What do you think of your neighbors? We love ours – in spite of the difference and the resemblance, each of them individually and all together they tell the story of Jerusalem.
We have decided to go down from the tower and visit our neighbors across the road, at the foot of the citadel, in a special location where a link between old and new is created, between ancient and modern, in the artists alley of Hutzot Hayozer – we visited “The Eukalyptus” restaurant.
“The Eukalyptus” is not just another restaurant. It’s offering a Jerusalemite journey crossing cultures, ethnic groups and places – through the palate, led by its unique head chef – Moshe Bason.
Moshe was born and raised in Jerusalem and his love for the city’s soil, the bible and the tradition is clearly noticable in each of his special Jerusalemite dishes. Where else would you find Hubeisa (mallow) gnocchi, stuffed figs in tamarind souse and Chamtzitzim (wood sorrel) soup?
Each of Bason’s unique recipes is nothing less than a human mosaic of Jerusalem: a endless collection of traditions assembled continuingly for years by the local city people – Jews, Muslims and Christians, and pilgrims from variety of ethnicities and cultures – all of which bring Jerusalem in its glory into your plate.
We decided to “taste” Jerusalem, so we went on a tour with the chef following one of the delicious Jerusalemite dishes in the restaurant’s menu- “Jerusalem Sage” – Jerusalem sage leafs stuffed with rice and abundance of herbs.
Like every good recipe, the dish’s story begins in a market and in this case- the “Falachies” (farmers) market on the Nablus road, the market is functioning as the main shopping route of the Jerusalemites within the walls, and in it you can find a whole world: herbs from the mountains of Jerusalem, unique spices, Jerusalemite pastries and more and more…
Walking the old city markets is an experience per se. these markets are beingn used by the people of Jerusalem for many centuries. Throughout the years the markets were a crowded lively commerce center where the city life was centered and the pilgrims arrived to.
Along the length of the market Jerusalemite Falachians seat surrounded with sacks, boxes and crates filled with an impressive variety of leaves and fragrant herbs that were picked that very morning. In this time of the year especially noticeable is the Jerusalem Sage, whose leaves can be collected in all areas of the Jerusalem Mountains.
After filling our baskets in fragrant sage, it was a short way back to the pots.
For the holiday coming up , the chef agreed to tell us exactly how to make these beautiful stuffed sage leaves, and the photographed recipe is right here:
Ingredients (for approx. 50 stuffed leaves)
- 70 Jerusalem Sage leaves
- 5 cups of rinsed rice
- 10 mushrooms, chopped and stir fried in olive oil
- 5 chopped onion
- 1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup of chopped celery leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 green almonds
- 2 tablespoons or more(to taste) olive oil
- 17 garlic cloves unpeeled
- Lemon quarters, roasted cherry tomatos
- Blanch the leaves for 20 seconds in boiling water, a handful at a time
Take out one leaf, check the rice, and leave it covered for 10 more mins.
Variation: add 300 grams of ground beef (neck or ribs).
27/3/2017, Recipe by Eucalyptus Restaurant, written and photographed by Ricky Rachman