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Israel Substituion Guide


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Editor’s intro:

`A couple weeks ago we posted a Call To Cooks in Israel to help us start this Israel Substitution Guide to help new and old olim adapt recipes with ingredients they can find in Israel.  We had some fantastic responses with lots of tips and advice already in the comments over there.  Based on the questions we got and some of our own, Dvora has compiled this guide to help others.

In addition, Dvora is helping us find and tag recipes that can be made without modification in Israel.  We call them Israeli Friendly Recipes and you can click on that link and bookmark that page to see continuous updates and as always we welcome your recipes and hope you will Submit Recipes also to add to the collection.  Please also feel free to ask questions and answer each other in the comments below on this post.

Creativity is the key to good ingredient substitution.  While a recipe that has an important ingredient replaced may not come out exactly as you expected, smart substitution can result in a still delicious end product.

One thing I have discovered is that Israel gets my Little House on the Prairie instinct going.  While I used to buy more prepared items, like marinara sauce and spice mixes, I make a lot more from scratch these days, and I am always surprised when they are easy and not at all time consuming to make.  The internet has a plethora of spice mix recipes, from pickling spice to taco seasoning, so search away and choose one you like.  It’s often worthwhile to make a large batch and store for future use.

Cheese – A word of caution – in the US, pizza cheese is usually a blend of natural cheeses, but in Israel, “Pizzarella” is a processed cheese product, much like American cheese.  That said, it melts very well, something that cannot always be said of yellow cheeses, such as Emek or Gilboa.

See below for my substitution chart. I hope that answers some of your questions, please comment below with any new or old questions and I will do my best to help.

In addition, Efrat, a friend of Jamie’s, passed along a few tips we thought you might enjoy:

Blueberries: are grown in Kedumim and are available only in May and June, contact Yaakov 052-567-3099 for information (He is a Hebrew speaker).   During the rest of the year, frozen blueberries work well in baked goods. You can get frozen fruits of all kinds at: Icetory in Yerushalayim (Ask for Kobi 02-622-2298).

Other berries: you can pick your own raspberries and blackberries in Gush Etzion in June and July (Moshe – is an English speaker! 054-670-0710)

Flanken: Matam Chafetz Chaim is a butcher shop in Yerushalayim, run by olim from Chicago – they know how Americans like their meat. They have packaged products in some butcher cases and can tell you where to get flanken or anything else in your area – phone: 02-624-3443

Don’t complain about missing Tropicana orange juice, get home delivery by Pomerantz.

The seasonality of produce is something to get used to – for example: strawberry season runs from Channuka to pesach (I always freeze 6 boxes at the end of the season!) and it becomes something to look forward to.

Ingredient Substitution
Egg Roll Wrappers Moroccan Cigar Leaves
Duck Sauce Plum Sauce (add sweet chili sauce for spice)
Cranberry Sauce Jelly or fruit spreads, flavor of choice
Fresh Cranberries Frozen red currants
Brisket Number 3
Shoulder Roast Number 4
Chicken or Beef Broth Tzir Bakar or Tzir Of – Paste diluted with water
Farmer’s cheese Tuv Taam or C’naan cheese or Tvorog (Russian)
Sour Cream Shamenet Chamutza
Fresh Blueberries and Raspberries Use Frozen
Packets of Active Dry Yeast Measure 2 1/4 teaspoons per envelope from a large jar

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About Dvora Rotter


After making aliyah in 2006, Dvora, a former teacher, reinvented herself as a home baker. A serious obsession with cookie baking blossomed into a reputation for delicious, inventive, and beautiful baked goods. Dvora now runs a successful cake and cookie business and relishes the opportunity to help enhance people's happy occasions. Her husband and four children enjoy the leftovers. To see more of Dvora's desserts, visit the Dvora's Cookie Creations blog.




11 Responses to Israel Substituion Guide

  1. For fantastic frozen fruit of all kinds, check out “Enjoy Frozen Fruit” on Facebook. They provide a fantastic product at great prices, and provide periodic centralized delivery to a number of cities in Israel, including Gush Etzion, Raanana, and Beit Shemesh, as well as weekly to the Modiin area (Chashmonaim).

  2. I am looking for FRESH phyllo dough. The frozen leaves do not thaw properly and they stick together and tear.

  3. Also, when it comes to meat, Chofetz Chaim is great, as is Maadanei Habirah, also in Yerushalayim, but both are pricey and not so convenient for non-Yerushalmim. It’s important to get to know the Israeli meat cuts. For cholent, #9 is the equivalent of flanken, but numbers 10, 2, and especially 8 are great for long, slow cooking. Fleisch brand meat, certified by the OU, uses American style cuts and is available in many supermarkets.

  4. avatar says: mikhael

    For classic “far east” Egg Rolls you can buy rice paper in any “Teva” like store.

  5. avatar says: Yaffa

    Can you post some photos of what the individual products look like on the supermarket shelves?

  6. avatar says: shulamuna

    I live up north and sometimes processed food is not so available. I found this really easy and fast recipe to make your own eggroll or wonton wrappers. Probably so much cheaper, too. To paraphrase Dvora, cooking from scratch can be the way to go. Here is the link for the eggrolls:


  7. We got a nice comment about using fresh beet greens instead or mangold instead of spinach in Israel.

  8. avatar says: Amy

    Jamie, Super Hatzlaha has the Anglo-y foods in Beit Shemesh. I was able to find evaporated milk and fortune cookies there. Good substitute I learned only after being here a few years is Napoleon cheese for cream cheese. Geveena shemenet has an odd taste, but Napoleon is like the old country.

  9. avatar says: rashke

    I do not understand the numbers that you put on meat. I have an apt in Yerushalayim and often shop at Osher Ad. They used to have a butcher cut the meat but now all are packaged. Please advise the method used to grade the meat.

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