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Food as Comfort: Janine Lowy on Making Israeli Lachuch

Mastering Israeli Cuisine with Janine Lowy

Janine Lowy never misses an opportunity to emphasize the importance of good food—and specifically its significance within Jewish culture. Some of Lowy’s most cherished memories were formed in the kitchen, slowing down to prepare meals: as a child, learning family recipes; as a mother, cooking for her children; and now, as a grandmother, connecting with her grandchildren through food.

“The ritual of cooking fosters a unique connection—with ourselves, our loved ones, and our culture,” Janine Lowy explained. “In Jewish tradition, mealtimes are seen as an opportunity for nourishment and celebration.”

After sharing a recipe for a rich Israeli chicken soup, Lowy agreed to guide us through the process of making complementary lachuch, or Yeminite pancake bread.

“Lachuch is an irresistible yeasty bread that falls somewhere between crumpet and pita. It’s often eaten alongside eggs as one element of a delicious breakfast, but it can also serve as the perfect side to soup,” Janine Lowy said. “Use it to mop up the broth!”

Smooth like a pancake on one side and spongy on the other—fried on only one side—this distinctive bread requires a cold nonstick pan to cook properly. “I often work with two pans, letting one cool while the other is in use,” says Lowy. “But you can also opt to cool down a single pan after each round.” 

Here is Lowy’s step-by-step approach: 

  1. In a large bowl, combine 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of semolina, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, and 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) of active dry yeast. Slowly stir in 3 ½ cups of warm water until the mixture is well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm place for an hour and a half. “At this point, the batter should have lots of tiny bubbles—like pancake batter,” Lowy explained. 
  3. Grease a 9-inch nonstick pan with a touch of vegetable oil.
  4. “To cook the lachuch, you’ll start with a cold pan—the opposite of what you’re used to,” Lowy said. “Take your greased pan—no additional oil is needed for frying—and add ½ cup of the batter. Then you can turn the heat to high.” 
  5. Fry for three minutes.
  6. Cover the pan with a lid, then cook for an additional one to two minutes. “Look for the top to be full of little bubbles and the bottom to be golden brown and smooth,” Lowy said. 
  7. Slide the lachuch onto a plate lined with paper towels. 
  8. “Remove it from the heat if you’re using just one pan. Rinse the bottom with cold water to cool the pan, then dry it,” Lowy said. “Wait until the pan is completely cool before cooking the remaining batter.” 
  9. Continue cooking with a cool pan, stacking the finished lachuch on top of one another until no batter remains.  

“Serve the lachuch fresh, warm, or at room temperature,” Janine Lowy said. “You can also freeze them for up to a month; just be sure to wrap them well in plastic wrap, then reheat gently in the microwave.” 

Lachuch isn’t just a side to hot soups and stews. It can be enjoyed in many ways: “You can eat it fresh, right out of the pan—try dipping it in hilbeh, a Yeminite fenugreek sauce,” Janine Lowy suggests. “Or make it part of a hearty Israeli breakfast, with eggs, chopped salad, cheese, and hummus. You can even have it as a sweet dish—just serve it alongside butter, honey, cream cheese, and jams!”

Janine Lowy’s Recipe for Connection: More Than Just Lachuch

As we wrap up this culinary journey with Janine Lowy, we’ve savored the rich flavors and cultural tapestry of Israeli cuisine through her lachuch recipe. Janine’s love for cooking is a testament to the power of food in celebrating heritage and creating connections. 

For those eager to continue exploring traditional Jewish dishes, Janine’s comforting Israeli Chicken Soup awaits. It’s another cherished recipe that Janine shares with warmth, inviting us to nurture our bodies and souls with each spoonful. Discover the soothing embrace of her classic Israeli Chicken Soup and more of Janine’s culinary treasures that await you in the kitchen.

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