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During the holiday of Yom Kippur, we Jews fast for 25 hours. Can you imagine spending 25 hours without food or water?! It is absolute torture, believe me, I do it every year, and it never gets any better. Anyway, what happens before the fast, is that on the eve of Yom Kippur everyone eats and drinks as if there was no tomorrow, to stock up on energy for the next day.
Nukides are one of the most classic recipes of the Libyan Jewish cuisine: for my family, there is no Kippur without a nice plate of nukides! It is a kind of handmade pasta, shaped like a small dumpling rolled up with fingers, which is served with a tasty sauce of tomato and meat.
Here is how you make the pasta.
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon of semolina flour
- a pinch of salt
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients and work well with your hands.
- On a floured surface, take the mix and roll into tiny snake-like rolls, about the width of a pencil. With your fingers, rip small pieces of dough, about the size of a pearl (just to give you an idea).
- Indent each piece lightly with your fingertip, as if you were scoring it, and then place it on a tray dusted with semolina.
- Place all the nukides on the tray as you produce them, spacing them well apart, and let dry for about an hour.
- Keep in mind that the nukides must be really tiny because they will expand while cooking, and the final result must still be very small and delicate.
Once prepared, the nukides are cooked in a tomato and meat sauce. Here is how the sauce is prepared.
- 500 g ground beef
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cups thick tomato puree
- Sauté the onion in oil, add the tomato puree, the vegetables finely chopped, and enough water to fill half of the saucepan you are using.
- Put the nukides along with the meat into the saucepan, and allow them to cook over medium heat for about 2 hours, adding water from time to time so that the nukides and the meat do not dry out, and stirring frequently to prevent everything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
I can’t show you the finished dish today because Yom Kippur eve is tonight, so I won’t cook my nukides until late afternoon! I promise to post the picture on Insstagram just before the start of Yom Kippur, if I make it on time, or otherwise update this post after Kippur is over.