Sitting down to a meal featuring the bright, bold flavors of the Middle East is one of my favorite ways to eat. Much of this exciting, vibrant food is on tremendous display in Adeena Sussman's cookbook Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen.
If you want to cook more Israeli food at home, your go-to tools — a sharp knife, cutting board, a variety of pots and pans — will work most of the time. But if you want to take it one step further, here are five tools Adeena recommends adding to your kitchen collection.
If you really want to be authentic when making falafel at home, then you need a Pal Ed falafel mold. This spring-loaded aluminum tool creates perfectly-sized balls of falafel batter for better frying and a uniform look.
Adeena writes in Sababa: "Invented by European immigrant Pesach Bash in the years following World War II, the device has become an icon of the Israeli kitchen, made in assorted sizes — even double molds for vendors in a real hurry — some even suitable for forming patties out of meat, fish, or vegetables."
Nut Milk Bag
Nut milk bags are made out of food-grade nylon mesh, and they're useful for straining nut milks or cold brew, like the Date-Sweetened Almond Milk and Cardamom-Cinnamon Cold Brew recipes in Sababa.
While you can strain these drinks through a double layer of cheesecloth, a nut milk bag is much easier to use and infinitely reusable.
For homemade couscous, you'll need a kish kash, or couscous sifter — a tambourine-like sieve with high sides and wide holes.
How do you make couscous with a kish kash? Push steamed, softened semolina though the sifter, where it "will fall out the other side like little perfect fluffy snowflakes," as Adeena writes.
Another DIY-friendly option? Use a rock-sifting pan! Adeena says this one "works like a charm."
For freshly grated lemon or lime zest, nutmeg, or Parmesan, you can't beat a microplane grater! This is an essential tool for all kinds of cuisines.
These glass weights keep vegetables under liquid during pickling and fermentation — useful for recipes like Pickled Red Onions (a great topping for a pita stuffed with seasoned meat!) and all kinds of other pickled vegetables.