Tzimmes is one of those staple Ashkenazi holiday dishes — generally made with carrots stewed with honey and raisins. The dish is sweet as are many Rosh Hashanah dishes, and the carrots are diced into rings, making this one of many round foods customarily served for the holiday.
But in Israel, this cultural and culinary melting pot where we live, what more fitting way to make it than to spice it up like a Moroccan carrot salad? It’s the same stewed carrots but from a different continent, spicy from paprika, cumin and fresh herbs.
This Middle Eastern interpretation of tzimmes is all gain and no loss. Middle Eastern food dominates in Israel. Sweet and piquent, this spiced carrot salad is much more at home here than the regular Eastern European version.
Did I mention it’s pretty easy, too? Plus, my son ate it (OK, he eats most everything, but still). A brilliant red, it was quite the star on our Rosh Hashanah table all through the four-day holiday.
The oily paprika sauce was also quite the star on our white holiday tablecloth and cloth napkins. Now, it wouldn’t be fair for me to write about this recipe without also telling you how to manage the cleanup, especially since the information I found online is so lacking.
After the holiday, I let the linens sit overnight with oxygen-based stain remover (non-chlorine bleach) on the spots, followed by a wash at 90 degrees Celsius. That made them cleaner, but the spots were still there. This is what did the trick — hanging them in direct sun to dry. All those ultraviolet rays banished the stains from our napkins within a few hours and from the thicker tablecloth within two days. Liz: 1, Paprika: 0.
Since the sun does indeed bleach fabric, you need to be careful when doing this with colors, but this method works quite well on whites and off whites.
So there you go — you can serve this lovely, vibrant dish with no fear for your fine linens. Happy new year to all.
For 4-6 servings:
5 large carrots
2 red peppers
oil for frying
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons currants (small raisins)
1/2 cup water
A handful of chopped parsley
Chop the carrots into discs, and cut the onion and peppers into strips. Put a large pan on medium heat, add some oil and then add the vegetables. Stir as the vegetables begin to soften so that nothing sticks.
Add the paprika, honey, salt, cumin, currants and water, and stir to integrate. Cover the pot and let simmer on a low flame until all the vegetables are soft. Be careful — if they get too soft and you stir them too aggressively, they could mush. Then, remove the lid so that excess water can boil off. Shut the flame when the sauce is moderately thick and not watery.
Before serving, mix in a handful of chopped parsley. Add some more on top to make the dish attractive.
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