Sunday, 28 March 2010

Du'qe - Yemenite charoset for Passover

Passover is upon us and although I'm not religious I do enjoy the cultural aspects of holding a Seder. Some of my earliest food memories revolve around the edibles adorning a Jewish-Yemenite Seder table.

The charoset - my Yemenite family calls it du'qe [pronounced doo-keh] - is a paste to be eaten spread on matzos or as a dip for the ceremonial bitter herbs (we use parsley, dandelion and chicory/endive). Every family, every Jewish background (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Iraqi, Italian, Egyptian, etc.) has their own recipe. The Yemenite charoset differs from most other recipes in that it doesn't feature any fresh fruits (apple is most common), just dates, raisins, nuts and spices.

Oh, and once Passover has passed, any remaining charoset can be used as a filling for cinnamon rolls/whirls/buns or Danish pastry.

  • 180g almonds (the original recipe calls for equal parts walnuts and almonds, but as my wife is allergic to walnuts I'm just doubling the amount of almonds used)
  • 250g dates, pitted (I prefer the large Medjoul dates, as they are very soft and sweet)
  • 175g raisins
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (you can use white pepper as well)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • Orange juice (you could use pomegranate juice or sweet kosher wine) 
  1. Finely chop the almonds in a food processor, then pour in a large bowl
  2. Put the dates and raisins in the food processor and pulse, adding tablespoons of orange juice until it turns into a smooth paste
  3. Add the paste together with the remaining spices to the bowl with the almonds and mix well
  4. Add additional tablespoons of orange juice until you get the desired consistency for your charoset (some prefer it to be more of a solid paste, others like it creamier)
  5. Store in a jar or airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to be used (keeps well for a few weeks).
 Hag Sameah!

P.S. I doubt that I'll have any leftovers to try as a filling for cinnamon buns - my youngest son G loved his first taste of charoset so much he had to lick clean the bowl AND the spatula.


    1. I LOVE PASSOVER, in a foodly way. You've just made me love it a teeny bit more. Will definitely make this one!

    2. Thanks Zoe. I'll be posting another Yemenite Passover recipe today or tomorrow...depending on the depth of the food coma I'll be in after the actual Seder tonight.