with some creative thinking, you can recreate the classic flavors of Japanese and Chinese recipes for your family. Kosher sushi is a delicious and simple starting point. To make kosher sushi, use sushi rice to enrobe a filling of mango, salad cucumber, avocado, mint, and Surimi flakes. You can also use your favorite variety of kosher fish.

Thai coconut chicken curry is another savory delight. For this one-pan dish, sear chicken in a hot pan, removing when golden brown. To the pan, add a leek, sliced red bell pepper, and seasonings, including garlic and fresh ginger. Sautee the vegetables until tender, adding curry paste and full-fat coconut milk. Cook for about 15 minutes before adding the chicken back in and cooking for another 20-30 minutes. Ensure the coconut milk is kosher-certified before use.

Latin American Cuisine

Latin American cuisine is popular with people of all ages and for good reason. This is a culture brimming with fun and flavor. To capture the flavor of Latin America at home, try making Mexican kosher carnitas, using brisket rather than traditional pork. Simply slow-cook brisket until fork tender and serve it with sauteed peppers and onions, and fresh, kosher tortillas.

Argentinean kosher empanadas are another delectable option. To make this handheld treat, make a filling of cooked kosher beef and spices. Wrap the filling in an empanada shell and deep fry or bake until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with salsa and fresh avocado.

African Adventures

A hearty, traditional chicken dish, Moroccan tagine is the perfect way to capture the spices and unique cooking methods of African cuisine. To prepare this showstopping entree, braise kosher lamb in a large cooking pot. Remove, and add onions, garlic, and flour. Make a roux, adding chicken broth, lemon zest, and apricots once the roux thickens. Add carrots, olives, and lemon juice, and simmer until carrots are tender and the chicken is cooked through.

For those in your family following a vegan diet, Ethiopian lentil stew is a fantastic option. Sautee spices, including berbere spice, ginger, garlic, and cumin, before adding soaked lentils and tomato paste. Add chicken stock or water and cook until the stew thickens and the lentils are tender.

Keeping Kosher While Traveling

If you’re traveling, it might be challenging to find ingredients that meet the same kosher standards you’re used to at home. For the best chance of finding kosher-certified items, try to shop at larger grocery stores. Big stores or chains will be more likely to have the ingredients you need. You can also ask locals for recommendations on where to find kosher products. Always look for the stamp of approval that denotes kosher certification on any product or ingredient you’re considering using.

Visit Sarah’s Tent for All Your Kosher Ingredients

Adapting international cuisine to kosher standards is easy once you know how to begin. Try these recipes and discover the taste of new cultures all while respecting kosher dietary laws! Whether you’re traveling or planning on expanding your cooking horizons at home, Sarah’s Market has all the kosher groceries you need. Visit our storefront or check us out online to learn more about our selection of kosher produce and grocery staples.

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