Pesach is the first amongst the three most popular Jewish festivals, meaning 'passing over' or 'protection'. Pesach has both agricultural and historical implications. Agriculturally, Pesach symbolizes the commencement of the harvest season in Israel. And historically, it is associated with the migration of Hebrew slaves (Israelites) from Egypt after generations of slavery for over 410 years. The first two nights of the 8-day jubilation are accompanied with sumptuous meals called 'Seders' that embodies the legend and history of Passover. Seder is presented with special foods, plates, and elegant silverware. Only those foods that are "Kosher for Passover" are allowed to be consumed such as 'Matzoh'. 'Matzoh' is unleavened bread quickly made by mixing flour and water. This is to honor the Israelites who fled hurriedly into the desert with no time for their breads to rise and had no option but to bake the dough into hard crackers in the desert sun. Passover recipes signify the transition of Israelites from slavery to freedom!
The Seder Table
The Seder table is quite different from the everyday dinner table. It consists of graceful Passover dishware and silverware. The centerpiece of the Seder table is the Seder plate, an exclusive plate comprising of five different foods that are reminiscent of the struggle of the Israelites in their pursuit and expedition to freedom. The five specialties of the Seder plate are:
Haroseth is a paste like mixture of chopped nuts and apples, spices and wine that is consumed during the Seder meal on Passover. It is conventionally a symbol of the mortar or clay used for making bricks by Israelite slaves in Egypt.
Parsley (Dipped In Salt Water)
Green vegetables such as fresh 'parsley or celery' tops characterize the endurance of Jews. Parsley is dipped in salt water to signify the tears of the Hebrew slaves.
Eggs are roasted to symbolize the life-death cycle. Eggs can be easily roasted by hard-boiling the eggs and then roasting them on fire.
Shank bone indicates the sacrificial lamb that was killed and eaten when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem. It is generally roasted or boiled, although roasted is preferred since the Paschal sacrifice was roasted. Unlike other items on the Seder plate, the shank bone is not consumed, but only displayed!
Bitter herbs are also referred to as 'Maror'. Raw fresh horseradish on the Seder plate reminds the Jews of the harsh days in the lives of Israelites as slaves in Egypt.
Three pieces of matzoh are put in a matzoh cover (a cloth covering or envelope) and placed in the middle of the Seder table.
Food Items To Be Avoided
For the non-vegetarians, the lamb bone is often substituted with turkey or chicken bone during Passover, while the vegetarians use a whole-roasted beet. During these 8-day celebration, no leavened (containing yeast) foods and other fermented grain products - known as chametz are allowed to be consumed. Orthodox Jews of Ashkenazic background also refrain from rice, peanuts, beans, corn and other chametz food. All such foods forbidden during Passover needs to be disposed off in the morning or the first night of Passover.
Passover Recipes To Opt For
For Passover, matzoh can be used in various amazing ways such as coarsely grounded matzoh can be used as an alternative for breadcrumb or matzoh chunks for noodle substitute or matzoh flour for cakes or cookies! Thus, taking the customs and traditions of Passover festival into consideration, listed here are various 'Matzoh' recipes that can be relished during Passover. Dishes such as charoset, matzoh balls, cake recipe, spring salad, Passover fish recipes, Passover brisket recipes, chicken recipes, Passover vegetarian recipes, and many more recipes have been discussed here in detail.