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nov. 20, 2015

Tal Smith: Recipes (Sababa Shabbos)

by Tal Smith

I was born in Israel, the oldest of four, and my parents moved to South Africa when I was three months old. Although I grew up in Cape Town, my immediate family maintained the same attitude towards food shared by my extended family in Israel – food has always been a big part of our life, especially home cooking. The kitchen has always been the centre of the home. For my parents it is the most important room because they see meal times as an opportunity to get together, to talk about the day and spend time with each other. Although Saturdays and Sundays were slightly more relaxed, there was never a chance of us not attending dinner – especially Shabbat. Now that I have my own family, I get excited for Friday nights, it is the one day of the week I know Iʼll get to see my parents, siblings and in-­laws, when we will all have a chance to catch up, and at the end of the night we always leave full, tired and completely satisfied. Since food is seen as something so precious in my family, it is always offered abundantly and is the greatest expression of love there is. Everyone in my family is a foodie. Most of us, myself included, found our way into the kitchen quite naturally – there is an interest, and as long as you have an interest in something youʼll want to do it. The way I learned to cook was by hovering around my mother, asking whether I could help, sometimes getting involved and other times just watching her. Both my parents were born in Israel; my mom has Romanian ancestry, and my dad Libyan. The typical Saban Shabbat menu would essentially have Libyan flavours and include the following courses. Chicken soup and chraime for starters; mafrum or stuffed vegetables with couscous, tirshi and a few different salads/dips for main course; and seasonal fruit for dessert. Lastly we will have an espresso or mint tea with a slice of Niritʼs home­baked Babka or Rugelach.

Chicken Soup


  • 6 chicken wings
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 baby cabbages, halved
  • half bunch table celery, cut into 5cm long pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 300g baby marrow, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 250g butternut, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4T chicken stock
  • 1T salt
  • 2ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful dill


  1. Fill a pot with 7 litres of water. Add the chicken wings and bring the water to the boil.
  2. While the pot is heating up, all the fat from the chicken will rise to surface and this can be easily removed with a large spoon.
  3. Allow the water to boil for 10­15 minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Fill the remainder of the pot with water and boil on a medium heat for about an hour.
  5. Test the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serves 10-12



  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2T vegetable oil
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 2T sweet paprika
  • 2ml cumin, ground
  • 2ml chilli powder/ 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 130g tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1t sugar
  • 1kg salmon/yellowtail, filleted & skin off

Serves 6-8


  1. Fry the onion in oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Mix the garlic, lemon juice and paprika together and then add it to the onions in the pan.
  3. Then add the tomato paste and cook further for another few minutes.
  4. Add the water and sugar and cook the sauce for about 15 minutes so that all the flavours come together.
  5. Cut the salmon into 150g pieces and cook them in the sauce for about 10 minutes until the fish is just cooked through.
  6. Turn the heat off and sprinkle over the cumin.
  7. Serve the fish warm or at room temperature with some extra sauce and chunky white bread.

*you can soak the fish in lemon juice overnight for a better flavour



  • 7 large potatoes
  • 300g breadcrumbs/matza meal
  • 4­6 eggs, whisked
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 eggs
  • 2T breadcrumbs/matza meal
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 30g coriander, chopped
  • 30g Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1t salt
  • 1ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 1ml cayenne pepper
  • 1T paprika
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cinnamon


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 130g tomato paste
  • 1t salt
  • 1t paprika
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water


  1. Peel and slice each potato into 3 lengthways. Sprinkle the potato with salt and leave them to sit for an hour.
  2. After an hour rinse the potatoes and then slice again lengthways but only going half way, to make a pocket.
  3. For the filling, simply combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Fill each potato pocket with the mince filling.
  5. Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan and have 2 bowls on the side ready, one with the breadcrumbs/matza meal and one with the eggs.
  6. When they oil is hot, coat each potato pocket with the crumbs and then the egg.
  7. Fry them in oil so that each of the sides goes golden brown.
  8. Once all the potato pockets are fried, place them into a shallow pot, slightly overlapping, and making sure they are packed tightly together.
  9. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce together and pour it over the potato pockets.
  10. Add more water if necessary to just cover the potato pockets.
  11. Bring the pot to the boil and then slowly simmer for about an hour.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Mince & Rice


  • 1 green cabbage
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 handfuls Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 125ml water
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 1t tumeric
  • 1t paprika
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • 90g tomato paste
  • 1t sugar
  • 1t salt
  • 2ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemons, juiced
  • 750ml water
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 handfuls Italian parsley, chopped finely


  1. Clean the cabbage and remove the core with a sharp knife.
  2. Put the cabbage in a pot filled with water and bring the water to the boil with the lid of the pot on.
  3. Allow the water to boil for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave the cabbage to soak in the water for an hour.
  4. Prepare the filling by mixing together the beef mince with the parsley, 1 onion, egg, half a teaspoon of salt and 2ml of freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Then in a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the rest of the chopped onion until it softens.
  6. Then add the spices, 2ml of salt & pepper, and mix through for a minute.
  7. Add the rice, and then finally the water. Keep stirring until the all the water has been absorbed. Once the rice mixture has cooled down completely, add it to the beef mixture and combine the two together well.
  8. After an hour remove the cabbage from the pot and open all the leaves up.
  9. Fill the leaves with a few tablespoons of the filling and roll them to make parcels.
  10. Once you have used up all the cabbage leaves and filling, place the parcels closely together in a shallow pot.
  11. Prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients, except for the parsley, together.
  12. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls and place a heavy plate on top to keep the parcels from opening up during the cooking process.
  13. Bring the sauce to the boil and then continue cooking on a low heat for about an hour.
  14. When you are ready to serve the dish, sprinkle the finely chopped parsley over.