Chulent is one of the most Jewish dishes in existence, and as wonderfully varied as the Jewish people itself. Every ethnicity has their version, some are sweet, some are spicy, some are both. Some are cooked all together in one pot and others have elements kept separate.
All have the flavor and traditions of the Jewish people in the Diaspora as well as those who never left the homeland.
Also called chamin or dafina, it was with us wherever we were, from Morocco to Tunisia to Poland to Yemen.
Created as a way to eat warm foods while still keeping Shabbat, it speaks of home, it speaks of tradition…it speaks of connection.
To one another and to our past.
Waking up Shabbat morning to its aroma, taking those first steaming bites. What is more comforting? What speaks more of family?
In my house we have a “chulent that’s not a chulent,” made with whole grain rice, dark meat chicken, chickpeas and crushed tomatoes. Stolen from Persian recipes and adjusted to our taste, it’s made for those who prefer something lighter. And while it has no meat, potatoes or barley, in our home it’s still considered chulent.
Just tell me: why does everyone love chulent from Thursday night to Shabbat day, yet no one will eat the leftovers?