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Hubbah - Stuffed Semolina Dumplings



My great-grandmother Sarah R.I.P, was a very talented woman and was well known among the Jews of Cochin, thanks to her elite sewing skills and her cooking skills. She was a quiet and modest woman who always spread warmth and love to everyone around her.

She usually used to sit in an oriental posture on the floor, with a huge aluminum bowl next to her feet, rolling out small, beautiful Hubbah dumplings in to the bowl. They were so delicate, with a perfect ratio between the filling that was cut and chopped meticulously, to the soft semolina shell that hugged it and kept its juiciness. The dumplings were thrown into a large pot with a turmeric yellowish sauce that was cooked slowly, for Shabbat delight.

The Hubbah probably immigrated together with the Jews who came from Iraq to Cochin a few hundred and maybe even thousands years ago, and she adopted the local tastes, raw ingredients and spices, and changed status and name from Kubba to Hubbah.

As I got married, I first encountered red sauce Hubbah which was very weird to me. My mother-in-law told me that her children didn't like the Hubbah in the traditional way, as they were explored to the Israeli kitchen, and preferred it instead of the traditional food so she was very creative and started to cook Hubbah with a sweet and sour red sauce and they really liked it...

The Hubbah with the red sauce is actually a Hubbah that was assimilated into the Israeli melting pot, changed tastes and somewhat changed its identity, you can say that it is the Hubbah generation that was born here in Israel. My children's childhood memories tastes will always be the Hubbah in red sauce, and preferably one that has been charred and burnt a little at the bottom of the pot, which adds crunch and a special aroma.

But I, sometimes look at the big aluminum bowel that is now at my house, missing the same Hubbah in yellow sauce, that will always hug me and wrap me in lots of love, just like she hugs what's inside her.

And in this stunning pot I bought both Hubbah's are lying there side by side the traditional one next to the young new generation, nostalgia and tradition next to fusion and innovation, childhood tastes of one next to the childhood tastes of another, love next to love.


Filling ingredients:

4-5 finely chopped onions

6 tablespoons of sunflower oil

3-4 boiled eggs

2 whole chicken breasts

3-4 medium potatoes boiled in water until soften

Half a package of chopped fresh cilantro

A handful of fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons of vinegar

Salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon ginger

+ A little of the above spices to season the chicken

1 hot green pepper (optional)


Ingredients for the dough:

1.5 cups of water

1/3 cup of oil

1 flat teaspoon salt

1.5 cups of semolina

1/2 cup plain flour

(Tip: it doesn't matter what amount you prepare - use the same measuring cup, the ratio is the same and precise)


Ingredients for yellow sauce:

3 tablespoons of oil

1 onion sliced into strips

1 sliced tomato

1 sliced zucchini

Leaves from two chopped celery branches

2 chopped garlic cloves

Green hot pepper (optional)

2.5 cups of water

Salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 can of coconut cream (optional)


Ingredients for red sauce:

3 tablespoons of oil

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

Salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

2 tablespoons of vinegar

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

2.5 cups of water


Filling Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot

  2. Fry the onion until golden. Stir occasionally

  3. Add salt, black pepper and turmeric and finally the coriander and vinegar

  4. Set aside to cool

  5. Peel the potatoes and cut into tiny cubes. The potatoes should be cooked but not too soft. The texture should be of cut cubes and not like mashed potatoes.

  6. Peel the eggs and cut into small pieces

  7. Season the chicken breast with the same spices

  8. Fry with small amount of oil in a pan from all sides until the chicken is ready. I use a lot of pre-cut thin schnitzels.

  9. When the chicken cools down, cut it into tiny cubes

  10. Add the mint leaves and all the filling ingredients to the pot with the onion, and mix together and adjust the seasoning to taste


Dough preparation:

  1. in a small pot, boil the water and oil with salt

  2. Lower the heat and gradually add the semolina while mixing quickly until the water is completely absorbed and there are no lumps

  3. Turn off the heat and cool

  4. Add the flour gradually and knead until you get a soft and pleasant dough

  5. Cover and set aside to rest for a few minutes


Make the dumplings:

  1. Make small balls in the size of a Ping-Pong ball

  2. Make a hole in the center of each ball using your fingers, until a getting a kind of hollow ball with a form of a thin shell

  3. Put a heaping spoonful of the filling inside and with circular movements tighten and close the ball well

  4. Prepare all the balls this way.


Preparation of yellow sauce:

  1. Heat the oil in a wide pot

  2. Add the onion and fry until lightly golden

  3. Add the garlic and hot pepper and fry for a few more seconds

  4. Add the tomatoes and zucchini and fry for another minute

  5. Add the spices, honey and water (and the coconut cream) and bring to a boil

  6. Lower the heat and gently place all the balls next to each other in the pot so they don't fall apart

  7. Bring to a gentle boil again

  8. Lower the heat and cook for about half an hour

  9. Allow to cool slightly so that the balls solidify. (If eaten immediately, the dumplings may fall apart)


Preparation of red sauce:

  1. Heat oil in a wide pot

  2. Add all the dry spices and mix well for about a minute

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil

  4. Lower the heat and gently place all the balls next to each other in the pot so they don't fall apart

  5. Bring to a gentle boil again

  6. Lower the heat and cook for about half an hour

  7. Allow to cool slightly so that the balls solidify. (If eaten immediately, the dumplings may fall apart)

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