Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ben Gurion Rice -History

Ptitim (Hebrew: פתיתים‎) is an Israeli toasted pasta shaped like rice or little balls. Outside of Israel it is known as Israeli couscous or Jerusalem couscous. [1]

"Ptitim" were invented during the austerity period in Israel, when rice was scarce, in order to provide for the needs of the Mizrahi immigrants, for whom rice was a dietary staple.[1] Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, asked Eugen Propper, one of the founders of the Osem food company, to quickly devise a wheat-based substitute to rice.[1] Consequently, it was nicknamed "Ben-Gurion's Rice" by the people.[1]The company took up the challenge and developed ptitim, which is made of hard wheat flour and roasted in an oven.[1] The product was instantly a success, after which ptitim made in the shape of small, dense balls (which the company termed "couscous") was added to the original rice-shaped ptitim.

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From what I learned, the Sephardi and Mizrahi community laughed at these pitim. There just wasn't any replacement for rice for rice lovers.

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