13 Purim recipes to enjoy this year

A rather dark story-based celebration – but triumphant in the end – Purim (which literally means “lots”) centers on a young Jewish woman named Esther. As Esther rose through the ranks to become Queen of Persia, she kept her religious identity a secret from her husband, King Ahasuerus. With the help of her cousin and father figure Mordecai, Esther foils the plot of Persian Empire official Haman, who had planned to exterminate all Jews, by revealing his true identity to the king. Haman was removed from power, the Jewish people were protected, and everyone celebrated. There’s a lot more, of course, but even with all this biblical gossip, I can sense you wanting to comment, “just give us the recipes, already!” So I’ll be quick: Anyway, Purim is a party.

Purim is observed by dressing up as characters in the retellings of the story; give money to the less fortunate; sharing gift bags, or mishloach manot, with friends; and participate in the festive meal known as seudah, which involves lots of food and even more wine. (In fact, according to the Talmud, he is said to drink until one can no longer distinguish between the expressions “arur Haman”, or cursed is Haman; and “baruch Mordecha”, or “blessed is Mordecai” – but there is no obligation to in fact get sloshed.)

When it comes to food, some people stock up on legumes – the story goes that Esther ate vegetarian to ensure she remained kosher; while others prefer to eat turkey in reference to the extent of the kingdom at the time. Almost everyone partakes of hamantaschen (literally, “Haman’s ears”), the three-pronged cookies filled with jammy spreads, most often made from poppy seeds. (Depending on who’s translating, it’s a dark reference to devouring the story’s villain).

Anyway, with all that said, skip the wine and let’s get to the food.

1. Baghali Polo (rice with favas and dill)

This Persian rice and fava bean recipe is rich and hearty enough to be your main dish – and it’s an amazing recipe. If you can’t find fresh or frozen favas, substitute your favorite bean (lima beans are a great option).

2. Olive Oil Braised Chickpeas from Joy the Baker

You haven’t discovered the true potential of chickpeas until you braise them in olive oil. Believe me.

3. Sabrina Ghayour’s “Adassi” Persian Lentil Stew

This fragrant lentil stew is so perfect for dipping challah, you’ll probably want to make a double batch for leftovers tomorrow.

4. A jar of beans and greens

A pot of beans and greens is one of those low-effort meals that feels like a party. Bonus: it’s a budget meal (under $10!) that serves a crowd.

meaty dishes

5. Dry Brined Turkey from Russ Parsons (aka Judy Bird)

Purim is perhaps the only holiday outside of Thanksgiving where you get to roast a turkey. So why not go there? (Of course, if you can’t find turkeys this time of year, just follow this recipe with a large chicken.)

6. Ultra-Quick Roast Chicken with Garlic and White Wine Sauce

Embrace the wine part of this holiday with a roast chicken that begs for a cup of white (then divide the rest of the bottle among your guests). Chaim!

7. Sweet and smoky brisket

If you have meat lovers at the table, you can’t lose with a sweet and smoky beef brisket. This one nods to Texas BBQ but will capture the heart of any beef brisket fan.

Bread and pastries

8. Jessica Fechtor’s Five-Fold Challah

Some Purim-specific challahs will contain nuts or dried fruit, but you can still keep it classic with this recipe from Jessica Fechtor.

9. Lemon poppy seed striped bread

Play on the classic lemon poppyseed bread with this stunner from Resident Carolina Gelen.

ten. Hamantaschen with chocolate and poppy seeds

Traditional poppy seed hamantaschen warm up with melted chocolate in this cookie recipe.

11. Hamantaschen chosen by Joan Nathan

This hamantaschen contains dried figs, nuts, orange liqueur and citrus marmalade for a rich and tangy experience.

12. Hamantaschen pineapple

Make your own pineapple jam — or swap your favorite fruit — for this recipe. The result? Cookies that look like gemstones. What could be better?

13. Hamantaschen Chocolate

This chocolate hamantaschen could even be Continued exciting with a patch of raspberry jam in the center of each pocket. Just a thought.