In the kitchens of the Baghdadi Jews of India, cooks blended Indian flavors with Jewish Iraqi recipes to create a new cuisine and a dialect of sorts called “kitchen Hindi,” explains Max Nye whose mother grew up in Kolkata. In “kitchen Hindi” words from Hindi, Bengali, Persian, Arabic and English are put together.
For Rosh Hashanah, for example, this recipe is called carrot meehta, which uses the Hindi word meehta, meaning sweet to describe it. “They borrowed different words from languages…. It kind of, in a way, summarizes their food as well. Their food is really a hybrid of Jewish influences, Middle Eastern influences, and Indian influences,” Max explains.
To learn more about Max, his community, and his Rosh Hashanah table, read the full story on the Jewish Food Society’s recipe archive.
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 medium onions, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 ½-inch piece of ginger
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 5 teaspoons of tomato paste
1 ¾ pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 ½-inch batons (if your carrots are thick, cut them lengthwise so they are all even thicknesses)
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Saute the onions for 15 minutes, until softened and starting to brown on the edges.
- While the onions cook, grate the garlic and ginger, or pulse in a food processor. Set aside.
- When the onions are ready, add the garlic, ginger, salt, garam masala, turmeric, ground pepper, and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir the mix for a minute or so before adding the tomato puree and tomato paste. Mix well to combine.
- Add in the carrots. Stir them in for a couple of minutes, making sure they are nicely coated in the sauce on all sides. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes with the lid on, stirring intermittently. When the carrots are easily pierced by a knife, remove from the heat and serve warm.