Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chinese and Jewish Hanukkah dinner



I was invited to a Chinese and Chosen Hanukkah dinner at Nicole Chan Ostrow's house in Maplewood, NJ.

Nicole's mom Kim Chan made salmon that was prepared Moroccan Jewish style. The recipe is from Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's "The Cookbook", and was inspired by a traditional Jewish dish from North Africa known as Chreime.

Every year, the Chan Ostrow family invites one of Nicole's friends over for dinner. Mitch, Irene and Eve have been their guests for the last two years. '

The evening was a blending of the cultures with signs of Chinese and Jewish traditions sprinkled in. Dinner was served Chinese family style and the pilaf rice kept warm under a Chinese style red rice container. For the Jewish side, ricotta latkes were eaten along with fried donuts for dessert.

"We bought a Jewish holiday cookbook when Nicole was three so we could start celebrating Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays with her," said Kim Chan.

The family also celebrates Passover, Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

Kim's family is from the Lower East Side and has witnessed the transformation of the neighborhood from Jewish and Italian to Chinese. Her father Jimmy Chan was one of the first families to leave Chinatown for the Lower East Side in the 1920s at the start of the depression.

I'll have more on Jimmy Chan's story in my next post.

-CC

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