The Remix: Stuffed Peppers, Shuk Style
Give the traditional stuffed peppers a streetwise spin in your sukkah. Amy Kritzer/JW
Fill Sukkot’s traditional dish with intricately spiced shawarma.
This is the next installment in our series The Remix, in which we seek to gently rework the more challenging dishes in the Jewish culinary canon. With a little bit of love, we’re convinced we can make any dish delicious, even ones that seem a bit bizarre to the modern palate.
Sukkot is the holiday that lets home cooks have a little fun. It doesn’t have mandated foods like the Chanukah latke, or the hamentaschen of Purim. The most widely known tradition — stuffed foods, for a year stuffed with good things — is a broad category, perfect for playing with. You can get as traditional or as funky as you like. We say yes to both. I’ve taken the classic stuffed peppers and, inspired by a recent trip to Israel, remixed the dish with a street food spin.
There, I was lucky enough to connect with the local foodie community and got an insider tour of the famous Jerusalem shuk, or market. I sampled tahini, halva, gooey rugelach and a lunch of some of the best hummus I’ve ever had.
Just when I didn’t think I could take another bite, we passed a crowd of locals on a side street. We got closer, and realized they were in a kind of queue, more like a scrum, for a shwarma cart. At only five shekels, I suddenly had room for a few more bites. I pushed my way to the front, and, thanks to my friend’s Hebrew, I was able to secure a stuffed pita in no time. Before me stretched seemingly endless spread of toppings, and I chose them all. Red cabbage? Yes. Pickles? Sure. Tahini? Definitely. The pita was hot and fresh from the oven. The spice on the chicken was complex; the meat was impossibly tender. I topped it with cooling Israeli salad and plenty of hot sauce. I didn’t need dinner that night.
These stuffed peppers have all the flavors of that delicious shwarma, but can be made at home. You may want to double the chicken recipe and save some for sandwiches.
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, Texas. She blogs at What Jew Wanna Eat.