World Bread Series: Tunisia Meets Israel

The second contribution in our world bread series comes from Huppit, a food blogger with roots in Tunisia and Israel. Enjoy!

My name is Huppit, I’m an Israeli-American, Jewish mother of three and the food blogger of Afooda. I have a HUGE passion for food and tradition. My love for food and cooking started as a young child in my Savta’s (grandmother) kitchen, which was mostly identified with Tunisian cuisine, but was also influenced and infused by French and other Mediterranean cuisines. My family migrated from Tunisia to Israel and as children we were constantly surrounded by all the goodness of Tunisian dishes and its generous hospitality. There is nothing more inviting than a Tunisian table with its endless spread of amazing dishes. At a young age, I noticed that food has this magical power of bringing our family together and since then, all I wanted was to keep that magic in my life.

Today, food gives me an opportunity to be creative, and also to carry on with my family tradition and culture; it offers endless ideas and learning experiences as well as teaching opportunities and some real meaningful life moments. I take every opportunity to ask my children to join me in the kitchen – it is where I spend a lot of time doing what I love to do and I love making them part of it. My favorite part is when I give them little tasks that I use to do myself as a child in my Savta’s (grandmother) kitchen. These bonding moments and happy memories are just priceless; they live forever in my heart.

I was thrilled when Fran of Little Zurich Kitchen turned to me to share some of my Jewish-Tunisian memories of bread! What a wonderful initiative to use this very basic food such as bread to highlight our uniqueness and bring us a little closer. I would probably label bread as one of humans’ basic needs: there is something so rudimentary about bread, yet it is so comforting. In its humble way and wherever we are, bread is able to take us home. Choosing one ultimate recipe to represent my background seems like an impossible mission; being my Jewish-Tunisian self, who grew up in Israel and currently lives in the United States, my mind was pulling in many different directions. However, after some thought, I did manage to find two wonderful breads that can be a delicious and decent representation.

Fricassee – The Ultimate Tunisian Roll. One of the ways to truly understand what Tunisian flavors are all about is to give a HUGE bite into a great Tunisian Fricassee roll. These traditional Tunisian rolls are made out of yeast dough and if you don’t think this is comforting enough, they are also deep-fried!!! Fricassees are usually stuffed with tuna, olives, Harissa, preserved lemons, hard-boiled egg and potatoes… In other words a combo of flavors that is pure Tunisian goodness. All these Tunisian flavors that come together in a super satisfying roll balance each other in such a yummy way and made Fricassees very popular in Israel. With such amazing flavors it was unavoidable and from the homes of many Tunisian families, Fricassee made its way and have become part of mainstream Israeli cuisine. I remember when one Tunisian family at my hometown opened a small shop downtown; in there they serve Tunisian sandwiches and Fricassees. It was that stop you just couldn’t miss each and every time you were downtown. The shop is still there at the same spot and every time I come for a visit my Aba (dad) and I make sure to stop and have a little Tunisian moment together (see photo). As a child, I have many memories eating Fricassee with my family. Whether we made it at home or got it at the small Tunisian shop, these yummy memories are always with me and every so often that perfect combination of Tunisian flavors comes back and haunt me in my cravings. 🙂 Nowadays, I make sure to make Fricassee at home for my family. I am happy to report that my husband and children are all Fricassee Fanatics! 🙂 You can find my Fricassee recipe here.

Olive and Tabil Challah – an old tradition gets a Tunisian flair. Homemade Challah on Fridays is one of the most loved traditions in our home. Challah is the Jewish Traditional braided bread that is used to celebrate Shabbat – the day of rest. Challah is on our table every Friday evening and it has its very special blessing that my kids love reciting all on their own. There are countless challah recipes out there and many families have their very own special recipe that makes their Shabbat unique. When I came up with our family recipe, I wanted to highlight our roots and give our Challah some Tunisian flavors. I use “Tabil” – a homemade Tunisian dry spice mix that has a unique aroma and taste and I also use olives to complete the flavor experience. The result of this original idea is a flavorful challah with some serious Tunisian flair. I guess sometimes even a great tradition can use a little pizzazz… You can find my olives and Tabil Challah recipe here.

Photos source: Huppit/afooda.com

2 Comment

  1. Huppit says: Reply

    What a wonderful and heart-warming initiative Fran! I wanted to thank you for letting me take part in this and share my “bread thoughts”. I’m so happy you found me and I found your blog… 🙂 I’m excited to read and learn more about Swiss Cuisine and culture!

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      I‘m so happy too that I found you! I have a few of your recipes on my to do list already and yes, I‘m so happy too to be able to bring food bloggers of all religions and many cultures together to show the world that there‘s so much more that connects than separates us human beings ❤️

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