Recipes: Plate up the 10 Plagues of Passover

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Recipes: Plate up the 10 Plagues of Passover

Discussion about the 10 plagues is one of the most important parts of the seder and the story of the Exodus. What better way to immerse ourselves in seder night than by eating our way through the plagues? Recipes by Ta'am - all serve six.

Plague 1: Blood

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

While chicken soup might be traditional for a festive feast, opening with tomato soup might just spark the question: ‘Why is this night different?’ Serve with herby green ‘frog’ matzah balls.


·         1.5kg fresh tomatoes (around 12 medium-sized tomatoes)— the reddest you can find. You can also use baby tomatoes.

·         ½ cup olive oil (plus a little extra for frying)

·         1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper

·         4 cloves garlic, crushed

·         30g (½ cup) fresh basil, torn

·         250-300g (5-6 cups) carrots, peeled and chopped

·         3 sticks celery, chopped

·         175g (3 heaped cups) onion, diced

·         1 vegetable, beef or chicken stock cube

·         2 litres boiling water

·         1 tin chopped tomatoes



Prep time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 2h 10mins

1.       Preheat oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F)

2.       Chop tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size. If using baby tomatoes leave them whole.

3.       Using a blender combine olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.

4.       Place tomatoes in a large baking pan and pour over the basil/garlic dressing. Mix to generously coat all the tomatoes and roast for 1 hour, stirring halfway through.

5.       In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, around 15-20 mins on a medium to high heat. Gently stir throughout to stop it catching.

6.       Crumble in the stock cube, stir gently and cook for another few minutes until the stock cube has dissolved. Remove from heat.

7.       Once tomatoes are ready, pour them into the stockpot (including all the cooking liquid) and replace it to the stove. Add one can of cooked tin tomatoes to help deepen the red colouring. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour.

8.      Once ready, blitz the soup in a food processor.

Plague 2: Frogs

Herby ‘Frog-tzah Balls’ (kneidlach)

Whenever the Egyptians tried to kill the frogs they exploded and multiplied. Serve each portion of soup with at least two matzah balls to represent this.


·         120g (1 cup) fine or medium matzah meal

·         1 tsp Pesach baking powder

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         Pinch of garlic powder

·         20g (⅓ cup) fresh basil, very finely chopped

·         20g (⅓ cup) fresh parsley, very finely chopped

·         4 eggs

·         30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil


Prep time: 30 mins | Chilling time: 1h 30 mins | Cooking time: 5-10 mins


1.       Combine the first four (dry) ingredients in a large bowl.

2.       Keeping a small amount aside for garnish, add in the chopped herbs slowly and combine­–you may find all 40g of herbs too much, but do make sure that your mixture is really green and herb laden.

3.       In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add the oil.

4.       Slowly pour the egg and oil mixture into the dry mixture and combine. If it feels too loose, add a little matzah meal a spoonful at a time until it can hold its form. Place the mixture in the fridge covered with cling film for about 30 minutes.

5.       Once chilled, form into small balls, about the size of walnuts. This recipe will make between 20 and 30.

6.       Place on a cling film-lined tray and freeze (preferably overnight).

7.       To cook through, fill a pan with boiling water and drop the matzah balls in, cooking for 5-10 minutes—you should see them fluff up. Drain and leave to one side to cool.

8.       Add to the soup when you serve it and use any leftover herbs as garnish.


Plague 5: Pestilence

Chicken Marbella
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple (serves 6)

Pestilence is all about the bones, as they signify the carcasses of the Egyptians’ livestock, their cattle and the animals which they looked upon as gods. This  adapted version of Ottolenghi’s Chicken Marbella is packed with Passover twists. Ottolenghi’s substitution of the more traditional prunes for dates is perfect for Pesach – most Sephardim and Mizrahim use date syrup or chopped dates for their charoset. Dates and olives were two of the seven species named in the Torah as being special products of the Holy Land; the ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ was almost certainly referring to silan, the date honey used in this recipe; and the red wine hints at the four cups we drink on seder night.

