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Calling All Cooks In Israel


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Let’s help each other.  One of the most amazing things I love about our community is the immediate feedback.  Whether via Facebook, email or as a JoK.com comment you all let us know how you feel.  And I love it, most probably cause the feedback is generally positive and often inspiring – both in the kitchen and in life.  Lately though, we have been getting a lot of comments like this one:

I love to read all your super recipes and hints but please — not all of your readers live in America and, as you must yourself know by now, not all the ingredients you mention are available here in Israel.

-Laura B. 

So while I do live in Israel, I live in an American community with an American style store that stocks lots of my favorite American brands and products.  Additionally I travel back and forth often and have lots of products sent to me for recipe development.  So I can’t say that I have become an expert in cooking like I live in Israel in the last 10 months.  I can’t even claim to know what products are not readily available in stores across the country not situated in Anglo-communities.  So here’s where we help each other.

Please comment below with any and all cooking in Israel substitution Qs or otherwise and my new friend Dvora Rotter and I (OK mostly Dvora) will create a cheat sheet post listing substitutions – that we will research and test together.  This post will be a living one that we will constantly be adding to as your queries continue.  And you too can help by offering your tips and suggestions for substitution to each other in the comments.  We hope this will help you from getting frustrated with recipes using ingredients you can’t find.

How does that sound?

Start asking your questions now!!


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About Jamie Geller


Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen – not because she doesn’t love food – but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the "Queen of Kosher" (CBS) and the "Jewish Rachael Ray" (New York Times), she's the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and "Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller" magazine . Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their five busy kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen - quickly. Check out her new book, "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes."




47 Responses to Calling All Cooks In Israel

  1. What can we substitute for a can of cranberry sauce in a meatball recipe? We can get it here in Modiin, but it’s expensive and high in sugar.

  2. avatar says: kne

    This is not a substitution, but there’s a great listserv called Israel-food for anglos who are adjusting to Israeli cooking. The question frequently comes up of where to find x or what to substitute for y. I recommend joining the listserv and searching their archives. You’ll probably find all the information you need there.

  3. avatar says: ellie

    How about most prepared sauces/spice mixes, and
    duck sauce
    taco seasoning
    graham crackers
    onion powder
    cheddar cheese

    • Not too many prepared sauces here – ones you can find are VERY expensive. Most of the stuff I used to use in America, I search for homemade recipes online – even Taco Seasoning. Never can find graham crackers – I just use the “cheesecake cookies” for crusts and such. As for onion powder – I use real onion, or the onion soup mix in a pinch.

    • avatar says: Tsipi

      Check out this wholesaler’s catalogue. http://www.tayari.co.il/

  4. They sell cheddar cheese at the cheese counter at all supermarkets. Tnuva makes a mild one with Rav Vitman’s hechsher. There is also imported Le Prefere sharp orange and white cheddar that is Chalav Yisrael.
    Taco seasoning is equal parts chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder, and salt to taste.
    Duck sauce cab be found at stores that sell a lot of American products.

  5. avatar says: Rachelle

    Two things commonly pop up in recipes I see.
    1. Berries – finding blueberries/raspberries in Israel is seasonal, and practically impossible year round.
    2. Meats: I saw great recipes for certain cuts of meats that you can’t get in most stores/butchers. ie. I’ve seen the brisket recipes, but go find it here. Most meat counters say they don’t stock things like chuck. You can get meats numbered 1 – 8.

  6. avatar says: Ariella

    I’d like to know what combination of spices to use instead of pickling spice. or if anyone knows where it can be purchased

    • avatar says: nechama

      i’ve found Israeli brand bay leaves and the berries (forgot what they’re called) in seperate containers in the spice aisle but if your makolet doesn’t carry it you can probably go to a spice store and they’ll have it

  7. Where can i get egg roll wrappers in Israel?

  8. avatar says: Rachelle

    Many recipes have berries. In Israel, fresh berries are seasonal (only a few weeks for blueberries and raspberries). They are almost impossible to find and very expensive.
    Also,I’ve seen great recipes for brisket/chuck but most butchers in the country don’t have those cuts of meats. Most sell “Number 1 – Number 8″ since the meats are categorized by number. I’d like alternative meats/corresponding Israeli numbers for the cuts of meat.

