Waitrose and Partners Weekend Issue 579

25 NOVEMB ER 2021 36 FOOD&DRINK Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins this year at sundown on Sunday 28 November, and lasts eight days. It celebrates when, more than 2,000 years ago, a group of Jews called the Maccabees rebelled against their oppressor (Syrian-Greek King Antiochus), recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated their desecrated temple. Part of that ritual was lighting the menorah (candelabra) with consecrated olive oil. However, they could only find one cruse (vessel) that still had the rabbinical seal – which was enough oil for just one day. They lit it and it stayed alight for eight days, which enabled them to cleanse the temple. The miracle of the oil is symbolised in Jewish homes by the lighting of eight candles on a nine-branched menorah, one on each night of the festival. The ninth candle in the middle serves to light the eight others. When I was a girl in Egypt, we used wicks floating in oil in little glass cups. In the kitchen, Hanukkah is celebrated by deep-frying in oil. Different communities fry different foods. Ashkenazi Jews fry latkes (grated potato fritters). In Israel they make jam-filled doughnuts called sufganiyot. In Egypt, we ate zalabia, fritters soaked in sugar syrup. A less common custom practised since the Middle Ages is to eat dairy foods as a tribute to Judith. She saved her besieged city, Bethulia in Judea, from the Assyrian general Holofernes, who was about to destroy it. According to the story, he was in love with her and one night, she served him a very salty cheese which meant he drank a lot of wine. When he fell into a drunken stupor, she cut off his head. To commemorate Judith’s action, Ashkenazi Jews eat foods such as cheese blintzes and cheesecake, while Sephardi Jews eat bemuelos (cheese fritters). Two of the recipes here are traditional in Italy and France, the other is a delicious Turkish yogurt cake in honour of Judith. Celebrating Hanukkah with Claudia Roden Claudia is one of Britain’s most-loved food writers. These recipes are adapted fromThe Book of Jewish Food and her newest title, Med: ACookbook Fried chicken Serves 4 Prepare 15 minutes + marinating Cook 25 minutes 4 chicken breasts or thigh ällets (about 750g) 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 lemons, juice of 2, 1 cut into wedges 4 small cloves garlic, crushed 2 x 25g packs åat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped 120g plain åour 2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Eggs, beaten 160g dried breadcrumbs About 500ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying 1 Cut the chicken into about 24 pieces. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Season, add the chicken and toss together. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour to marinate. 2 Put the åour, eggs and This Tuscan way of deep-frying small pieces of chicken, pollo fritto, has become a Hanukkah speciality in Italy. I once tried a version in a light flour, egg and water batter. It was lovely, but I preferred this method with breadcrumbs, like a schnitzel, because it is crunchier. You can cook the pieces in advance and heat them through in the oven when you are ready to eat breadcrumbs into 3 separate shallow dishes. Lightly season the åour and eggs. Roll the chicken pieces in the åour ärst, then in the beaten egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs, coating them well. 3 Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat until it reaches 180ºC on a thermometer (or a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds). Deep fry, in small batches, for 4-6 minutes, turning the pieces over once, until golden brown and crisp, the chicken is cooked through, there is no pink meat and the juices run clear. Keep an eye on the oil temperature – if it is too hot the coating will burn before the chicken is done. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and serve with the lemon wedges. Per serving 1377kJ/329kcals/16g fat/2.2g saturated fat/26g carbs/1.3g sugars/1.3g äbre/19g protein/0.4g salt