Vegan alternative: swap out the chicken for roasted aubergines. Full recipe at




·         6 chicken leg/thigh quarters

·         1 tbsp olive oil

·         1 medium onion, ribboned

·         2 red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced

·         ½ tsp salt

·         225g (1 cup) dates (225g pre pitted or 210g pitted)

·         90g (½ cup) pitted green olives (one small jar, drained)


·         1 tsp black pepper

·         3 tbsp olive oil

·         3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

·         3 tbsp red wine

·         10g (3 tbsp) fresh oregano

·         3g (1 tbsp) fresh thyme

·         2 heaped tbsp silan (date syrup)


Prep time: 20 mins | Marinating time: up to 12 hours | Cooking time: 2h 15 mins

1.       In a blender or using a hand blender, combine all the marinade ingredients.

2.       Place chicken pieces in a bowl, pour over the marinade and refrigerate for a few hours if you have time.

3.       Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F). In a large, deep ovenproof dish pour 1 tbsp of olive oil to grease.

4.       Layer in onions and peppers evenly. Add ½ tsp salt and mix.

5.       Sprinkle in ⅔ of the olives and dates.

6.       Place the marinade-coated chicken on top and scatter the remaining olives and dates, pushing them into crevices between the chicken pieces. Pour over remaining marinade and seal the dish with foil.

7.       Place in the oven and cook for 1.5 hours.

8.       Remove foil and cook for a further 30-45 minutes to crisp up the skin.

9.       Transfer to a large platter, carefully placing the chicken on top of the vegetables and dates, with the legs sticking up at sharp angles to make a feature of the bones.

Plague 6: Boils

Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Pickled Radish ‘Boils’

This refreshing tabbouleh salad is super simple to make, and with its zesty pickles on top, it is the perfect counterbalance to the rich unctuousness of Chicken Marbella. The cauliflower represents the soot that Moses threw towards the heavens to trigger the plague of boils. You can substitute radishes with halved cherry tomatoes but skip the pickling process.


For the Tabbouleh:

·         1 medium cauliflower

·         60g (1 cup) chopped parsley

·         20g (⅓ cup) chopped mint

·         ½ large cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped

·         100g (½ cup) pomegranate seeds (optional)

·         Salt and pepper

·         1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

·         Juice of a lemon

For the Boils:

·         5-10 radishes

·         Juice of a lemon

·         1 tbsp sugar


Prep time: 15-20 mins | Pickling time: up to 24 hours (for the Radishes)

1.       The day before you need the salad: Clean radishes, slice the tips off either end, then slice in half. In a lidded container mix together juice of a lemon and 1 tbsp of sugar,until the sugar is dissolved, then toss the radishes in the mixture, cover and leave in the fridge until needed. You don’t need the whole radish to be covered but if you feel there isn’t enough pickling liquid, add a little water.

2.       Quarter the cauliflower clean and dry thoroughly, before grating on the small-holed side of a grater. It should appear like a fine grain.

3.       If you have a muslin pile the cauliflower grain in and squeeze over a sink, because it can retain a lot of moisture (optional).

4.       Just before serving, in a large bowl toss together the cauliflower, the herbs, the cucumber and the pomegranate seeds (if using). Add salt and pepper to taste, a generous tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of a lemon.

5.       Top with the pickled ‘boil’ radishes and serve at room temperature.

Plague 7: Hail

Mango & Pomegranate ‘Fire & Ice’ Hailstones

“And there was hail, and fire flaming within the hail, very heavy, the likes of which had never been throughout the entire land of Egypt since it had become a nation.” (Exodus 9:24)

This recipe requires a spherical ice mould.


·         Handful pomegranate seeds

·         ½ Mango chopped into small cubes

·         Water


Prep time: 5 mins | Chilling time: up to 24 hours

1.       Fill the bottom of the ice mould with 3-6 pomegranate seeds and a 2-3 small pieces of mango. You don’t want them to be overfull, just enough to show the colour of fire through the ice cube. Then fill with water according to manufacturer’s instructions and freeze overnight.

2.       Serve in jugs of water or lemonade so they can really shine, or place one in each guest’s cup.


The Immersive 10 Plagues Seder Menu by Ta’am is available in print for free at Jewish outlets nationwide and downloadable at All recipes are kitniyot-free and veggie and vegan options are included.

A member of the Jewish Futures family, Ta’am is all about engaging Jews with their culture and heritage through food. For Pesach Ta’am has also developed a range of free downloadable meal and menu planners, as well as shopping and equipment lists.

All images are by Sophy Weiss Photography



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