Hanukkah Face-Off: Ashkenazi Dish #2


Hanukkah is a time for enjoying Jewish culinary traditions with family and friends, and to that end we present a daily competition between Ashkenazi and Sephardic food, going up around sunset on the first seven days of Hanukkah – and presenting a wrap-up as the sun goes down on the eighth day. Whose food is the most appealing? Help us decide with your comments and social media shares.

I have a theory about Jewish doctors.

It’s possible that they are so prevalent in the profession because, as children, they were served matzo ball soup and told it was “Jewish Penicilin.” Bellies warm and throats soothed, a culture of healers emerged, scribbling schmaltz on their prescription pads.

Regardless of whether or not there is any truth to this argument, matzo ball soup continues to reign as the first course supreme, both on Passover tables (where it is a traditional component of the meal) and throughout the year. The base for most variations of this dish consists of chicken broth, 2-3 matzo balls, and a few sliced carrots, minced dill, or parsley, if you’re a big macher in the kitchen. Matzo ball recipes and consistencies, however, can vary considerably from floating, fluffy balloons to sinking, dense blobs.

This version comes from Veselka, in the East Village, and is brimming with shredded chicken and vegetables. Often served at the restaurant with a side of challah bread, the addition may not be parve, but it’s perfect for sopping up extra broth.