One of the Simanim or symbols used on the Jewish New year of Rosh Hashanah is a specific type of squash or gourd – known in this context as either “qara” or “kera” or “k’ra” or “kra” in Hebrew and Aramaic, this type of squash is otherwise known as spaghetti squash or calabash. Pumpkin, another type of squash, may also be used but traditionally many Sephardic or Syrian Jews prefer cooking spaghetti squash in a thick sugar syrup known as “shira”. For as long as I can remember, my mother, and then later on when I got married, my mother in law cooked up this pot of sweet golden threads known as “sillet”(pictured above in between the date and the apple).
As kids we knew that we would have rather be munching on Ring Dings and Devil Dogs, but as we grew up, we appreciated this once a year traditional treat for a sweet New Year.
Recipe for Sweet Spagetti Squash “Hillu”- Syrian Style Simanim for Rosh Hashanah
- 1 spaghetti squash
Puncture with a knife in several places. Place in a large pot with water. Boil for 25-40 minutes.
Remove from hot water and immerse in cold water to stop cooking.
Make sweet “shira” syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup of water
- dash of lemon juice
- Boil water with sugar and lemon juice 30 minutes till thick and syrupy.
- Shred squash till spagetti like. Drain in a colander. Add squash to shira syrup mixture and simmer and stir occasionally. Refigerate. My mother in law freezes it in a Tuperware. Stays nicely in the fridge. May sprinkle with pistachio nuts before serving.