Sep 14, 2016  By Jewish National Fund  Category: Blueprint Negev,

In the JNF Kitchen: Chicken and dried fruit with tanzia

The #RecipeoftheWeek is a fabulous dish for Rosh Hashanah: chicken and dried fruit, that is guaranteed to bring you and your guests a sweet New Year. You can bring this chicken dish and its sides to another level, by serving it with tanzia, a kind of onion jam with dried fruit. A few tablespoons immediately upgrade any dish of rice, meat, or chicken.

Mas'uda Swissa
Both recipes are brought to us by Mas'uda Swissa, from Yerucham, a town in the Arava that's rich in culinary traditions brought by Jews from Morocco and Yemen. Yerucham and the Arava is a key town and region of focus of the JNF ‪#BluePrintNegev‬‬‬‬ intitiative.

Mas’uda was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and immigrated to Israel in 1963. She moved with other families who formed strong ties during their weeks-long journey; men organized a minyan (prayer group) and the women prepared food and took care of the children together. All the families decided to stay together once they'd arrive in Israel, no matter which town they would be sent to. And that town was Yerucham. 

"We all remained in Yerucham and I've lived my life among warm and good people who love one another and are happy to help. I love Yerucham. I raised seven children here, may they be healthy."

Before Yerucham had restaurants, its community saw a desire to bring visitors in and created a program that feeds, educates, and entertains travelers. They generated the hospitality industry out of their homes while telling guests about their culture and background and educating through recipes. Women whose children have left home host travelers in their homes for home-cooked meals -- some of the best in Israel! 

More on Yerucham:
Power of Women: Young robotics champs help Yerucham's star shine
Catch and release: Bird-banding in Yerucham brings unexpected joy

Hosting is part of the soul and tradition of the families in Yerucham and was an integral part Mas’uda’s upbringing. "When we were small, in my parent's home, may they rest in peace, we would always say that without guests, one does not eat. We never sat at the table alone." 

"All my guests are special. I always receive them with a smile."  

Enjoy this #RecipeOfTheWeek, and if you make any of these recipes, be sure to send a photo of your creation to or tweet it to @JNFUSA with the hashtag #JNFfoodie. We might share it! 



1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cup or 4 sliced onions 
3 tablespoons honey 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 tablespoon of chicken soup powder 
2 cups water 
1 cup dried prunes 
1 cup dried apricots 
8 whole chicken thighs (including drumsticks)

Tanzia (onion jam):

1 cup raisins 
1 cup dried prunes 
1 cup dried apricots 
1 cup dried dates 
3 large onions sliced into stripes 
1 cup sugar 
1 cup water 
1 tablespoons cinnamon 
1 cup whole walnuts 


Prepare the chicken: heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion. Add the honey, the cinnamon and the chicken soup powder. Add the water and bring to a boil. 

Add the dried fruit and bring to a boil.

Place the chicken thighs in an oven dish and add the dried-fruit mix. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook for 30-45 minutes at 175 C (350 F). Remove the aluminum foil and let cook for a further 10 minutes until brown. 

Health conscious and weight watchers may remove the skin before cooking – instead, smear the chicken thighs in olive oil before spreading the dried-fruit mixture. 

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the tanzia. Rinse and strain the dried fruit. Fry onions until brown. Add raisins, prunes, apricots, figs, water, and sugar, and bring to boil. 

Lower flame and add cinnamon. Continue boiling over a low flame for about 20 minutes until liquid has reduced.

Before serving, toast walnuts in oven, then sprinkle on top. Serve as an accompaniment to the chicken dish.