Cholent - Lite from Down Under

There is nothing like waking up to the smell of a simmering cholent on a Shabbat (Sabbath) morning.

This is a dish that has blessed the Shabbat table of Jewish homes for over three millennia! Cholent is traditionally prepared on a Friday and cooked slowly overnight to enable a warm meal to be served on Shabbat day (Saturday). Why the cooking process begins a day early is because practicing Jews are not permitted to light a fire (gas-stove/electric range included) on the Sabbath. But it's also a great exercise in delayed gratification!

There are so many variations on the cholent theme. There is European, middle-eastern, yankee-style, and even my own truly health-conscious 'down-under cholent' which I want to share with you. Mine is 'cholent-lite'- healthy, light version, which is low in fat and cholesterol, quite atypical of traditional cholent recipes, yet high in taste, slow in haste, and will never go to waste.

I chopped onion
8 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 hot chilli (chopped)
1 carrot medium (grated)
2 sweet potatoes (each cut into eight)
2 potatoes (each cut into 4)
1 cup of barley
2 teaspoons of salt
2 table spoons olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in frying pan
2. Sauté onion, garlic & hot chilli for 3 minutes
3. Add grated carrots and continue to sauté for 2 mins.
4. Rinse the barley in a sieve (if you have been soaking the barley overnight remove the water and rinse).
5. Add all other ingredients
6. Cover with water and bring to boil
7. Reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes

If preparing this dish for Shabbat, do it spiritually right: place on a covered flame or hotplate to simmer overnight rather than on the flame itself. The flame is Gevurah (the energy of stricture). And Shabbat is dominated by a feminine Hessed (compassion and sharing). So allow Hessed to dominate by hiding the flame. Alternatively just cook in a crock-pot left overnight on a low setting.

On Shabbat morning, your home will be filled with an aroma that brings heaven down to earth.

Serving: for 4