Jachnun

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Jahnun
Jachnun.jpg
Jahnun served with oven-baked egg, fresh grated tomato and zhug
TypePastry, bread
Place of originAden, Yemen
Region or stateIsrael
Created byYemenite Jewish descendants of expelled Sephardi Jews
Serving temperatureHot

Jachnun or Jahnun (Arabic: جَحْنُون‎, Hebrew: גַ'חְנוּן‎, Hebrew pronunciation: ['d͡ʒaχnun/'d͡ʒaħnun]) is a Yemenite Jewish pastry, originating from the Adeni Jews,[1] and traditionally served on Shabbat morning. Yemenite Jewish immigrants have popularized the dish in Israel.

Preparation[edit]

Jahnun is prepared from dough which is rolled out thinly and brushed with (traditionally) Samneh, which is clarified butter spiced with 'Hilbe' (fenugreek) and aged in a smoked vessel, traditionally using smoke from the wood of a specific tree, the דודינה tree (presumably Dodonaea viscosa, sheth in Arabic[2]), though regular clarified butter or shortening can be used. A little honey is sometimes added in addition, whereupon the dough is rolled up into rolls before cooking.

It is traditionally cooked overnight on a 'Shabbat hotplate' at a very low temperature, starting the cooking process on the Friday (usually in the morning), to be taken out and eaten on Shabbat (Saturday) morning, as it is forbidden by Jewish custom to start cooking or turn electrical implements on/off during the Shabbat. The Jahnun pieces are baked/steamed inside of a lidded pot (trapping moisture and preventing drying and burning).

This cooking process turns the dough a dark amber color, endowing it with a deep, sweet, caramelized taste. It is traditionally served with tomato salsa, a fresh grated tomato dip, hard boiled eggs, and zhug (a type of green herbal hot condiment). The dough used for Jachnun is the same as that used for malawach.

History[edit]

The idea of slow-cooking food in a way that conforms with Shabbat restrictions is ancient, originating with Cholent, or Hamin, a slow-cooked stew that originated in ancient Israel. Jachnun and its pan-fried cousin malawach probably originated as variations of Sephardic Jewish puff pastry, brought to Yemen by Jews expelled from Spain, according to Gil Marks.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "מאיפה בתימן בא הג'חנון?".
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcabyXFF5l4
  3. ^ Encyclopedia of Jewish Cooking

Further reading[edit]

  • Hamitbah Hatemani (Yemenite Jewish Cooking), Sue Larkey, Modan (Hebrew)

External links[edit]