Hannukah: The Festival of Light follows scholar, entertainer and host of the Brand New ONE’s Hannukah: The Festival of Light, along with the increasing popularization of many practices that accompany the eight-night celebration.
Perhaps one of its most widely-embraced elements, Audi finds, is the distinctive menu of delicious, and often oily foods served throughout Hanukkah. As he shows us as part of the in-depth documentary, the potato latke is a perennial fixture in holiday spreads – but it’s far from the only item that’s both linked to the festival, and undeniably tasty. With a range of traditional fare that’s both satisfying (especially on a cold, wintry night), and tempting, the widespread appeal of many Hannukah dishes should come as no surprise.
With the first night of Hannukah on Nov. 27 in mind, we’ve compiled a handful of similarly mouthwatering foods generally featured on tables over its eight nights. From the instantly recognizable latke, to sweet treats like rugelach and sufganiyots, take some time to look through – and try – some of the foods that have come to be associated with this beloved and uplifting holiday. And, for a bit of hands-on instruction, watch our clip from Hannukah: The Festival of Light, as Montreal-based Chef Gigi Cohen teaches Audi a fool-proof way to make flawless latkes.
Click on the names of the dishes below for links to recipes.
This standby is perhaps the most commonly known, and frequently appropriated, food from the standard Hannukah menu. Fried in olive oil until crispy, these pancakes pair perfectly with anything from applesauce to gravlax, so it’s no wonder they’re a favourite for many year-round. This no-frills take from EverythingZoomer.com is a great jumping-off point, but experimenting with different vegetables and consistencies will make the not-so-humble latke a staple you can return to time and again.
In keeping with Hannukah’s most prominent culinary theme, these remarkably soft and fluffy doughnuts are deep-fried in oil until golden-brown. Like most fried desserts, they’re best served warm, if possible, can be pumped up with whatever fruit jams you prefer (or have on hand), and look great when dusted with a light coat of sugar.
Not to be mistaken for their celebrity cousin, the bagel, bialys are soft and chewy yeast rolls that got their start in Poland. Instead of a hole, bialys have a depression, usually filled with a combination of onions, garlic and seeds. Despite making a successful trans-Atlantic jump to the bakeries of New York and beyond, the bialy remains lesser known than most other buns, but is just as delicious – especially when made from scratch at home.
Nothing makes for a better wintertime centrepiece than an artfully prepared and patiently braised brisket. This recipe calls for a flat-cut or first-cut brisket, complete with a layer of fat that’s at least 1/8 inch thick, and to guarantee the best flavour, make sure to budget enough time to make the dish at least a day (or two) before you intend to serve it.
Although these crescent shaped pastries are available all year round at bakeries and coffee shops, they’re also a well-loved treat during Hannukah. One of the best things about rugelach, though, is their versatility. Fillings to pair with the rich dough can include raisin, walnuts, chocolate, dates, cinnamon, fruit preserves, and even marzipan, making this a recipe that’s easy and fun to tailor to any sweet-tooth’s tastes.
Hannukah: The Festival of Light airs again on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 2pm ET and 11am PT.
– Kate Shepherd