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Adefina Recipe Demonstration: Sephardi Food for Thought

By Hélène Jawhara Piñer

Published Sep 29, 2022

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(20 min) Adefina is considered the iconic Sephardic dish because it is one of the few explicit dishes mentioned in medieval sources. The name Adefina appears in Spanish Inquisition trials that date back to the 15th century and was used as an identity sign of Jewish practices. The word adefina is also found in poetry and literature to denounce the crypto-Jews for keeping their culinary practices. The diversity of the names for this dish, like adefina, hamin, trasnochado, caliente, and ani, also highlight the diversity of ingredients that were used to prepare this Shabbat dish.  

 

Different names for this dish and their meanings:  

adefina = buried/hidden, comes from the Arabic dafun with the same meaning, also known as dafina or adafina  

caliente or hamin = referring to a hot dish, caliente is hot in Spanish just as hamin is hot in Arabic and Hebrew  

trasnochado = because it is a dish that has been cooking all night until the next day, like in Spanish tras (after) noche (the night). 

  

INGREDIENTS 

1 pound fat beef meat with bone 

2 tbsp sugar 

 

1 cup fresh chard 

1 clove garlic 

1 cup olive oil 

1 tsp salt 

 

3 hard boiled eggs 

 

1 peeled onion 

1 head garlic 

1/2 cup soaked chickpeas (24h) 

1/2 cup black-eyed peas (4h) 

 

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon 

1/2 tbsp black pepper 

1/2 tbsp turmeric 

3 strands saffron 

2 bay leaves 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 tbsp salt 

 

1 cup ground beef meat with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
 

1/2 cup rice 

1 tsp turmeric 

1 tbsp olive oil 

1 clove garlic chopped 

1 strand saffron 

1 special cooking bag 

 

23h at 200°F 

 

Suggested reading:  

Sephardi: Cooking the History. Recipes of the Jews of Spain and the Diaspora, from the 13th Century to Today by Hélène Jawhara Piñer  

Drizzle of Honey by David Gitlitz  

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Hélène Jawhara Piñer is a PhD in Medieval History, History of Food, and a Sephardic chef. She has been awarded the Broome & Allen Fellowship from the American Sephardi Federation, and the David Gitlitz Emerging Scholar Prize from the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies. Piñer is the author of two books:

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