  9. need substitutes for bouillion(chicken stock) and tomato sauce(can find here but expensive).

  10. avatar says: joans

    Where can I buy eggroll wrappers in Israel?

  11. avatar says: ERHellman

    I have been substituting paprika harifa (which sometimes calls itself cayenne, but I don’t think it’s the same) for cayenne, watered down tomato paste for tomato sauce, petit beurre cookies for graham crackers. I find I have to wait for a trip to the States to stock up on dry chives, chili powder, dry mustard. I also bring back crisco sticks and brown sugar for baking. White sugar here is more coarse, and I find I have to do a better job creaming it with other ingredients for cakes and cookies. And I’ve started making my own vanilla, which is the best ever. I’ve never been able to figure out the correct amounts of dry yeast–no little square packets here–so now I use fresh yeast.

  12. avatar says: Devora

    I would love to see a list of meat cuts to their corresponding numbers.
    Another note, I know most people suggest using shamenet instead of sour cream, but the taste and texture are off. In our family we think Gvina Levana is the perfect substitute. I know it’s really a cheese and not a cream, but the taste and texture are right on and it works.

  13. avatar says: Tsipi

    Around Shavuot time, people are always asking for a decent substitute for farmers cheese. You can get pre-packaged Cna’an or Tuv Ta’am (Tara brand) cheese OR get Tvorog at the cheese counter by weight, which comes out less expensive. I guess you can probably buy Tvorog pre-packaged as well, but I’ve never looked for it.

  14. avatar says: fbogus

    You can find a decent assortment of Asian products at the Mizrach u’Ma’arav stores near Machane Yehudah in J’salem and the Carmel Market in TA.

    Here’s a reverse question, though. I translate a lot of Hebrew recipes and keep coming across “shatta chili.” What is that and what is the closest American equivalent?

    • avatar says: Chavsg

      Shatta chilli, is dried chilli peppers you can find it in the spice sections in the supermarkets.

      • avatar says: fbogus

        Are they whole peppers or the crushed red pepper (pizza pepper)? If it’s whole pepper,is it more like cayenne or Thai bird or could I use just about anything? What’s the closest American equivalent?

        • oh I wish Chavsg would come back and let us know. I am frustrated not having cayenne pepper – I have been using chili pepper flakes or just omitting the cayenne. I wonder if Shatta Chilli is a good sub for Cayenne? I will have to look for it.

  15. avatar says: Tamar

    What about parve sour cream?

  16. avatar says: Sharlene

    What can I use instead of beef stock in beef dishes. bought some when I first arrived 11 years ago but have not seen it since.

  17. avatar says: BusySavta

    Where can one buy guar gum? I want to get some so that I can make a softer version of sherbet (ices). I saw that Freeda vitamins sells this, but does anyone know where I can find this in Israel? I’ve also heard of Locust bean gum (I did a wiki search and discovered that it actually comes for carob, which grows all over Israel)…But can you get this product here?

  18. avatar says: eb

    my husband and i joke that the butchers here arent really butchers- theyre more like ice cutters….most butchers wont actually know the difference between first cut and second cut meat…they either defrost the meat or put it through the saw….its important to know what number you want before you go, because “butchers” dont always know what cut you are referring to when you give them the english names for the cut…i personally buy my meat in bulk-saves TONS of money (almost half the price) and tons of hassle of trying to explain meat to a butcher…

  19. I am growing my own tomatillos, poblano peppers, and jalapenos, because I haven’t found them here, and we want Mexican food. Otherwise I go to “Tres Pesos” in Holon. They have a lot of Mexican products.

  20. Ahhhhh I am so thrilled for this!!!
    I am a young newlywed living in israel, far from our families in Monsey, and this is sooo what I need to make my cooking experience here easier! THANK YOU!!!

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