Light and easy Chanukah suppers

Welcome to summertime in South Africa

By: Orit Taback of Orit’s Bakery

When I think of Chanukah suppers, I think summer! The children are all home, relaxed; there are no Afrikaans orals to prepare or natural science tests to learn for! No one needs a lift to soccer or an extra maths class after dinner. The buzz that accompanies us for most of the year at the dinner table has lifted.

We like to have friends and family joining us for a braai on the patio or a traditional Chanukah milky affair of light smalls, accompanied with a bottle of champagne and the sound of the children arguing over whose dreidel spins the longest or how many coins you get when the dreidel lands on ‘gimmel’. And, later, the children running in the garden by the sprinkler or sliding on the water slide. In the background, the Chanukiah is twinkling its lights, reminding us of the great miracles Hashem performed for us years ago that enable us to still be a strong, vibrant nation today!

Chanukah is by far the most relaxed of our Chagim, especially because we are in South Africa. Even if we wanted to stress about work, we can’t! All businesses are closed. It is traditional to have fried foods on Chanukah. And this means latkes and doughnuts! Growing up with a Moroccan mother, we ate a Moroccan doughnut on Chanukah. This doughnut is called a sfinj, and it is made from a sticky, unsweetened dough that is deep-fried and then coated with icing sugar or soaked with honey. It’s usually served with nana (mint) tea.

It’s important for me to keep the meals light and easy to make. I want my family to eat nutritious meals, but I also don’t want to slave away all day in the kitchen. And I want to make as little mess as possible as my domestic help is usually away this time of year.

To contact Orit: 082 603 0965 or


This is a fun, easy supper recipe that goes well with a big salad. Serve warm or cold.

1 roll puff pastry

2 tbls oil

2 tins tuna

1 small purple onion

1 green pepper

Smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cream

1½ cup milk

5 eggs


Preheat oven to 180C. Unroll the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to make a bit thinner and wider. Line an oven proof dish with the dough and poke holes in it with a fork. Set aside. In a frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft. Add the peppers and tuna and keep stirring. Add the paprika and seasoning and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and cream. Add the tuna mixture from the pan into the milk mixture and stir. Pour into the puff pastry and bake for 45 minutes. When taking out of the oven, allow to settle.

Easy chicken pie (Yields 2 pies)

1 roll puff pastry

4 chicken breasts off the bone and sliced into strips

1 onion diced

1 green pepper diced

3 baby marrows sliced into rings



1 tsp thyme

Oil for sautéing


Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat oil in skillet, and brown chicken strips. Remove from heat. Pour a bit more oil and add the onion. Sauté until the onions start browning. Add the rest of the vegetables and the chicken. Season with salt pepper and thyme and keep frying for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Unroll the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half lengthwise. Roll out to make the dough a bit wider. Now you have 2 rectangles. Each rectangle will make a pie. Cut strips on either side of the dough. Fill the middle with the filling and fold the strips over the filling. This will give your pie a braided look. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Vegetable Latkes

6 potatoes

1 carrot

2 baby squash or baby marrow

1 onion

1 tin sweet corn

4 eggs

¾ cup flour

1 tbls salt

Oil for frying


Grate all the vegetables besides for the sweet corn. Squeeze all the liquid out of the vegetables and put the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add the corn and the rest of the ingredients besides the oil. Mix well. In a deep frying pan, heat oil on medium high. Using a table spoon, scoop out from the batter into the hot oil. Don’t make more than 5 latkes at a time. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

Pasta and tuna salad

I learned this recipe from my high school home economics teacher! We learned this recipe in grade 7 and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. I’ve added tuna to the original recipe to add some protein and make it a full meal on its own! We love this salad and my boys especially like it warm. I prep all of the ingredients ahead of time, but boil the pasta right before serving, so that the pasta is still warm when I serve it.

500g uncooked pasta

1 tin corn

3 Israeli pickles diced

1 yellow pepper diced

1 red pepper diced

2 tins tuna


Salt and pepper


I add all of the ingredients to the warm pasta, toss, and then serve right away!

No bake individual cheese cakes

These are a fun Chanukah favourite! They take 2 minutes to whip up and the kids love choosing their toppings.

1 cup cream

½ cup sugar

500g cream cheese

1 packet biscuits

Any toppings you want. I put out chopped chocolates, crushed biscuits, jams, etc.

Crush the biscuits and put some in every cup. I like to keep it a little chunky. In a mixing bowl, whip up the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the cream cheese and beat a little longer. Put the cheese mixture into a piping bag and pipe into each cup over the crushed biscuits. Allow to set over night, but, if need be, can serve right away. Serve with an array of toppings for each person to make his own cheesecake.

Sfinj (Moroccan doughnuts)

The Sfinj is common in Morocco and sold by street vendors everywhere. This makes an amazing after dinner treat.

8 cups flour

3 packets yeast (10g each)

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

4 cups warm water

Oil for frying


Mix all the ingredients with the warm water. It is a sticky, loose dough. Knead for about 5 minutes folding the dough over itself (or just mix in a mixer for 5 minutes on medium speed). Cover the dough and allow it to rise for about an hour. In a deep pan, heat oil on medium/high heat. With wet hands, break off a ball of the dough and fold it over itself. With your fingers break a hole in the middle creating a ring shape and quickly put into the oil. Fry on both sides until golden.

Serve with sugar for dipping.

Cheese pockets

2 packets puff pastry squares

500g cottage cheese

1 egg

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper together. Spread the puff pastry squares onto your work table. Scoop a tablespoon into each square. Wet the sides of the dough, and pinch together all the corners forming a little pocket. Pinch the sides closed as well. Egg wash and bake in oven for 30-45 minutes.

Taco salad

This is an awesome family style dish that everyone can pick from the actual serving bowl!

1 bag romaine lettuce

1 purple onion

Cherry tomatoes

½ tin sweet corn

2 avos

Bag of nachos, tacos or even wraps

500g mince meat

1 onion grated

1 carrot grated

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes

½ tsp turmeric

2 tbls paprika



Oil for sautéing

In a skillet, sauté onions and carrots until they start to brown. Add the garlic and spices and keep stirring for a minute. Add the mince meat and keep stirring until meat is browning. Add the tomatoes and mix. Allow to cook on medium for about 15 minutes. Layer the salad vegetables in a large salad dish. Pour the mince over just before serving.

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