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The Whole Foods Kosher kitchen

Got a Question for Levana?

Levana is here to answer all your food and health related inquiries! Just drop your question in the comments below, and she’ll get back to you in a jiffy.

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94 Questions

  1. Shirley Katz, on Said:


    Thank you for posting your recipes they be been a huge success with family and friend . In the past few weeks I have not been able to get to that site . I was was hoping its temporary .

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Shirley, do you mean my site? I checked over and over. It’s working just great. Let me know if you are still having trouble, but I think you should check on your end.

  2. Shar, on Said:

    I want to try your Chocolate mousse and Chocolate raspberry mouse recipes. However, many people cannot use alcohol in these recipes. What would you substitute?
    Thank you.

  3. Gracie, on Said:

    Can u please email me schedule of ur cooking classes for summer..
    excited t attend ur class thank you

  4. Marshall Kornblatt, on Said:

    Hi Levana
    I am looking for a source to purchase either dashi powder or bonito flakes to use in Japanese cooking. I cannot locate anyone in the United States distributing either product for retail sale, even though there is no technical reason why it should not be available as a kosher ingredient. Can you help me?

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Marshall So funny I was telling myself the exact same thing. I am looking into it, will let you know what I turn up. I bought a big stash some time ago, from a purveyor of sushi products, but I just ran out. Meanwhile, please check out they pride themselves on carrying absolutely all Kosher specialty foods.

  5. indra, on Said:

    i was able to follow all the steps on the lemon cake recipe n the right oven temp.
    but came seems like its not cooked from the inside.
    how is it supposed to be?

  6. Marilyn, on Said:

    With Pesach approaching and also my mother’s Yahrzeit, I could use some advice. I have had a severe onion allergy since childhood, I can eat garlic but no onion, leek, ramp, scallion, shallots, etc. Garlic lacks a certain enzyme, amino acid the others a have. What canI substitute for onion in making broths and roasts such as brisket? I really appreciate your input. I have friends who also have problems with onions and it is so hard for us, we have to do everything from scratch

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Lena. Of course. I buy stuff from Kalustyan all the time. All pure spices (meaning, not mixtures) do not need a hechsher. Then, all grains, all nuts, none of them need a hechsher unless they are mixed or prepared or processed in some way. It’s a terrific store

  7. Deana, on Said:

    Hi Levana:
    I made the Moroccan Chraimi Fish recipe tonight. In our small community no one knew what preserved lemon is? Please explain? What types of stores carry this?

    As a substitute you mentioned one thinly sliced lemon, is this with peel?

    Thank you,

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Deana please look in the recipe, where you will find the link to preserved lemons, very clearly explained. The lemon slices you substitute are unpeeled (skin on)

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Karmela, all I would do is use a good reliable sufganiot recipe, and use white spelt flour, using it in the exact same amounts of regular flour listed.

  8. rivkah krinsky, on Said:

    Hi Levana,
    Was great to see you at the wedding!!!
    I want to make your corn pumpkin pudding for thanks giving!
    can I sub the corn flour for another flour like spelt or oat or coconut
    and can i sub the sugar for maple or honey?Also I have 1 pumkin can can I put the rest cooked sweet potATOES?
    can one use canned corn instead of frozen?
    thanks Rivkah

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Same here Rivkah. I am afraid you are straying way too far from the original recipe, it just won’t end up being … my recipe. Just to answer your questions one by one:
      If you take out the corn flour, it won’t be as intensely corn-y as if you leave it in.
      Canned corn is worthless. Frozen corn is the best.
      Sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin is no problem.

  9. adina gati, on Said:

    Hi Levana,
    i am looking for poppy seed cake receipe just like they sell in israel bakeries. the real thing. do you know where can i get such good receipe. thankig you in advance.

