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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> What is Chamin ?

Chamin (or hamin, (חמין) is a stew-like dish served at the Shabbat morning meal in Sephardi homes. The word chamin is derived from the Hebrew word חם"hot", as it is always served fresh off the stove, oven, or slow cooker. The source for the word comes from the Mishnah Shabbat where chamin refers to "hot [water]". In some parts of the Sephardic world, this type of dish is referred to as "s'chinah" or "sh'chinah" from another Hebrew word for "hot" (which, interestingly, is the origin for the name of the Egyptian plague of boils, "Sh'chin".)

Like its Ashkenazi equivalent, cholent, chamin is eaten on Shabbat morning to affirm the family's adherence to the Oral Law (Talmud) and the directives of the rabbinical sages. While the written Torah proscribes kindling a fire on the Shabbat, the oral law explains that one may use a fire that was lit before Shabbat to keep warm food that was already cooked before Shabbat. The Karaites, a splinter sect of Judaism, however, denied the veracity of Judaism's oral law and its rabbis, and only ate cold food on the Shabbat. To distance themselves from those whom they considered heretics, Rabbinical Jews therefore prepare such dishes as chamin and cholent, which improve in taste and texture the longer they cook, to eat hot on the Shabbat day.

The ingredients and spiciness of chamin varies from area to area. Sephardic Jews from Kurdistan, for example, first stuff whole vegetables such as green and red peppers, tomatoes, eggplant halves and zucchini with a beef and rice stuffing, and then place the vegetables into the pot beside pieces of kosher meat or chicken and chickpeas to slow-cook overnight. Iraqi Jews will stuff a whole chicken with rice and place it atop the simmering stew, this version is called tebit. Jews from Morocco or Iberia make a version called dafeena which calls for spices like garlic, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and pepper, as well as raw eggs which turn brown and creamy during the long cooking process. The Spanish "cocido" containing chicken and chick-peas is a likely offshoot of the traditional chamin of the Spanish Jews.

Sept 2005 - Sept 2013
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chamin.