• Najwa Kronfel

Thanksgiving with NYshuk

Today I have a really exciting post for you, I’m pleased to introduce two super talented chefs and also very dear friends, Ron and Leetal Arazi. They moved from Israel to New York and in less than a year they created a company called NYSHUK, which has caught the attention of several media channels including The New York Times (front page of their dinning section), Serious Eats and most recently, Wall Street Journal, to name a few. But what is NYSHUK all about you ask? They are rocking middle eastern and north african cooking their way. 

Ron with his Moroccan influences, has mastered the art of couscous making, which I have drawn a lot of inspiration from, you might remember THIS post. Leetal, a pastry chef, puts her own spin on classic desserts inspired by her own family heritage. She is also a talented food photographer and stylist. 

Photo by Leetal Arazi

Both have started a line of products “NYSHUK Pantry” which are an essential part of middle eastern cooking. Ron and Leetal have put together several Thanksgiving inspired side dishes using their product which includes: Harissa, sun dried chili pepper spread. L’ekama, a spiced blend in chili and garlic oil. Last but not least, Tanzeya, slow cooked dried fruit and spices medley. 

This past Sunday, we did a collaboration photo shoot with Leetal and after that, we had a “pre-thanksgiving” celebration. All the dishes were so good, I’m making them again on Thanksgiving. 

Photo by Leetal Arazi

The passion they put into everything they create is truly inspiring, and they would love for people to be able to cook at home using the essence of middle eastern and north african flavors, in one spoon from their jars.


All recipes courtesy of  NYSHUK

Slow cooked wheat berry & harissa

1 1/2 cups wheat berry

3 1/ 2 cups boiling water

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp harissa

2 tbsp olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 300˚F. In a bowl, mix the boiling water, oil, salt and harissa. Inside an oven bag, place the wheat berry and pour in the water mixture then tie the bag. Fill an ovenproof pot with boiling water (1/3 of a pot). Place the bag inside the pot, cover with a lid and bring to a boil on a stovetop. Once the water has boiled place the pot in the oven for 4 hours. Remove the wheat berry from the bag and serve.

Lemon yogurt & sautéed cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower

½ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 ½ tbsp. L’ekama

For the yogurt sauce:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

4 tbsp. water

Place the yogurt, water, salt, lemon juice and zest in a bowl and whisk until combined. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets. Make sure to dice the stem as well. Heat a large non-stick frying pan to high heat. Add the cauliflower (make sure not to over-crowd the pan, if you can’t fit everything at once, sauté them in 2 batches) add the salt. Stir. After 2 minutes of cooking add the oil. Stir. Keep cooking for 4- 5 minutes. Add 1 ½ tbsp of the L’ekama (make sure to shake the jar well) mix well and cook for 2 more minutes or until the cauliflower is tender yet has a nice ‘bite’ to it. On a serving plate, place the yogurt, top with the cauliflower and garnish with chopped parsley.

Roasted Butternut squash with caramelized onion and Tanzeya

1 medium butternut squash

3 yellow onions

4oz NYSHUK Tanzeya

½ cup roasted sliced almonds

Canola oil

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Peel and cut the squash in half (lengthwise) remove the seeds and cut to ½-inch thick slice. Lay the squash on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt. Roast for 30- 40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife into the squash and there is no resistance. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Heat a pan to medium heat and add the onions. Start with a dry pan, and then add 1/3 cup of water and 1 tsp. salt, cover and simmer until the onion are tender. Once the onions are tender, remove the lid and maximize the heat, add 2-3 tbsp. oil. Keep cooking for a few more minutes until the water evaporates and the onions start getting a nice caramelized color. Using your hands break up the roasted butternut squash to large chunks and place on a serving dish with the caramelized onions and tanzeya. Carefully mix everything and top with the almonds before serving.

Popletas  (Harissa flavored potato dumpling filled with meat)

3 large Idaho potatoes peeled and cut to 6

2 tbsp Harissa

250g lean ground beef

4 tbsp. flour

4-5 eggs


canola oil 

Cook the meat until it’s brown and thoroughly cooked. Add 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp harissa. Lower the heat and keep stirring for another 5 minutes, set aside to cool. Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with water, add 1 tbsp salt and cook on medium heat until the potatoes are tender and can easily fall apart when you poked them with a fork. Drain the water and in the same pot, on low heat start to dry the cooked potatoes, mixing gently every other minute, making sure it does not scorch or brown, it should take around 4 to 5 minutes. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher. Taste for salt and if necessary add a little more. Add 1 ½ tbsp of harissa and mix gently. Do not let the mash cool down. In a small mixing bowl crack 1 egg and mix it using a fork. Add 1 tbsp. of potato mash and mix well. Repeat that 3 times to make the egg slowly heat and not to turn into a scrambled egg at once. Add it to the rest of the potatoes and mix until the mixture is uniformly bright red.

To form the patties, oil your hands and take about 2½ tbsp of  harissa mashed potato and spread it in the palm of your hand to about 3-inch round and about ½ inch thick. Place in the center 1 tsp of the filling, form the mashed potato into a ball, making sure the filling is well covered. Gently press the ball into a patty, set aside.

Heat up a frying pan with canola oil, 1½ inch deep on high heat but do not let the oil smoke. Roll the popletas in flour and shake the excess off of it. Roll all the popletas before moving to the next step. Break 2 eggs in a shallow bowl and mix well. Deep 1 popleta in the egg and put it straight in the hot oil. Repeat that 3 times. Once they have browned, and it should be very quickly, turn them around to brown from the other side. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve warm. 

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