Israeli cuisine reflects the diversity and culture of the people living there which appeals to all tastes.
Here are 20 dishes that will make your trip to Israel worthwhile:
1 Hummus Masacha / Kawarma
Hummus is the common dish in Israel. We all know what goes well with hummus, right? Delicious hot pitta bread. The Israeli cuisine doesn’t feature the traditional hummus, but you should try hummus masacha which is made with chickpeas, tahini, and paprika. You could also try hummus kawarma, which is hummus garnished with onions, lamb mince, and parsley.
Tahini is a traditional dish of Israeli cuisine which is used in almost every dish from chalba, salads, hummus, and shawarma. It comes from Nigella seeds. You can prepare this at home by grinding the white sesame seeds and the result is smooth and creamy dip.
3 Aubergine with Baba Ganoush
Aubergine, also known as eggplant is an important dish from Israel. You will find it in every traditional Israeli dish ranging from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In this dish, the eggplant is mixed with lemon juice, tahini, and garlic served with bread.
4 Lechem Bread
Bread comes with almost every meal like pita bread, walnut bread, and taboon pastries. Lechem bread is a traditional Shabbat dinner where the bread is broken at the start of the meal before the feasting begins.
There are many countries and cuisines who claim the invention of falafel, but there’s no denying that it is a core element in Israeli cuisine. It is made from chickpeas, beans, or a combination of the two. It is always accompanied by hummus and pita with salad, pickles, and pink pickled turnips.
Shakshuka is a traditional breakfast dish in Israel. It is a western style huevos mixed with peppers, coriander, and tomatoes. It is a sunny side up egg on top of a tomato sauce. It tastes best when served with challah bread to soak up the juices.
Bourekas are stuffed pastries having a filling of veggies, mashed potatoes or cheese sprinkled with seeds. It is usually made with puff pastry or phyllo dough. They originated from Asia, but Sephardic Jews from Turkey brought it to Israel.
8 Israeli Breakfast
Israeli Breakfast comes in many varieties, but the common spreads are bread and cheese with local vegetables like pomegranates, kiwis, figs, apples, bananas, melons, pears, and cherries.
Malawach looks like a pancake and tastes like a pastry. It is a fried pastry that can be consumed with honey or tomato sauce. It can also be served as a wrap filled with ingredients like eggplant, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, tahini, pickles, onions, and more.
10 Israeli Salad
Israeli Salad is simple and colourful featuring cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in olive oil and lemon juice. It is a great side dish with any Greek, Middle Eastern, and North African food and addition to pita and falafel.
11 Israeli Couscous
Israeli Couscous is known as ptitim which has ingredients like peppers, pomegranate, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini. Addition of wheat flour makes it healthier for kids. It is also known as Goumet or Pearl couscous. It tastes like pasta and has a pearly and slippery surface. It makes a delicious salad and side dish.
Though Kubeh is originated from the Middle East, it was made popular by the Israelis. It is a soup with balls made of minced onions, ground red meat, and bulgur. It is a perfect dish to keep you warm in the Israeli winter. It can be in yellow or red in colour.
Chraime is traditionally cooked for religious holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Passover, and Shabbat dinner by Israeli Jews of North African origin. It is a baked fish in a sauce of peppers, tomatoes, and spices including cumin and paprika topped with coriander.
14 Cholent / Hamin
Cholent is a Jewish stew of beef, beans, vegetables, potatoes, and barley simmered overnight for 12 hours. The outcome is a delicious and hearty dish which is perfect for a winter’s evening. Hamin is a Sephardic Jewish variation of Cholent where barley and beans are replaced with rice, and beef is replaced with chicken.
Sabich is another popular street food other than falafel and shwarma. It was brought by Iraqi-Jewish immigrants in the 1950’s. It is served in a pita consisting of hard-boiled eggs, fried eggplants, tahini sauce, hummus, Israeli pickles, and salads. There is another variation available which replaces the hummus with feta and goat cheese which gives equally delicious flavor.
Knafeh is a Palestinian dessert which is common all over Israel. It is a cheesy and sweet pastry made with unripened cheese that is baked in shredded phyllo dough before it is soaked in sugar syrup. It is then flavoured with rose water or orange and pistachios.
Jachnun is a Jewish dish hailing from Yemen which is traditionally eaten on Shabbat mornings. It is prepared using dough which is rolled and baked overnight. The final product is an amber colored pastry which is sweet in taste. Jachnun is a must try when it is served with tomato dip, and boiled eggs.
Many countries sell shawarma according to their style but none of them will be tasty as compared to the Israeli version. It is served in a laffa (a giant wrap) or a pita. The meat used is chicken or turkey cooked on a rotating skewer, accompanied with tehina (sesame seed dip), hummus, pickles, cabbage, Israeli salad, and more. You can make a spicy and tangy version of Shawarma by adding amba, a spicy mango-based sauce originating from Iraq.
Kubba is a dish made from rice or semolina, ground beef or chicken, and minced onions. It was brought by Iraqi Jews to Israel. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped croquette stuffed with minced chicken.
Hamusim are pickled vegetables which are soaked in salt and water (sometimes in olive oil) in a pot. The vegetables are cucumber, carrot, eggplant, radish, turnip, lemon, cauliflower, chili pepper, garlic, and beans.