Horseradish (chazeret). Photo: Shutterstock
Horseradish (chazeret). Photo: Shutterstock
Recipe

Horseradish (Chazeret)

Horseradish (chazeret) for Passover is an Ashkenazi tradition. Rather than bitterness, it provides a little punch to a cuisine largely devoid of spice

Chances are that if you’ve attended an Ashkenazi Passover Seder, you’ve seen this shredded, beet colored mound on the Seder Plate. Like all of the symbolic items of Passover, chazeret (bitter herbs) too has its role. It is commonly accepted that maror originally referred to varieties of bitter endive and lettuce that were widely available in the Mediterranean region. Most modern day Seders use lettuce as a close cousin, its leaves are not bitter but the white parts closer to them stem become more so.

Traditionally there were two types of bitter herbs placed on the Seder plate, however, in many Ashkenazi households, horseradish has taken the place of maror. There are several theories surrounding the replacement, one of which posits that since horseradish was more widely available than lettuce in Eastern Europe, it was a matter of practicality. Indeed chrain means horseradish in Russian.

But if you subscribe to the notion that more is more, then there is room for both bitter herbs and chazeret – though both perform the same role – which symbolize the bitter life of the Israelites in Egypt.

As a spread, sweetened and beautifully colored with beets, horseradish is a perfect companion to gefilte fish or matzo balls.

Ingredients for Chazeret

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kilogram) beets
  • 8.8 ounces (250 grams) horseradish root peeled
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups (400 grams) Sugar (you may not use all of it, according to taste)

Instructions

  • 1. Cook beets in their skins in a pot full of water for two hours. Cool, trim, peel and coarsely grate.

  • 2. Finely chop the horseradish root in a food processor (be careful the fumes may cause some burning in the eyes). Add the chopped horseradish root to the beetroot, and then add the salt and vinegar and mix. Add sugar gradually (stop when you reach the desired level of sweetness).

  • 3. Transfer to a sealed jar, store in the refrigerator and let sit, preferably for two days, to allow the flavors to combine.

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