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 usually happens right before the fast is that everyone eats and drinks as if there was no tomorrow, to stock up on energy for the next day. On the eve of Yom Kippur, we go entirely wild on food. This might not be the best choice because from a scientific perspective, in fact, I’m told that to ease the fast we should just have a light, healthy meal, but gluttony just overrules my brain the few hours before the start of the fast and I can’t help it.
In my household, there’s no Kippur meal without nukides, one of the most classic recipes of Libyan Jewish cuisine. Nukides are a kind of handmade pasta, shaped like a very small ball rolled up in between fingers, and are served with a tasty, meaty tomato sauce, enriched with either veal or chicken.
So, if you are going to join us preparing this amazing traditional dish, first of all, tackle the pasta making.
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon semolina flour
- 1 pinch salt
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and knead well with your hands until a dough comes together.3 eggs, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 250 g all-purpose flour, 1 pinch salt
- On a floured surface, take the dough and roll it into long, thin rolls, about the size of a pencil, for reference. With your fingers, rip small pieces of dough, about the size of a chocolate chip.
- Indent each piece of dough lightly with your fingertip, as if you were scoring it, and then place it on a tray dusted with semolina.2 tablespoon semolina flour
- Place all the nukides you make 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. The smaller the nukides, the better and most expert the cook!
While the nukides are drying out, you can prepare the sauce that they will cook in later.
Meat and tomato sauce
- 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.