At the multiple Middle Eastern eateries Einat Admony owns in lower Manhattan — the restaurant Balaboosta as well as the Taïm falafel franchise — the chef pays homage to her upbringing with remarkable care. Not only does she skillfully prepare honest renditions of the fresh and flavorful cooking she grew up eating, but Admony makes sure her dishes are nourishing too. “I treat my customers the way I treat my kids,” she says, “which means giving them good proteins, whole grains and keeping a vegetable focus.”
Israeli-born Admony grew up amid a panoply of Middle Eastern cuisines. At home, there were the dishes her Iranian mother and Yemeni father prepared; just beyond, Tel Aviv’s vibrant markets and vegetable-heavy dishes beckoned. This quinoa salad, a popular lunch staple at Balaboosta (the name is Yiddish for the perfect homemaker), is a testament to the superlative grain dishes Admony enjoyed in that city. Once cooked, the tiny ancient grains pop open. Then Admony tosses the quinoa with a mixture of chickpeas, preserved lemon, shallots, dried cranberries and fresh cilantro for texture and zest. Plenty of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil help season the dish.
“My mom …read more