Add a Touch of Egypt to your Seder Table with Old Family Recipes

As an Egyptian Jewish refugee, I celebrate Passover with special meaning. Passover is a time to commemorate the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt in 1300 B.C. and return to freedom in Israel. At my family?s seders in Cairo in the 1940s, we felt as if we represented the enduring memory of that exodus. Little did we know we would soon experience our own exodus from Egypt as a result of racism and oppression.

We are the last Egyptian Jews, but we continue the traditions of our ancestors. The following recipes are ones my mother, Sarina, still cooks for us at Passover, and that her mother and her mother’s mother made for our family as far back as we can remember.

The traditions live on, even if the community has vanished. Today, the once-proud Jewish communities of the Arab and Muslim world are no more. A whole historiography was made irrelevant and has become a shadow of history. Thankfully, those who migrated to Israel from the Arab world and Iran ? an estimated 700,000 Jews ? have worked to forge and build a strong community that is democratic and economically and scientifically advanced.

The following recipes are among Sarina Wahed’s Passover favorites.

Hraimi
1 Tbs. oil
1 6 oz. can tomato paste or a small can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp. ground chili pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 lb. filet snapper or rock cod cut in pieces about 5 inches long
1 tsp. cumin
salt to taste
1/2 cup cold water
1 lemon, juiced

In a nonstick, shallow pan, heat oil and add the tomato paste or sauce. Turn heat to low and turn tomato paste gently using a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup water, chili pepper and garlic. Mix well. Cook on low for 10 minutes.
Add fish and with a spoon cover fish with tomato mixture. Sprinkle cumin and salt over, and add 1/2 cup cold water to the fish. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. When ready to serve, pour lemon juice over the Hraimi and serve with matzah crackers.

Passover Almond Cake
6 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups finely ground almonds
grated zest of half an orange
1 tsp. potato starch
juice of half an orange

Separate the eggs and beat the whites in a separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar and slowly add the almonds, zest and starch.
Bake in a round springform pan or medium baking dish for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven. Squeeze the orange juice over cake.

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