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I read about the Poliva Halva spread you mentioned. Can you tell me what the ingredients in this product are? - Raymond Goldfield
The ingredients as written on the package are: sugar, sesame, vegetable fats, soya flour, vegetable gum (E-460), lecithin (E-322), flavorings. Should you want to know more about the product you can call this contact number: 08-921-0301.
Is kale available here in Israel? What is it called here? If it isn't available what can I use as a substitute? Thanking you in advance. - Sema Schwager
Kale is a member of the Brassica family, that is of the cabbage and related group of vegetables. The only commercially produced cabbages in Israel are the round white and red variety which are used variously for coleslaw or pickled red cabbage salad or boiled with a sweet and sour seasoning.
The green members of the cabbage family such as spring greens, collard greens, savoy cabbage and cavolo nero (an Italian dark green cabbage), which are such favorites in European and North American cuisine, are virtually unknown here. One exception is Brussels sprouts which I have seen seasonally in Israel and are available frozen.
I have at times gone to my greengrocer and asked to keep the green outer leaves of white cabbage, which they usually trim and throw away. This was to make a Florentine bean soup which calls for cavolo nero.
If your intention was to serve the cabbage as an accompanying vegetable, you might like to try, as a substitute, the local indigenous spinach, Mangold (called tered), which is like Swiss Chard. Cut the leaves away from the stalk, leave them whole, "un-chopped." Dip them in boiling water for no longer than a minute and serve with melted butter or margarine.
There is another cabbage-like vegetable that, though not really like kale, is a good accompaniment to a main dish where you might want a "green." This is Pak (or Bok) Choy, an exotic Far Eastern vegetable of the Brassica family which is to be found at most Mega branches during January and February. Pak Choy can be boiled plain in salted water or the leaves and stalks can be sliced coarsely, stir-fried and then seasoned with some soy sauce and pepper. Should you want to try to get Pak Choy and can't find it in the shops, here is a telephone number of the grower, Meshek Klapoach: 0505-455-376. Good luck in your cooking.