About three months ago, I visited Cochin, a town with ancient Jewish roots in Southern India. There I met one of the city’s remaining Jewish women, who taught me to make crepes out of rice flour that were later filled with potatoes, Indian spices, and onions: an Indian blintz.
American Jews associate them with Eastern Europe, but they probably started closer to Cochin—in China (rice pancakes for Peking duck), India (dosa), or Turkey (pastels).
Most American Jews are accustomed to Ukrainian blintzes, stuffed with farmer cheese, browned in butter, and served with fresh berries. This is one of my favorite dishes for Shavuot, which starts May 14. The late spring holiday coincides with the time for milk, cheese, and butter, and therefore dairy dishes are traditionally associated with Shavuot. The holiday also commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai; don’t two blintzes, placed side by side on a plate, look like the famous stone tablets?
So, make blintzes this holiday, but avoid the frozen brands that have destroyed the flavor, or the processed ones with gloppy fruit fillings and starchy fillers. Watch this video and learn how to make the real thing.
Joan Nathan is Tablet Magazine’s food columnist and the author of 10 cookbooks including King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World.