April 15, 2024
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Savory Hamantashen Can Liven up Your Purim Seudah

Hamantashen have evolved from its earliest incarnation as a sweet pastry with mohn (poppy) or lekvar (fruit puree) filling. Today’s hamantaschen fillings can be savory or sweet and take flavor inspiration from almost anywhere.

Hamantashen is a triumph of linguistics translated into food. In Hebrew, oznei Haman, as the pastry is called, is literally translated as “Haman’s ears,” according to Chabad.org. The Yiddish “tash” means pockets and “haman” can either refer to Haman or mohn, poppy seeds. The combination results in hamantashen—poppy seed pockets. The shape comes from a reference to Haman wearing a three-cornered hat. The only common denominator for all things hamantashen is a triangular shape with some or all of the filling peeking through, as opposed to a boureka, a triangular pastry in which the filling is completely encased.

Sweet hamantashen are found in many mishloach manot packages, and while they are beloved, seeing the same flavors over and over might get tiresome by the end of the day. So why not let savory hamantashen claim a spot at the Purim seudah, reviving jaded hamantashen palates?

I tested a few different kinds of savory hamantashen for this article. I saved some time by using pizza dough circles, purchased frozen and then defrosted. If you use this method, try to fill and shape when the dough is only partially defrosted for easier handling.

Sushi Salad Hamantashen!

Sushi has long replaced gefilte fish in my home to start Shabbos meals, and for a crowd I make sushi salad, adapted from a recipe by Estee Kafra in Mishpacha Magazine. I made sushi salad hamantashen last Shabbos, inspired by a blog on the Chabad website, where I learned that sushi triangles are also a street food in Japan called Onigiri, meaning “rice ball.” Who knew! My testers loved the novel presentation.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

Filling:

Rice:

Dressing:

Directions:

Put rice in strainer and run under water for a minute or two to remove excess starch. Bring water and rice to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, uncovered. Then let simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid and let stand for 5 minutes. While the rice is standing, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and briskly until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Fold the solution into the cooked rice with a rubber spatula. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to stand for another 5 minutes. Combine all the ingredients for the salad and mix into rice. Cut long strips of seaweed, about an inch wide. With WET hands (to keep the rice from sticking), make a small ball of rice. Put the ball on a hard surface and surround with a seaweed strip. Shape into a triangle. The seaweed will adhere to the sticky rice. Gently clip the seaweed at the point of your triangle. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with a little dressing or serve with spicy mayo.

Taco Hamantashen

For approximately 4-6 servings

I love tacos but find them messy to eat. This presentation, adapted from www.kosherinthekitch.com, is much neater.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Sauté onions until translucent and add ground beef. Stir until the beef is no longer pink, then add a packet of taco or fajita seasoning and stir to blend. When cooked through, add taco sauce. This adds flavoring and binds the filling. Put a small amount on the pizza dough circles. Fold up, brush with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve with salsa and guacamole. You could also make a dairy nacho version by using soy crumbles and topping with a cheese sauce.

Onion Tartlet Hamantashen

Recipe by Elizabeth Kratz

Sautéed onions and mushrooms find their way into many of my dishes. This recipe calls for roasting onions, mushrooms and garlic until caramelized. The result is a little chewier and good for the small shape of the hamantashen. Watch the veggies in your oven carefully—there is a small window between caramelized and burnt.

Ingredients:

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sliced onions, mushrooms and garlic with salt, pepper and several tablespoons of olive oil and arrange on two oiled roasting pans. Roast veggies for 25-40 minutes until they are deeply browned and caramelized. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Allow to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Place one to three teaspoons of the roasted veggies in the center of each pizza round. Bring up corners to make hamantashen. Seal corners with water and brush with egg wash or olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until dough is cooked.

Yield: 18 hamantashen

Note: I didn’t use cremini mushrooms. Still delicious.

By Bracha Schwartz

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