Nearly always prepared by women, the dishes are exercises in over-indulgence, a relic of days when large, kosher meals were organized to feed families in insular courtyards, hidden from non-Jewish neighbors.
That was the meal one recent Friday at Arsen Abramov’s Toronto home, where several of the more than 200 known Bukharian recipes graced the Shabbat table.
Hoping to preserve the neighborhood’s prestige and air of respectability, residents of the “romantic suburb” of Forest Hill Gardens — a quaint Tudoresque cottagescape loosely inspired by the reformist principles of Ebenezer Howard — revived long-forgotten provisions from its building code that’d been collecting dust for years.
With the help of some especially prohibitive requirements still on the books, they were largely able to quarantine the unwelcome newcomers.
In a bowl, mince together meat, liver and fat until they form pea-size pieces. In a separate dish, combine minced meat, rice and cilantro. Submerge the bag, bring water to a boil and simmer for three to four hours, occasionally rotating the bag.
/115g liver 1 cup beef or mutton fat or 1/4 cup vegetable oil 4 bunches cilantro, finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper salt 1. Extract air and tie the bag with a six- or eight-ply rope, making sure the opening is sealed tightly. The muslin bag can be substituted with a plastic cooking bag. Using a dutch oven, heat 5-6 quarts (4.75-5.75 L) of water to 105-125ºF.
He is an aspiring blues guitarist and an avid tennis enthusiast.
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Once the plates of fish were cleared, Abramov’s wife, Yelena, brought out platters of lamb-filled samsi, baked puffs similar to the Indian samosa, and a triangular pastry called bichak, filled with stringy orange squash.
Those preceded the centerpiece of the Bukharian Friday night table: bakhsh, a brownish-green plov—or rice pilaf—with cilantro leaves and chunks of lamb that was served sliced from a log and packed loosely into the ribs of a roast chicken, where the rice continued to warm.
Rabbi Mordechai Kraft was born in Briarcliff Manor, NY and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Trinity College, Hartford, CT.