My niece and nephew and I divide all of the Jewish holiday celebration dinners and since most holidays are over multiple days, this makes hosting more manageable, especially since we all live in apartments with limited space. For Rosh HaShana I agreed to host the first night and my niece and nephew did the second night. They wanted to make brisket (which was wonderful) and so I happily decided on lamb for my dinner. In keeping with my love of most things Indian, I decided to make lamb biryani as a main course along with a delicious lentil dal. Jews were living in India since at least the 12th century as reported by a Spanish traveler, Benjamin Tudela. The Jews he came across were in Cochin, and were one of three Jewish groups living in that southwest city on the Arabian Sea. Known as “Black” Jews, they lived in a joint family system, much like conservative Hindu families, that was seen as a way to protect the very young and very old. For more on Cochin Jews check out this article in Wikipedia or on My Jewish Learning.
Koli Soup was often made for Shabbat and while not spicy hot or particularly exotic looking, it is quite aromatic and seasoned in a way that is surprising to Western tastes. My sister, who professes to not like Indian or spicy food, nevertheless loved this soup.
Aromatic Chicken and Vegetable Soup (Koli) from Sephardic Cooking by Copeland Marks and tweaked by me
Yield: 6-8 servings
8 cups of water
1 whole chicken with extra fat discarded
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick “coins”
1 medium potato (I used a Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into large dice
1 large, ripe tomato, coarsely chopped (do not bother peeling it)
About 1 cup of cauliflower florets
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (with leaves if you have them)
a handful of chopped, Italian flat-leaf parsley
a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
5 whole cardamom pods (Green or Black)
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
6 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
2 bay leaves
4 whole allspice
6 whole black peppercorns
10 curry leaves (If you have them. They can be bought online fresh through Amazon and then frozen. DO NOT substitute curry powder!)
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot that is large enough to hold everything. Add the chicken and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Skim off the scum that rises to the top before covering.
- After 30 minutes, add all of the other ingredients and cook, covered on low heat for 45 minutes. Allow the soup to cool. The soup can be made ahead up to this point and gently reheated when you are ready to serve.
- When the soup is cool enough to handle, remove the chicken and take the meat off of the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Return the meat to the pot.
- When ready to serve, reheat the soup and either add the parsley and cilantro to the pot or garnish each bowl with the fresh herbs as you ladle it out.