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Find Middle Eastern Spices in this NY Shuk

Find Middle Eastern Spices in this NY Shuk

Hankering for those complex Middle Eastern flavors? NY SHUK has created three jarred condiments that may end your search for those nuanced flavors that are difficult to achieve on your own.

Ron and Leetal Arazi’s harissa, tanzeya, and L’ekama, from their NY SHUK pantry, are so authentically Middle Eastern, so delicious, so flexible, that you may soon find yourselves counting on them as staples in your kitchen.  And they make it easy to be creative by posting a wide array of recipes on their website for inspirations.


If NY SHUK looks familiar to you it’s because I’ve often posted about their cooking classes and events in my Side Dish column. They are unique in a myriad of ways, including their expertise in hand rolling cous cous, an old world culinary treasure they brought with them from Israel via their experiences in their parents’ home kitchens. Leetal is the pastry chef, food stylist and photographer. Ron is the chef with training from culinary school and through his cooking in Israel, France and NYC.

Ron’s parents came to Israel from Lebanon and Morocco and Leetal grew up loving her Turkish grandmother’s cooking. Creating dishes that are deeply rooted in North African cooking was a natural for them.

They teach the art of hand rolling cous cous at various spots in NYC and Brooklyn and spent a couple of long seasons pleasing noshers at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg.

photo: Celine Choi
photo: Celine Choi

If you’re lucky enough to find a class with them, it promises to be a fascinating and delicious experience. I’ll keep you posted. For now, they have taken a hiatus from Smorgasburg and are fully focused on their products.

Here’s what’s in the shuk at this time.

Harissa– a garlicky chile paste often used in North African cooking, especially in Morocco. It can range from medium to spicy depending on the blend of chiles used. Coriander lends a subtle flavor. NY SHUK’s harrisa is coarsely textured, unlike some of the runny jarred versions on the American market. It’s not overwhelmingly hot;  I loved the subtle acidity from vinegar. Do I taste sweetness, too?

Swirl into lentil or  chickpea soup or stew, use as a rub on meat or chicken or mix into eggplant. In Israel, harissa is never far from falafel.

KLMTuna Salad With Harissa & Cure Lemon

Ready for a twist on same old tuna salad? NY SHUK mixes their tuna with harissa and chopped cured lemons. YUP.

L’ekama– literally means “spice mixture” and this one is a grand combination of 14 toasted spices, infused with garlic and chiles and preserved in olive oil.

KLMRoasted Eggplant Salad

Forget mayo or tehini as a mix in for this eggplant salad. Four tablespoons of L’ekama and equal parts EVOO will rock your summer eggplant in a whole new way.

KLMTanzeya, Caramelized Onions And Pistachios Over White Rice


And finally, there’s the sweetie called Tanzeya, a dried fruit medley of figs, raisin and apricots slow stewed with sugar and spices. It can lean sweet, paired with yogurt and granola or savory served over rice with caramelized onions and pistachios.

Shop the NY SHUK Pantry on their beautiful website and enjoy their super creative serving suggestions and easy recipes.

Coming up, they’ll be sharing hand rolled cous cous and tastes of their products at Lior Lev Sercarz’s spice lab/shop, La Boite, on May 16 from 3-7.  Click here for more info.

Kosher Note:  At this time, NY SHUK products do not have a kosher certification but all of their ingredients are kosher. The process for acquiring a kosher cert is expensive and complicated, which makes it very difficult for start-ups of this size. Their intention is to obtain a kosher cert in the near future.

Thank you to Ron and Leetal, who have responded to my many notes and inquiries over the last year or so. All photos are by Leetal Arazi unless other wise noted. They are copyrighted NYSHUK.

When Leetal offered so many recipes for me to share, it was a tough call. I landed on this bright and spicy Potato Salad to help you with your yearning for a non-mayo version as the summer heat approaches. This one is perfect for the outdoor buffet in the heat of those dog days.


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