Image via -Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews by Poopa Dweck
The Syrian Jewish custom of eating black eyed peas for prosperity goes back many generations to Aleppo, Syria. It amazed me that our grandmothers, some as young as 13 years old when married in Aleppo, came to this country over 100 years ago with not so much as a Farberware pot, yet they managed to continue our centuries old Rosh Hashanah culinary traditions. I often wonder how they were able to scour the streets of the lower East side, not knowing the language- and manage to find ingredients such as black eyed peas to celebrate their Jewish New Year as they had remembered their parents cooked back in Aleppo and Damascus. Black-eyed peas are rubiyah (in Aramaic and Hebrew) or lubiya (in Arabic), which are related to the Hebrew words harbeh, meaning many, and l’harabot, to increase.
Growing up, I remember holding up the fork full of loobiah (black eyed peas) and saying the “ZECHHOYOTANU KAROOBIAH” prayer while everyone joked that if we wanted to get rich that year we better chow down those black eyed peas ASAP.
This is my mother in law’s “LOOBIAH”- Black Eyed Peas Recipe for Rosh Hashanah. I’m sure many Syrian jewish women have different adaptations. Please send yours in to marlene(at)thejewishhostess.com so I can share it with Jewish Hostesses worldwide. (OR you can comment below).
We make enough loobiah to serve for the Rosh Hahsanah seder and then serve again during the actual holiday meal over rice.