The origin of the Chamin (Cholent) Chamin is a traditional Jewish stew. It was developed over the centuries to conform with Jewish laws that prohibit cooking on the Shabbat (Saturday). The pot is brought to a boil on Friday before the Sabbath begins, and kept on a hotplate until the following day. The dish is originated in ancient Judea and over the centuries various Jewish communities created their own variations of the dish.
In modern times Nowadays, chamin is one of the most popular dishes for the winter. The comfort, the aroma and its warmth making it the perfect meal for a cold rainy day. While each have their own version of the stew, I tend to play around with the recipe according to the produce that I have available – and it always turns out nice! (so feel free to improvise).
Beef or chicken? Chamin is traditionally made with beef! The slow overnight cooking allows the flavours of the various ingredients to permeate and produces its characteristic taste – making the beef so tender it melts in your mouth! However, sometimes you just have to go with the produce you’ve got and as I couldn’t find the right beef cut (and that’s one thing you can’t compromise on in this recipe), I had to go with chicken, which takes the dish to a different variation but it’s certainly still delicious!
Where do I get the ingredients? Most of the ingredients can be found in any local supermarket. Some of them, like Silan (dates syrup), Wheat or even sweet paprika – will be found in your local Turkish shop (or online for sure!). The beef cuts – Silverside, Short rib or Brisket – can be found in your local butcher (Please make sure you get the right cut as it has to be suitable for slow cooking).
The pot The chamin has to be cooked in a pot/casserole dish that is wide and tall enough, and is suitable for both the hob and the oven.
BEFORE YOU HEAD OVER TO THE RECIPE I would highly recommend reading it and understanding what you need to do. I’ll be honest, once you do get the idea behind it – it’s such an easy recipe with such minimal effort! It does take a long time until it’s ready and there are a few preps that have to be done the night before – but essentially it’s a whole meal in one pot and the flavour is totally worth it!
- 1 cup of wheat (soaked in water overnight)
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 can of white beans
- 2 tbsp of each: sweet paprika, salt, pepper, cinnamon, silan (dates syrup)
- 4 garlic cloves (peeled and whole)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 red onions (peeled and sliced into chunks)
- 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into chunks)
- 2 large potatoes (peeled and sliced into chunks)
- 600g Silverside beef OR short rib OR brisket OR chicken legs (if you chose beef, cut to cubes)
- 5 eggs
- Boiling water
Drain the wheat and add it in the pot (make sure the pot is suitable for the oven and the hob).
Add in the chickpeas, beans, garlic, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, silan, vegetable oil.
Place the pot on the hob (high heat) and stir for 5 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes, red onions and potatoes and continue to stir. Gently add the eggs (as a whole) on the stew, and then the beef/chicken on it, then stir gently. Cover 1/3 of the pot with boiling water, then place on medium heat and cover with a lid for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven on 100 degrees (fan).
Open the lid and mix the stew well. Cover the pot with baking paper and then with the lid.
Place in the oven for 12 hours. Serve hot straight from the oven.
- To reheat the dish, simply place it back in the oven for another 40 minutes on 100 degrees.
- when the chamin is ready, the liquid level should be even with the wheat. If the wheat is too dry, add more water. If there's too much liquid, take the lid & baking paper off and cook in the oven for another 40 minutes until the liquid evaporate.
- If you want to add a lovely flavour, fry the beef for 3-6 minutes, before starting the above recipe (doesn't apply on the chicken).
- You can make the dish vegetarian by removing the beef & chicken and adding more wheat and potatoes - still super delicious!