This year at Passover, Rosita Goldstein will be thinking about her two oldest children, who—away at college and participating in work-study—are unable to get home for the first time to celebrate with their family. But, sitting at home in the tropical heat and winds of a typical Singapore spring, Rosita and Harvey Goldstein will not be alone: they will have no less than 47 of their family -including their two daughters- and friends joining to celebrate the Passover Seder!
As for the frequent Shabbat lunches, the Goldsteins host for the members of Singapore’s United Hebrew Congregation, the food at the Passover Seder will be a mix of the traditional Ashkenazi dishes of Harvey’s childhood in Brooklyn and Indonesian dishes from Rosita’s childhood, with global influences thrown in for good measure. They follow the customs of Harvey’s family and do not eat kitniyot—which means none of the rice that is a staple of most Asian cuisines.
In addition to matzo ball soup, gefilte fish in tomato and pepper sauce, brisket, and other recipes from Rosita’s cookbook, there will be less traditional dishes like baked salmon in honey-lemon sauce, chicken with spicy peri peri sauce, salad with cashew-lime dressing, and lots of desserts too.
One standout is the charoset. Though Rosita did not grow up celebrating Passover, this recipe builds on the ingredients and flavors of her childhood. The texture is particularly important to Goldstein. As she explains, “I like my charoset to be of a thick consistency, so it’s easy to scoop it with matzah without any dripping. Also, I serve my charoset in the pyramid shape, to remind us that we (Jewish people) were freed from enslavement by the Egyptians.”
Rosita’s Indonesian Charoset
Serves 40 people
- 1 pineapple peeled and chopped.
- 1 mango -chopped
- 1 medium size guava, chopped and discard the seeds.
- 1/2 cup of skinned roasted almonds
- 25 gr of gula melaka/palm sugar or substitute brown sugar
- 200 gr of dates, seeded
- Zest from 1 lime
- Juice from lime (more to your liking)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Put the dates, gula melaka and lime juice in the food processor and grind it until paste consistency.
- In the big bowl, put all the chopped fruits, chopped peanuts, lime zest, and date mixture, then mix it well with a spoon.
- Shape into a pyramid shape.
- Put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.