  10. Ron, on Said:

    Hi! Beginner cook here! I got a simple recipe for stuffed chicken capons cooked with diced dried fruit and raw/dry israeli cous-cous inside. Can I substitute the israeli cous-cous with rice or something else? …. I’m not a fan of the Israeli style cous-cous. Thanks!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Ron I know just what you mean. For me to answer this question intelligently, I need to see the whole recipe. Please post your question and recipe on my FB fan page, for all to share the Q&A I’ll answer asap

  11. Chaya, on Said:

    Hi! i’m obsessed with your Whole Foods cookbook and your name is a now household word in my family for the past year I’ve been incorporating so many of my favorites into my cooking for my family, and my family is slowly acquiring the taste. I just realized that you have a site and can respond to questions. The Broccoli Cauliflower kugel- i made two for Succos and am freezing one, but i recall that it doesn’t freeze that well- becomes watery. I noted in book to prepare half recipe next time, but wondering about your thoughts on freezing this one. Good Yom Tov

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Thank you so much Chaya! I always hear this with pleasure. No don’t divide the recipe. As long as you are cooking, why not make the most of your time? Try and bake the kugel you intend to freeze in a shallower pan, (as opposed to narrow and deep, like a loaf pan) Your kugel should come out about 2 1/2 inches deep. Bring the frozen kugel to room temperature, and warm it UNCOVERED in a 250-300 degree oven until heated through. Warming it uncovered will help dispose of what little moisture might have formed during the freezing process.

    • Chaya, on Said:

      thanks, i appreciate your response! Just bought the California Gourmet Vegan chocolate chips from supermarket and they are insanely superior to those I have been using for years. I have been reading in your books, only the best chocolate, and never knew which one! After discovering your website, i now know which brand- May you be blessed with alot of siyata dishmaya from Hashem- i’ve made so many healthful changes since I got your Whole foods cookbook.

  12. Mindy, on Said:

    I am having a lot of difficulty finding za’atar spice that is kosher for Passover. Do you have any knowledge of where I can get it? If not how can I make my own?

    Also I still don’t have any coriander either. Is there anything I can substitute in the recipe in place of it

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Mindy it is just possible that no one manufactures zaatar for Passover, and that would just settle it. The ingredients to make it yourself are not made on Passover either. So: WE’ll enjoy Zaatar the rest of the year!

  13. Sarah J, on Said:

    Trying again,
    Can I cook the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Breasts ahead of Pesach, and freeze it?


  14. Sarah J, on Said:

    I’d like to make your Balsamic Roasted Chicken Breasts ahead of Pesach, and freeze it. Can it be done?

    Thanks, Sarah

  15. Elaine Israel, on Said:

    I have come across your book The Whole-foods Kosher kitchen. I really like it.
    I especially like the Moroccan influence .

    My question is about the mock crab however. I have never found a brand that doesn’t contain some “essence ” of real shell fish. All of the labels I read say…”contains up to 2% juice of crab or shrimp or lobster”…etc. Could you please tell me where I can find the imitation crab without this 2%?

    Thank you so much for this beautiful book.

  16. Henny, on Said:

    I would love a recipe for Halva cookies or Date maamoul to bake for my husbands upcoming birthday-his parents are from Tripoli/Tunisia and he loves his Savta’s home baked goods and I would like to try to make one kind.

  17. Henny, on Said:

    Can you suggest company name of good quality chocolate chips (parve) to use in the cookies I bake from your cookbook all the time? And where can I purchase it? Amazon? I am in Brooklyn. Thanks!!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Hi Henny, I use Callebaut, you can easily find it online. Otherwise, price club brands are terrific (shop rite, president choice etc)

  18. lisa Kerzner, on Said:

    I tried your spelt challah recipe, The challahs turned out to be very light. How do you prevent the challah from unraveling when it rises through the baking process. How do you keep the shape?

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Lisa the first thing to do is to adjust your expectations from regular wheat to spelt. Some minor sacrifices must be made in exchange for all the benefits of spelt. So the finished loaf will be less splendid than regular wheat, being lower in gluten. That said, quite a few people, including me, got fabulous results with spelt baking. Spelt is all I ever use for baking, absolutely everything, breads, cookies, cakes etc…. I have a chapter about bread baking you might find very useful

  19. lisa Kerzner, on Said:

    I tried your spelt challah recipe, The challahs turned out to be very light. I was wondering how after I braided the challahs and put it in the oven the braids start to unravel and break open. How do you prevent this from happening? Also, the challah rises through the baking process how do you keep the shape?

