Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Passover Recipes from the Caribbean

Surinamese Charoseth (from Dennis Ouderdorp)

Dennis writes, "The basis of Surinamese Charoseth is always ground coconut and sweet red wine. From family to family and from generation to generation, there are variations in the recipe. My family had the tradition of Surinam cherries to simmer before adding this to the charoseth. In the Netherlands, there are no cherries to be found of this taste, so it all disappeared. The Charoseth of my Grandma again differs with mine. But my mother still finds my Charoseth delicious. And that's what Passover is all about. The quantities Charoseth I make are not only for the Passover Seder alone. We were always accustomed to make the Charoseth for the whole week to eat with Matzot."

• 400 grams of ground coconut
• sweet red wine (half a bottle)
• raisins
• plums (dried)
• apricot (dried)
• cinnamon (powder or cinnamon sticks)
• ginger powder (ginger jelly isn’t easy to find kosher for Passover!)
• dates

If you don't like one of the ingredients, then it can be replaced by one of these (or they can be added, why not!):
• peach
• pineapple

Cinnamon must be present in the recipe. This is not only for the taste, but also to keep the Charoseth from going sour.

Ground coconut. Do not do buy a whole coconut, it will take you way too much time to grind the coconut flesh yourself.

Let the hard dried fruit stand 1 night in water in the refrigerator. This is to soften the fruit.

Day of preparation:
Cut all the fruit up finely.
Making the Charoseth shouldn't take more then 10 to 15 minutes (excluding the cutting and the preparations): Add the ground coconut in a saucepan. Add the wine and simmer on a low heat. Keep stirring so the coconut does not get stuck to the saucepan. Add slowly more and more coconut and wine. The balance must remain. Once you feel that the coconut and the wine are well balanced (not too dry nor too wet), add the other fruits. Keep stirring. Don’t bring it to boil, but maintain a nice balance (not too dry nor too wet). Remove from the heat. Put the Charoseth into a large bowl. Mix the cinnamon powder well through the Charoseth or place the cinnamon sticks in the Charoseth. This is not just for the taste, but also to keep it from going sour. Let the Charoseth cool off in the refrigerator.

Do not serve it too cold! If one takes the Charoseth out at the beginning of the Seder, it will be delicious once you get to the Seder-meal.


Gremshelish (Dutch Matza Fritters) from Recipes from the Jewish Kitchens of Curacao
6 matzas
4 eggs, separated
Grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plus 1 T. sugar
4 T. oil
pinch of salt
1-2/3 cups raisins
1 cup ground almonds
oil for frying
cinnamon/sugar mixture

Soak the matzas in water until soft. Drain and crush to a fine texture

Beat egg yolks with grated rind, cinnamon, sugar, oil and salt.
Add matzas, raisins, and almonds to the yolk mixture and blend well. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the yolk mixture.

Fry by tablespoons in hot oil until golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Like this recipe? Order the book Recipes from the Jewish Kitchens of Curacao for $15.00 from the Snoa at

Photo Credits:
Top: Surinam Cherries, photo by Laura Leibman
Middle: Wild Pineapples from Jodensavanne (Suriname), photo by Laura Leibman
Bottom: Fried Matza from


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