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), the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization that operates 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!

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

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 un*ndash;greased 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 Siberia:
      Baked Apples with Cedar Nuts in Honey

      Recipe courtesy Inna Vanetik, aged 73,who is a volunteer in JDC’s Krasnoyarsk Hesed (community center).


      • 5—6 apples
      • 2 cups of cedar nuts (or pine nuts)
      • 4 teaspoons sugar
      • 5 teaspoons of sweet liqueur
      • 2 cups of butter
      • 1 ¼ cups of honey
      • ½ glass of red wine
      • and cinnamon
      • Preparation:

        • Heat the oven at 325 degrees.
        • Extract the apple core of each apple and place apples on a well-buttered cookie-sheet.
        • Mix cedar nuts (or pine nuts) with sugar and liqueur and put this mixture inside each apple.
        • Pour cinnamon and put a piece of butter on top of each apple.
        • Mix honey with wine and pour this sauce on the stuffed apples.
        • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
        • Serve with ice cream.
        • 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


          • 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.
            • Sautãe 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:


              • 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.
                • 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.

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