As varied as the local cultures of the Jews who brought their national dishes to Israel in the Middle East, Israeli cuisine is rich and diverse. Arab influences in Israeli cuisine include rice dishes, grilled meats, stuffed vegetables, pita breads, and salads, while European influences include chicken soup, schnitzel and chopped liver, gefilte fish, and kugel.See Popular Israeli Cuisine Recipes
Before opening Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia, chef Michael Solomonov visited hummus parlors all over Israel trying to find the best recipe. "Hummus is the hardest thing to get right," he says. "It has to be rich, creamy and mildly nutty." To make his hummus luxuriously smooth, he soaks the chickpeas overnight with baking soda to soften them. While Americans now flavor hummus with everything from pureed red peppers to fresh herbs, Solomonov says among the fanciest garnishes you can find in Israel are whole chickpeas, paprika, and lemon-spiked tahini, used for hummus masabacha.
During Hanukkah in some Israeli communities, vendors sell these filled buns, known as sufganyot, by the basketful.
If you like the deep-fried chickpea patties in Mediterranean restaurants, you'll love this lighter version. Pair them with a crisp, slightly fruity rose or white wine to complement the dried spices in the mix. Serve with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and warmed pita rounds.
This classic Greek dessert is renowned for its layers of paper-thin phyllo and cinnamon-walnut filling all drenched with a honey syrup.