Yemenite Kubaneh Bread with Grated Tomato Dip

Yemenite Kubaneh Bread with Grated Tomato Dip

By Carol Ungar

(The Nosher via JTA) — Though the official tally on Shabbat meals is three (Friday night dinner, Shabbat day lunch and the third meal on Saturday at dusk called the third meal, or seudah shlishit), some people like to add a breakfast. The reason is largely practical.

Though sleeping in on Shabbat has a certain loveliness, and in many places synagogue services begin at 9 a.m. to accommodate the sleepers, the most pious Jews rise for prayer at dawn. In Jewish law this is regarded as optimal, as morning worship is timed to coincide with the rising of the sun.

When the early birds come back from synagogue they are hungry, but not necessarily ready to tuck into cholent at 8 in the morning — hence the emergence of the Shabbat morning kiddush/breakfast. This meal can be as simple as a glass of wine or shot of whiskey and a cookie, or as elaborate as the Yemenite kiddush of kubaneh or the Sephardi desayuno, an elegant dairy brunch featuring fresh salads, cheeses and pastries.

The Jews of Yemen would assemble a buttery yeast dough on Friday afternoon, leaving it overnight to bake so that it could be warm and fluffy for a post-services breakfast. Kubaneh can be enjoyed with a simple grated tomato dip.


10 servings


24 hours


7-8 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon dry yeast (25 grams)

1 tablespoon salt

3 cups water (approximately)

3 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened (the original recipe used ghee, which is clarified butter)

4 whole tomatoes

salt and pepper


Combine all ingredients except for margarine (or butter). Slowly add water.

Knead the dough; it should be soft and sticky. Cover dough and leave to rise — rising times depend on weather. In the summer it can rise in under an hour.

Punch down and let rise. Punch down a second time. Let rise again.

Divide dough into 8 balls. Cut margarine or butter into 8 pieces. Roll each dough ball flat so that it resembles a pita. Insert a ball of margarine in the center and fold dough around in the shape of a ball. Grease the walls in a large ovenproof pot and place dough balls inside. The dough should fit half the pot, so that there is plenty of room to rise.

Leave the dough for another hour to rise.

Cover with lid. Some people cover the whole pot with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (180 C). Lower heat to 230 (110 C) and bake overnight.

To make the tomato dip: Peel the tomatoes (you can poach them in boiling water and then peel, or just peel with a knife).

Grate tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with kubaneh.

These recipes are excerpted from Carol Ungar’s new book, “Jewish Soul Food: Traditional Fare and What It Means.”

Carol Ungar is a freelance writer who lives in Israel. She has written for Tablet Magazine, The Jerusalem Post and other publications. Her website is

The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at

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