Ktzitzot: Israeli Chicken Patties

Amelia Saltsman
Israeli chicken patties

Pan-fried ground-meat patties — especially from poultry — are one of the most beloved Jewish Israeli comfort foods (the other is chicken schnitzel). The term comes from the verb “to grind”; choose whole parts and ask your butcher to grind them freshly for you.

Cookbook author and radio host Lynne Rosetto Kasper advises a mix of turkey and chicken for a richer, capon-like flavor. If you must use white meat, add a little olive oil to the meat mixture to prevent it from drying out.

1 egg
¼ cup (15 g) finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs or cooked rice
1 pound (450 g) freshly ground chicken or turkey, or a mix
¼ cup (60 ml) olive or mild oil, such as safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed
  • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, onion, garlic, salt, paprika, cumin, turmeric, a few grinds of pepper, and the bread crumbs. Add the meat and mix gently but thoroughly. If you have time, chill the mixture for 1 hour or more.
  • Form the mixture into 10 to 12 patties, each about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. The patties may be made several hours ahead and refrigerated.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the patties and fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 7 minutes total. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Repeat with the remaining patties. Serve hot.

​Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine

Amelia Saltsman is the daughter of a Romanian mother and an Iraqi father who met in the Israeli army and immigrated to Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Her cooking reflects her eclectic background, with the diverse flavors and cultural touchstones that have made her award-winning first book, The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, a beloved classic. Amelia's name is synonymous with intuitive, seasonal cooking, and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by publications such as Bon AppétitCooking LightVegetarian TimesU.S. AirwaysFIt PregnancyThe Jewish Journal, and Los Angeles Times. She is a frequent guest on KCRW's "Good Food with Evan Kleiman" and a longtime advocate for small family farms. Amelia lives with her family in Santa Monica.