[/su_brhrbr]Israeli salad (Israeli vegetable salad, also known as Arab salad) is a chopped salad of finely diced tomato, onion, cucumber, and bell or chilli peppers. “Distinguished by the tiny diced tomatoes and cucumbers,” it is described as the “most well-known national dish of Israel” and is a key part of a traditional Israeli breakfast.
In Israel, it is most commonly referred to as salat yerakot (vegetable salad), salat katzutz (chopped salad) and salat aravi (Arab salad).
Israeli salad is made of chopped raw tomato, onion and cucumber, and can also include pepper, carrot, spring onion (scallion), leafy greens and parsley. The salad is dressed with either fresh lemon juice or olive oil, or both. Za’atar and yoghurt are very common dressings at breakfast while sumac and tahini are common the rest of the day. Generally, the cucumbers are not peeled. The key is using very fresh vegetables and chopping them as finely as possible. The ability to chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into the “finest, most perfect dice” is considered a mark of status among many kibbutz cooks.
In Israeli restaurants and cafes, Israeli salad is served as an independent side dish, as an accompaniment to main dishes, or stuffed in a pita with falafel or shawarma. It was part of the traditional Israeli breakfast at home before Western-style breakfast cereals became popular, and remains a standard feature at buffet breakfasts at Israeli hotels, as well as in many homes.
The origins of the Israeli salad are traced by Gil Hovav, Israeli food editor and chef, to a Palestinian and Arab salad. He states that, “this salad that we call an Israeli Salad, actually it’s an Arab salad, Palestinian salad….” The idea that what is known in New York delis as “Israeli salad” is actually “Palestinian rural salad” is also agreed on by Joseph Massad, a Palestinian professor of Arab Politics at Columbia University, as one example of the adoption of Palestinian and pan-Syrian foods by Israel. Adopted from the Arab cuisine and popularised in Israel by the kibbutzim, variations on the basic recipe have been made by the different Jewish communities to immigrate to the country. For example, Jews from India prepare it with the addition of finely chopped ginger and green chilli peppers, North African Jews may add preserved lemon peel and cayenne pepper, and Bukharan Jews chop the vegetables extremely finely and use vinegar, without oil, in the dressing.
Other similar chopped salads found in the Middle East, include the Persian salad shirazi سالاد شيرازي (which includes mint, diced onions, and peeled cucumbers), and the Turkish choban salad; among others found throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt. The Indian subcontinent cuisine also includes a variant of this salad, called kachumber.
- fresh parsley, finely chopped
- spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- Chop all of the vegetables into small cubes.
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly and serve with optional garnishing.
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