It may not be your Bubbe’s brisket, but leek frittatas from Turkey and cornflour-coconut halava from India are the very dishes that will make your Rosh Hashanah meal unforgettable. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), operating in more than 70 countries around the globe, has collected from some of the most exotic locales in Jewish life a menu of decadent recipes for the Jewish New Year.

Hailing from Jewish families the world over, these recipes will not just dazzle your senses, they will connect you to traditions and tastes thousands of years old. And, as with all Jewish cooking, some of the recipes play fast and loose with ingredient amounts and cooking time, so channel your inner Joan Nathan, and get cooking! Bon Appetit!

More JDC recipes—from Argentina to Tunisia—can be found at:

From Turkey:
Fritada de Prasa (Leek Frittata)

Recipe courtesy of Lina Eskinazi, Naãkhet Franco, Ester Antebi, Jinet Sidi-ndash;Sarfati, Sara Enriquez, and Ora Gãrkan, authors of” Izmir Sephardic Cuisine” (soon to be published in English).


  • 2 pounds of leeks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of thick, stale bread, crumbled (or 2 boiled and mashed potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • and black pepper.
  • Generally frittatas are made without cheese. If desired, 1 cup of grated tulum cheese can be added. Tulum is a regional cheese and if not available, you can use feta.


    • Wash leeks and cut into small pieces and boil in water for 10 minutes until tender.
    • Drain and squeeze out excess water.
    • Beat the eggs. Mix them with leeks and breadcrumbs (or mashed potatoes).
    • Heat oil in a 12 inch pan.
    • Pour the mixture and sprinkle over breadcrumbs.
    • Bake in preheated oven at about 390 degrees for 40 minutes.
    • From India:
      Cornflour-Coconut Halava

      (a specialty of the Bene Israel community) Recipe courtesy of Rosy Solomon Moses of Mumbai, India.,


      • 2 ¼ cups of cornstarch (in India, use corn flour)
      • a drop or two of pink, orange or red food coloring
      • 2 cups of sugar
      • 4 tablespoons of chopped almonds & pistachios
      • 1 medium-sized coconut (or 1 can of thick coconut milk)
      • 1 tablespoon of margarine
      • and ½ teaspoon of cardamom and nutmeg.
      • Preparation:

        • Scrape coconut, grind in the mixer and extract coconut milk with warm water to measure 2 quarts.
        • Sieve cornstarch and add to the coconut milk with sugar, a good pinch of salt and color.
        • Mix well and pour into a stove-top pan and cook on flame, stirring all the time to prevent sticking. Stir for about 30 minutes.
        • Pour a little in a plate, and if it comes out without sticking to the plate, add the margarine, half the nuts, cardamom and nutmeg powder.
        • Mix well and pour onto 2 ungreased trays, 8” x 10”. Tilt to spread evenly.
        • Sprinkle remaining nuts.
        • Cool and cut into squares or diamonds.
        • Keep overnight in the fridge if not consumed the same day.
        • Optional: You may want to add 1 packet of agar agar (a gelatin agent) in a ½ cup of warm water, cook for 5 minutes more, before adding the margarine and nuts, for firmness and better taste of halava.

          From Israel:
          Lentil Spread and Dabo (Ethiopian Bread)

          Recipes courtesy of Ayala Yasu, an Ethiopian-Israeli, who in 1984 flew to Israel with Operation Moses.

          Lentil Spread Ingredients:

          • 2 cups red lentils
          • 3 tablespoons oil
          • 2 medium onions, diced into cubes
          • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
          • 1 cup boiling water
          • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
          • 1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
          • 1 tablespoon chicken soup
          • Salt to taste
          • Turmeric to taste (optional)
          • Preparation:

            • Cook the lentils until soft.
            • Sautaè onions and garlic in oil in a separate pan until soft.
            • Add hot and sweet paprika and water; simmer on low flame for five minutes
            • Add cooked lentils and chicken soup. Add salt and turmeric to taste.
            • Dabo: Ingredients:

              • 2 ¼ pounds of flour
              • 2 tablespoons yeast
              • ½ teaspoon salt
              • 3 ½ cups lukewarm water.
              • Preparation:

                • Combine all ingredients and allow dough to rise about 1 ½ hours.
                • Place dough in a large pan and bake until golden.
                • Note that Dabo can also be “baked” in a large pot over a very low flame. Once the dough appears dry, remove it from the pan, and cook on the other side until golden.

                About JDC

                JDC — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee or “The Joint” — is the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. We rescue Jews in danger, provide aid to vulnerable Jews, develop innovative solutions to Israel’s most complex social challenges, cultivate a Jewish future, and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises. For over 100 years, our work has put the timeless Jewish value of mutual responsibility into action, making JDC essential to the survival of millions of people and the advancement of Jewish life across the globe.

                For more information, please visit