Breaking the Fast With Traditions From Around the World

September 29, 2022

As we prepare for Yom Kippur and the ritual of the fast, we are looking around the world for inspiration for the Break Fast. While noodle kugel and blintz casserole may be a fan favorite for some families and communities, there are many other traditions. Dietician and food writer Micah Siva has shared some tips with Reboot with inspiration from Break Fast menus of Jewish communities far and wide. Read more below and download our High Holidays Resource Guide here.

Many Jewish holidays revolve around a special menu, with the celebrations centered around sharing a meal. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a day for fasting. On this day, Jews abstain from both eating and drinking while they attend synagogue and prayer sessions to ask forgiveness for wrongdoings, and make amends. After a 25 hour fast, from one sundown to another, Yom Kippur traditionally concludes with a “Break Fast” meal at sunset.

In some households, the Break Fast menu includes brunch themed foods, like bagels, kugel, and blintzes. Not only are they easy to digest on an empty stomach, but they can be prepared in advance and quickly assembled or reheated. Israeli households often nosh on meals filled with yogurt and cheese. Greek Jews might stir up a pot of avgolemono soup, an egg and lemon chicken soup, and Iraqi Jews often break fast with Sabich, a cold eggplant and egg stuffed pita sandwich. 

Other traditions include Kuku Sabzi, a Persian baked omelet packed with herbs, and Malawach, a Yemenite flatbread layered with butter or ghee. Check out the recipes for those dishes below! Both can be made or prepared in advance for a restful and easy fast.

Kuku Sabzi Omelet
Serves: 3-4

Kuku Sabzi is a Persian dish made of eggs, fresh herbs, and spices, that is baked and served at room temperature. Kuku Sabzi is typically served during the Persian New Year Norwuz. The herbs are symbolic of rebirth, while the eggs are thought to symbolize fertility. Kuku Sabzi is often served with bread, yogurt, and/or salad. It’s the perfect dish for the Yom Kippur break-fast. 

¼ cup olive oil
2 cups flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
6 large eggs, whisked
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
½ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
Labneh, for serving 

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Generously grease an oven-safe pan or cast-iron pan with olive oil.
2. In a food processor, combine the oil, parsley, cilantro, scallions, and dill until finely chopped.
3. In a medium bowl, add the whisked eggs, baking powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. Whisk until combined.
4. Add the herbs to the eggs, mixing to combine.
5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set.
6. Let cool in the pan before serving.
7. Top with labneh.

Malawach (Yemenite Jewish Pancake)
Makes 8

Malawach is a buttery, flaky flatbread  thatYemenite Jews brought this recipe to Israel in the 1950’s. Malawach is typically served with a drizzle of honey, or as a savory breakfast with boiled eggs, tomato, and zhug. Malawach is made with a lot of butter, and no eggs or oil. The dough is stretched paper thin, and brushed with butter (or ghee), folded, rolled and knotted before cooking in a hot skillet. 

4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2  cups water
½ cup butter or ghee, melted and cooled

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Add 1 cup water, mixing into a soft dough. Add the remaining water, as needed. Knead for 5-6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth.
3. Cover with a damp cloth, and let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Using your fingers, press and push the dough away from the center and stretch until it is a large rectangle, it’s ok if it tears slightly! It should be thin enough to see some of the counter through the dough.
6. Brush the butter over the top of the dough.
7. Starting on the longer end, fold the dough over in 1-inch increments until you have a long rope.
8. Tie the rope into a knot, and knot again, tucking the ends underneath the dough.
9. Transfer to a baking tray, and cover with the cloth or plastic wrap for 45 minutes. You can store in the fridge until ready to cook.
10. When ready to cook, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into approximately 8-inch circles. Repeat with remaining dough. If not cooking immediately, layer with wax paper, and freeze in an airtight bag for up to 1 month. Cook from frozen.
11. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the dough, one piece at a time. Cook for 1-2 minutes or side, or until golden brown. Keep the malawach warm in the oven at 200F until ready to serve.

Micah Siva is a trained chef, registered dietitian, recipe writer, and food photographer, specializing in modern Jewish cuisine. Through her personal blog, Nosh with Micah, she shares Jewish-inspired, plant-forward recipes.

Enter the Break the Fast Giveaway!

Reboot has teamed up with Mica Siva to deliver you a delicious break fast! We will select one winner to receive a $72 Whole Foods Gift Card. Contest closes 9/16/22 at 12pm ET.

To enter you must:

  1. Follow @rebootjewish + @noshwithmicah 
  2. Complete the following form to download the Reboot High Holidays guide.
  3. For additional entries: Tag a friend in the comments on Instagram! (1 tag = 1 entry, tag away for unlimited entries)