  20. Dianne, on Said:

    I would like to give my daughter a birthday present of attending a cooking demonstration. I did it a few years ago and loved it. Are you still doing it? If so please send me dates from Oct to Dec. & where they are being given. Thank you. Dianne

  21. cookie, on Said:

    hi. didn’t see this option and just emailed you. i was referred to your site this past pessach by someone i met. i made the dough for your oatmeal cookies with all the fixings. put it in the fridge to go out and run some errands. now i took it out and tried to mold them for baking. they are at room temp. the dough is not sticking together and is very crumbly. i’m used to making cookies with margarine. should i add to bind?
    i will not bake until i hear back from you


    • Lévana, on Said:

      Cookie Maven, this recipe is tried and true. Make it just as is, baking brings the cookies together, it’s a terrific cookie. When you emailed me I thought you were referring to my oatmeal chocolate chip coconut cookies, similar and delicious too, and cut out some of the flour in them. But for this oatmeal cookie, I would make no changes at all.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Nina So sorry I just got your message. What I would tell you is simply to make my steamed dumplings, and put any filling you like. Please go onto my timeline, and post your request there, I will post my dumpling recipe asap.

  22. Sara, on Said:

    Hi, i am beginning to panic about the marathon of holidays we are about to embark on,3 three day yom tov cycles. I don’t want to be grumpy in the kitchen the whole time–what are some good dishes we can make in advance and that are not difficult to warm up on shabbat.

    I need your menus and guidance!


  23. sofia, on Said:

    For the salmon tilapia roulade recipe..i have some questions, since I would love to try your recipe…
    you say: “Secure the rolls with twisters” what kind of twisters should I use?
    You also say that the rolls should be chilled to unwrap them…I dont understand…what do you use to wrap them, I thought the nori was enough to wrap them
    , how do you cook the logs wrapped?

    Sorry for my ignorance…lol
    and thanks in advance:)

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Sofia, you have these questions because this is a very simple but unusual recipe. The nori logs are tightly wrapped in plastic and tied with twisters (those foil twisters u use to secure bags), so when you place them in the water they hold their own and font fall apart. Take out the logs, put them in the refrigerator an hour or two, they will be firm. Unwrap them, and slice them. In other words, take the recipe 100% literally: it’s all there, all clear:-))))

  24. estresu, on Said:

    Hello I live in Uruguay, my father was from smirna and my aunts made boios, now they died and I thought I had the recipe but I cant find it, do you know the recipe? Love your recipes, thank you

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Batia just because i think many fans would love to share, i suggest posting your question on my fan page Facebook

  25. Harriette, on Said:

    I’ve had Saffron in my spice closet for some years now.(cool, & dark) Would like to know if it would be still useable. Thank you.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      I don’t know what to say to that, except this: Please try to use up your spices within a reasonable amount of time. There’s a million delicious dishes you can make with saffron.

  26. Athena, on Said:

    Hi Levana,
    My mom used to make a Moroccan dessert called fazwellos (not sure of the spelling) It was a very thin dough that was fried and became crunchy – she then sprinkle then with powered sugar and honey. Do you have any idea how to make them? I would love to recapture some of my childhood. They were delicious. Thanks. Athena

  27. Harriette, on Said:

    I recently came across a recipe using “shwarma spice”. Would you be at all familiar with this???(I have tried innumerable sites to no avail. Would appreciate any answer you might come up with. Thank You.

  28. Patty, on Said:

    Re your balsamic-roasted chicken breasts recipe. Your recipe calls for “medium boneless chicken breasts.” How many ounces do you recommend each chicken cutlet should be? I followed your instructions but my mixture isn’t very paste-like but more like a marinade. Did I run it for too long in the food processor?

    Thank you…and Shabbat Shalom

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Patty this won’t be called a cutlet at the butcher’s. It is the whole breast, boneless. I’ll say it will weigh about 1- to 12 ounces

  29. Jamie Margez, on Said:

    Hi Levana,

    I love all your recipes.. I have been in search for a traditional Moroccan dish that I simply cannot locate online…

    it is a veal roast with canned truffles and mushrooms..

