Satisfy the Whole Family with Some Classic Israeli Schnitzel
One of the Jewish State’s favorite foods is the Classic Israeli Schnitzel – a chicken cutlet breaded and fried to perfection – and available almost everywhere.
Brought to Israel by Austrian and German Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution, schnitzel has quickly become a favorite of the local population and is now served in almost every establishment. While the original Viennese Wiener Schnitzel was made primarily out of veal, early Israel had no such access to such an ingredient so Turkey (and later Chicken) became the meats du jour of said fried delicacy. Along with the switch from veal to other meats, the recipe had to change as well, as cooking the meat in dairy butter would render it unkosher. Learn more about the laws of Kashrut here. Vegetable oil became the eventual replacement for frying and so the modern Israel Schnitzel came to be.
Schnitzel is made by coating a chicken cutlet with beaten eggs, dipping it on both sides in bread crumbs (or matzah meal on Passover when bread crumbs are prohibited) and spiced with a combination of paprika, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper or other various spices. It is then fried in a pan in a thin layer of oil. It is traditionally served with a lemon wedge on a plate or inside a pita with various salads/toppings. Sides can include mashed potatoes (dairy free), french fries (chips) and/or various Israeli Salads.
In Israel, schnitzel is a bit like hummus and falafel in the way it is sold and how restaurants/food stands are judged. Everyone has an opinion on who has the best schnitzel. The wide variety of schnitzel can be traced to different ethnic traditions, type of meat and tastes. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a very kid-friendly dish and my son is all about small schnitzel strips dipped in ketchup!
Classic Israeli Schnitzel Recipe
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cooks in: 10 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
- 2 lbs boneless chicken breast
- 2 cups plain unseasoned bread crumbs
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 large garlic cloves
- Vegetable – Canola oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pound chicken breast very thin, lightly beat your eggs, chop and then smash garlic
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix very well
- In a separate, shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, sesame seeds well. Salt and pepper if needed
- At this point you’ll need to heat a medium-sized skillet on your stove top on high with about 1 1/2 inches canola or vegetable oil. When its hot, reduce heat to medium and get ready to cook your Schnitzels. While the skillet is heating up, prepare a separate plate and line it with paper towels to put schnitzels on once they are cooked
- Take your chicken breasts, drench them (both sides) in your egg mixture until they are completely covered. Then move them to the bread crumbs/sesame seeds mix and make sure both sides are covered. Tip: The mixture is your “sticky glue” for the bread crumbs/sesame seeds mix. Use as much as needed, pat your schnitzels on the bread crumbs mix to make sure each is totally covered. You may need to add extra egg to your first mix if you run low/out of it
- Cook 2-3 schnitzels at a time in a single layer. Finished schnitzels are golden brown on both sides and cooked all the way through. Remove and drain oil, place on the prepared plate with paper towels
Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side with your condiments of choice.
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