“Shukgasim” & What’s For Dinner Tonight!
Whenever I go to Israel, one of my favorite spots to hang out is the Shuk (open market place) on Rechov Aggripas in Machane Yehuda.
I don’t know if it is the pulsing energy of all the people stuffed together like sardines going up and down the aisles, or the excitement of the vendors cries urging people to look at their wares, or if it is the simple exploding colors of all the fruits, vegetables, nuts, & spices openly displayed, that makes every nerve in my body tingle with excitement.
Erev Sukkot in the Shuk
Look how incredible the fruit is – I have never seen such large pomegranates or Mangos in my life!
It became an addiction while I was there – I would eat 2 seeded pomegranates in ziplock bags,as snack with Tunie, as we walked up and down the streets of Jerusalem. My hands were permanently dyed for weeks!
Many years ago I was trying to explain the feeling to a friend and she dubbed it the perfect descriptive word –my “shukgasim” ! (for those of you who are shocked and offended – emails to Effie please )
From the moment you turn the corner and enter that open market place, your eyes are invited to feast on the beautiful vibrant colors and old world picturesque scene that is the shuk.
My Favorite spice company in the shuk is Rozman spices – not available here in the US – But we do get Pereg (whose roots are in this shuk) stateside, which is a good alternative. But I always come home with 2 lb bags of cumin, curry, zatar, and other spice goodies –just be careful when bringing back – I tend to get stopped at customs if not labeled and packaged right!
Just look at the display of food being offered – it is mind blowing & sooo enticing!
Instantly you are thrown back to how people lived and shopped for food 100 +years ago. Sure the Shuk has been significantly upgraded in the last 10 years, fancy refrigerators, gourmet food kiosks, & boutique shops, especially now that the rail train has finally finished and is running full time. But all in all, the Shuk has still got that “old world” quality feeling and most of your vendors have been there for many many years, many third and fourth generation sellers.
Just some of the stores and sites you will see – everything from just kippahs – to new fancier hand made jewlery boutiques and slick “healthy” food kiosks – like this new Israeli phenomenon –ReBar (a healthy frozen yogurt.shake fro yo type place) a new food rage in Israel.
I have heard many people recommend going to the shuk on off hours, but not me. For me, the whole fun & excitement of the shuk is when it is at its busiest. Thursday nights, Friday afternoons or pre-holiday! But if you are afraid of large crushing crowds and hate loud noise, then Monday afternoon is always a great quieter time to visit.
These olives were AWESOME – so many flavor combinations – I consumed pounds of this lemon parsley green olive mixture & the the black olive chili pepper combo.
However my favorite thing at the shuk that I discovered was this AMAZING DELICOUS FOOD KIOSK called FishnCHIPS!
I happened along it that first visit I made Erev Sukkot and saw the tremendous crowd that was standing in line. I figured there must be something about this place that garners such a long line. So me & Tunie B. stood patiently waiting for our turn to order the classic fish and chips mixed basket.
the classic fish n chips basket & the mixed fish n chips basket (different fish coatings) – using a classic beer batter & the freshest of cod fish& the crispiest home made potato fries – Mario created the quintessential Fishnchips basket
all served with 4 dips – curry mayo, classic tarter, mustard chili tarter, & ketcup
As I was watching the people make their orders and munch away on their food, I could not help but notice how much they were all enjoying it. The food concept at this kiosk is brilliant – there is about 7 things on the menu – all fried fish related served up with some amazing dips and dressing, and washed down with the perfectly pulled mug of cold beer brew. ( can you say yum yum yum).
My go-to meal – The most delicious fried panco salad with a soy sweet chili vinegrette
Mario working his Fishnchips magic. Tunie B. & Me on our last licks 10pm visit before we left Israel.
After that first meal, I made it a routine almost every day, having either lunch, dinner or late night snack at this food dive. I dragged my sister in law, a few friends and had spread the word endlessly about their awesome panko salad & fish n chips basket . Finally I went up to the owner – Avroham Aochana and said I gotta get the scoop about this place. So he told me..
It seems that his Father , Chaim owns the Fresh Fish Kiosk just 3 doors down in the shuk for the last 20 years. Avrohom and his brother Shlomie decided that it was time to open up a good fish & chips shop where the fish is SUPER FRESH and the taste is simple and classic.
They hired Mario, a Chilean born Israeli citizen who worked in the food business in the US for over 10 years, to develop their simple yet delicious menu- and FishnChips was born. Open for a year now to huge success, the brothers are enjoying the overwhelming favorable response to their idea and have plans in the near future to franchise the idea all over Israel.
So What’s for Dinner Tonight?
Missing the food in Israel terribly – I decided that I was going to try and recreate this basket for tonight’s dinner. Here is my attempt in recreating this delicious beer batter! – A must try –forget the calories dinner tonight!
BEER BATTERD FRIED FISH
- 2 lbs fresh cod, cut into long bite pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, to dredge
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 (12 ounce) cans cold fresh beer (fav. brand)
- oil (for frying)
- Sift together flour, salt, garlic powder, curry, parsley and paprika.
- Stir in enough beer to make batter so it is barely thick enough to coat a spoon. Usually somewhere between one and two cans.
- (It may look too thin, but you may want it that way, if it’s too thick, the batter will be chewy instead of light and crunchy) Set batter aside while you heat your deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 375 degrees. Use a candy thermometer if you need to.
- Peanut oil is best but any vegetable oil will do.
- Cut the cod fillets diagonally into 2 inch wide strips, and remove any pin bones from fish.
- Lightly coat fish in flour and shake off excess. This will allow batter to stick to fish.
- When oil is heated, dip fish in batter, let excess drip off, then fry fillets 2 or 3 at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with fries and tartar sauce.