A Break Fast Meal from Yemen
Shared by Rinat Tzadok
Recipe Roots: Yemen > Hadera, Israel > Tel Aviv, Israel
Rinat Tzadok’s father, Shlomo, doesn’t have a birthday. He was born during his parents’ trek from Yemen to Israel in 1949, while they were on their way to making aliyah. From her mother, Rinat inherited rich Moroccan culinary heritage, and from her father’s side, traditional Yemenite foods. She has especially fond memories of her grandmother Miriam, the second wife of Rinat’s grandfather, who had a “magic little shed” in her yard where she made everything by hand. Miriam would cook stews over kerosene burners, make schug (Yemenite hot sauce) from green and red hot peppers that she grew, slaughter chickens, and use every part in flavorful soup and offal-based Jerusalem mixed grill. Miriam ground her own flour and used it to bake pita and kubaneh, the overnight pull-apart Sabbath bread slicked in butter. “My dad used to go to the synagogue every Saturday morning, and I used to wake up and follow him,” Rinat recalls. “I waited for the service to end because that’s when grandma served her signature spread: fresh kubaneh, grated tomatoes, schug, bean stew, white coffee and sweet black coffee with hawaij.”
Miriam also made samna, a Yemenite condiment of smoked clarified butter that she infused with burning twigs and leaves. A little goes a long way—it’s provides the signature campfire flavor to a dish called zom, a warm Yemenite yogurt soup, which Rinat’s family ate every Yom Kippur. “My mom put challah in the oven until it was crispy and we’d eat the zom with samnah, schug and challah,” says Rinat. “It’s comforting, it’s hot, and it’s nice after you haven’t eaten for two days.” In Israel, Rinat’s mother makes zom by mixing 9% and 5% soft white cheeses. In the US, Rinat recommends mixing sour cream, yogurt and water. “I still eat it every year,” says Rinat. “After 38 years this is the dish we eat after Yom Kippur.”
Zom (Warm Yemenite Yogurt Soup)
Total Time: 20 minutes
1½ cups whole greek yogurt
1½ cups sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. In a small sauce, stir together the yogurt and sour cream over medium heat. Let heat through for about 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then slowly stream in the water until combined without any lumps.
3. Stir the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture and cook until thickened (should resemble a raita in consistency), 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon, then adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve warm with kubaneh or challah.