    Any help would be much appreiciated!!



    • Lévana, on Said:

      Jamie where do you get the canned truffles? The Sephardi way is on a stovetop. It is super simple. Cut 31/2 pounds meat in chunks, place in a broad bottom heavy pot, cover with water. Cook on medium flame, covered, 2 hours. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and 2 good pinches saffron, 1 large can truffles and 2 pounds mushrooms, and bring to a boil again. Reduce to medium and cook, covered, one more hour. Remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Check the liquid in the pot, if its too thin reduce it on a high flame until its thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Pour this sauce over the meat. Serve hot.

  30. Leah, on Said:

    Where can I find kosher nitrate free deli? There are some recipes in your book I would love to try.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Leah I can’t answer that as I don’t know where you live. Some deli cuts always have nitrates, I don’t use them. Some others are cured the natural way and list “no nitrates”, those are the ones you should look for. Do a little shopping around until you find the store who cares about this enough to carry it.

  31. Cindy, on Said:

    I’d like to make your spice rub, but cannot find Tamarind Powder locally. Can I substitute something else? Amchur Powder (mango powder) was suggested to me by the owner of an East Indian restaurant.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Cindy Of course! The whole idea is to use something sour and bone-dry, so it can be stored with spices. Do you find dried lemon or lime powder? that would be perfect too! I don’t thing mango powder would have the tart flavor we want. If it does, then I’m wrong, go ahead and use it. If it doesn’t just skip it. But tamarind powder is very easy to find

  32. Nathalie, on Said:

    Hi Levana,
    I leave far from NY in a small town where Kosher caterers are not very experienced with Morroccan food. Could you point out a few fish recipes as I am planning my daughter Bat Mitzvah and would love to have a Kosher Marroccan meal (pareve). I also need to find a kosher place which could mail me desert such as sugars … I am originally from France and my ancestors from Oujda! Thx for your help.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Natalie all the more reason to learn to make it, so you are not stuck with a mediocre dish. If you have my latest book, you’ll become a pro in no time, and your caterer will come begging for your advice :-))

  33. Shirley katz, on Said:

    I want to make your balsamic roasted chicken. I love putting herbs in my dishes except for basil . Can you recommend a substitute ?
    Thank you

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Shirley Even though I would say the balsamic is the trademark of this dish, I see no problem using thyme (5-6 sprig) or rosemary (1 large sprig)

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Helen, Hot sauce is just prepared sauce made with hot peppers, vinegar and salt. I like Sriracha the best. Substitute: Just use a little cayenne pepper.

  34. Leah, on Said:

    Dear Levana,

    Just got a couple of your cookbooks and I search the web for your recipes also.
    My question is, I just prepared the pumpkin pudding recipe. I’m wondering if there’s a way to make it a side dish for Friday night.
    It’s chilling in the meantme. Also, if I have leftover can it be frozen for later use ? I think my 11 month old granddaughter will love it…..
    Thanks so much. Shabbat shalom.


  35. Aidel, on Said:

    Any ideas where I can find kosher goose breast? I’m in Montreal, but it’s for a relative in NY, so suggestions in either place are welcome!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Try prime butchers, they are the owners of prime Grill, and have recently opened a gourmet butcher shop on the upper east side

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Devorah, you can get orange flower water everywhere you find specialty groceries and Sephardi Groceries

    • Lévana, on Said:

      I know for sure it can be bought in Israel, Frenchies are so used to it. I’ll bet if you ask the question online, you’ll make some real inroads!

  36. Francine Flaks, on Said:

    When I made your challah the dough was very soft. I used my Bosch mixer and used whole wheat pastry flour. The dough did indeed rise very well but when it came time to making the braids, the dough was so soft that it was difficult to do. Did I do something wrong?
    Have a good Shabbat. Thanks.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Roll the ropes lightly in flour before braiding them. Sounds like you dfid the right thing down the line. How did it taste?