Category Archives: Sauces

Spice Mix for Pickles

Mixed pickles are like a box of candy. Once you start tasting, you cannot stop eating until either my mouth bums or the jar is empty. But for those who are experimenting with the spice mix, it’s difficult to have a perfect combination for your sandwich, meat, salads and what else you can do with it.spice-mix-for-pickles-with-beef

  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 blocks of cinnamon, broken in half (optional)

  1. Blend all the spices together.
  2. Add the mixture to the brine when making pickles, or rub onto meat prior to cooking.
  3. Makes approximately 2 ½ tablespoons.
  4. And don’t forget the cinnamon for a sweeter taste if you desire so.


Pickled Turnips Combinations in and around Israel

Fresh turnips
Fresh turnips

The freshest turnips are white, with crisp stems. When pickled with the addition of a few slices of beet, they will tum pink.The best place to buy turnips are on the market (early morning!). And with pickled turnips, there are many variations possible (sweet, spicy, bitter, sour and much more).

  • 4 ½ lb (2.25 kg) s mall fresh turnips
  • l -3 small beets
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 hot green pepper, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into 3-in (7-cm) pieces
  • 1 ½ cups (3 75 ml) white vinegar (optionally use lemon juice)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water, boiled then chilled
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sugar (optional)
  1. Cut off both ends of the turnips and beets, peel and slice.
  2. Spread the slices in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, mix, and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. The next day, mix in the sliced hot pepper.
  4. Place the chopped celery in a jar large enough to hold all the vegetables and add the sliced turnips, beets, and peppers.
  5. Cover the vegetables with the vinegar (or lemon juice) and the water.
  6. The turnips will be ready after 1 or 2 days.
  • This is more of a side-dish then sauce, I’m aware of that.
  • An old Bedouin recipe (at least 4,000 years old) describes only lemon juice (had no idea about vinegar). Also the recipe describes that the turnips will be ready after a half day in the burning sun. They called it the Desert Candy because of its color and the sweets they added.

    Pickled Turnips or Desert Candy
    Pickled Turnips or Desert Candy

Ancient Pickled Cucumbers Sauce do-it-right

My mother tried to prepare the pickled cucumbers all her life and I, the simpleton, got it right the first time I tried. I never figured it out why until my 50th birthday. Well, better late then never. Cucumbers for pickling should be small, young, fresh, firm, and crisp. Pickle them soon after buying (inspect them carefully at the stall or shop), and never pickle cucumbers that have been refrigerated. Pickles are ready to taste four days after being packed into a transparent jar and left under the sun.

Pickled Cucumbers in pot
Pickled Cucumbers in pot

  • 6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 green chile pepper, halved
  • 4 ½ lb (2.25 kg) small young cucumbers
  • 4 dill stalks
  • Salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns (optional, but tasty)

  1. Wash and sterilize a large pickling jar and lid.
  2. Wash the cucumbers well.
  3. Place the garlic and green chili pepper at the bottom of the jar.
  4. Add the cucumbers and the dill.
  5. Measure enough water to cover the cucumbers and transfer the water to a saucepan (without the cucumbers), then add 1 teaspoon salt for each 1 cup (250 ml) water.
  6. Add the vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns and bring to a boil over a high heat.
  7. When the water boils and the salt has dissolved, tum off the heat and allow the liquid to stand for 2- 3 minutes before pouring it over the cucumbers.
  8. Seal the jar and place under the sun.
  9. Leave for 4 days.
  10. The cucumbers will have changed color, the bubbling fermentation will have subsided, and the cucumbers will be ready for tasting.
  11. Refrigerate immediately. This is important, because in Israel I didn’t, and the sauce was spoiled.

Originally, this recipe was being used widely at the time of the Greek/Roman Empires going back more then 5,000 years. And why do I call this is a sauce and not – let’s say by-dish? Because originally it meant to be a sauce (mixed with other sauces, with yogurt and cheese, etc.). The ancient didn’t mean to eat the pickled cucumbers as they came out of the pot, it was meant to be processed further.

Alternatively, you can place the cucumbers in soja source. I personally prefer the sweet soja sauce and the taste is heavenly.

Pickled Cucumbers Sauce in Soja sauce
Pickled Cucumbers Sauce in Soja sauce

Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing

Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing
Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing

Labaneh is a yogurt-based sour cheese found in Arab markets throughout Israel. It has become so popular that it can also be found in any Israeli supermarket, but it can easily be made from any good (organic) yogurt. At first I thought it was a type of yogurt when I tasted it. I learned later it was more of a cheese and a bit of yogurt. And this sauce/cheese/yogurt can be used for virtually anything, even on bread or plainly spooning it up (like me).

Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing
Labaneh, Sour Yogurt Dressing

This sauce is easy to make, uses not much ingredients, but it takes a while before it’s finished. Some Dutch people tried keep the Labaneh in the cheesecloth for 30 hours. Well, you try it and tell everyone what it tastes then (the same).

  1. 8 cups (2 liters) yogurt
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. Cheesecloth or paper towel

Line a large colander with the cheesecloth or paper towel, making sure it overlaps the colander by a good amount. Mix the yogurt with the salt and pour the mixture into the lined colander. Tie the cheesecloth (or close the paper towel), place the colander over an even bigger bowl into which the mixture can drain.

Labaneh cheese
Labaneh cheese

The Labaneh will be ready in 10 to 12 hours. Transfer it to a dish and cover with olive oil. Place in the refrigerator.

Fruit juice

Customizations with the Labaneh are of course possible, but you need to be careful not to overdo it (like I did). You could mix the yogurt with some fruit juice (but not too much). I used to mix it with strawberry juice and the color changed of course (like pink-ish), but it was an instant hit. The Arabs were looking wide eyed and flabbergasted at my sauce, smiled politely, but didn’t touch it. The kids loved it.

Chopped mint leaves

Mint leaves

Another good customization of this recipe is mixing chopped mint leaves in the yogurt.

  1. 1 cup (250 ml) plain yogurt
  2. 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  3. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  4. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  5. Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients and serve chilled.