Hanukkah Face-Off: Sephardic Dish #2


Aash rechte is a hearty winter soup of the Persian Jews

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.

The Persian Jewish community dates to Biblical times, and the holiday of Purim commemorates how, as recounted in the Book of Esther, King Ahasueras and his Jewish Queen Esther foiled a plot by Haman to murder all the Jews.

Persian-Jewish food is often vegetarian, or features vegetables, pulses, and pastas flavored with minimal amounts of meat. It also makes lavish use of herbs, which are used in soups and salads.

Aach Rechte is a potage usually eaten in winter when snow is on the ground. It contains multiple beans, strands of homemade pasta, and herbs that include parsley, coriander, and dill, along with spinach. The version shown above is currently available in the Union Square Holiday Market at a stall called Taste of Persia that specializes in it. Fried shallots, chopped herbs, and reconstituted dried yogurt are used to finish this delicious and filling soup.