Meatballs and Rice

Question: What berochoh is said on a dish of rice with meat sauce on top or mixed together? Is it true that rice cannot be the ikor because it is an inferior type of mezonos? What if the meat is the most exciting part of the dish (what a treat!)? Does that mean the shehakol covers the rice, too? Or should two berachos be made?


The five grains that are always considered ikor even if they are not the
most desired or the majority of the dish are wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats.
Although one should make a birkas mezonos when eating rice, it is not one
of the five grains and thus is not automatically considered an ikor.[1]

The normal principles of ikor and tafel apply. The primary food
(the one that the person about to eat is most interested in consuming) becomes the
ikor and the secondary food (the food that enhances the primary food) is
the tafel. One berochoh is made on the ikor and the tafel
(e.g., salad dressing on salad or ketchup with French fries) is covered by that

If it is impossible to determine decisively that one food is primary and the
other is secondary, since you are equally interested in both, then the quantity
determines which is the ikor. The food that constitutes the majority becomes
the ikor and the berochoh on that will cover the tafel.

In the case of meat and rice mixed together, each part stands independently and
generally neither is meant to enhance the other. Therefore, one should determine
which is the majority. If that is clear, then the berochoh on the majority
will cover the minority food.[2]

You ask whether rice, as an inferior grain, can ever be an ikor. If it
is the majority, it will become the ikor. Even if the greatest “treat” is
the meat, still the rice remains an independent food and not an enhancer, so we
will not apply the “most desirable food” principle. That is only used when the
tafel is added merely to enhance the primary food.[3]
In this case, the only factor in determining ikor and tafel is the

It is noteworthy that when one of the five grains is used in a mixture of foods,
none of the other factors just mentioned is relevant. For example, the appropriate
berochoh on a breaded, fried piece of schnitzel (chicken cutlet) is mezonos.
Although the primary, desired food is the chicken and the breadcrumbs merely enhance
the flavor of the chicken, which constitutes the majority of the mixture, the breadcrumbs
are the ikor.[5]

If the meat sauce is on top of the rice and it is eaten before any rice is eaten,
a shehakol should first be recited on the meat and when you reach the rice
a mezonos should be recited.

BookID: Chapter:


מ''ב סימן ר''ח סק''ל.

If the rice is the majority
and a mezonos is recited, that berochoh will cover a “real” mezonos eaten
afterwards such as cake for dessert. It is not necessary to have a bite
of the dessert before the main course in order to make the mezonos on a
“real” mezonos.


לתקנו או להכשירו, מ''ב הנ''ל.


עיין ביה''ל ריש סימן רי''ב ומ''ב סימן ר''ב ס''ק ל''א.

The only exception would
be if the breadcrumbs were added to prevent the schnitzel from burning but
not for taste. In such a case, the berochoh would be shehakol
and the breadcrumbs would be tafel. Similarly, the berochoh
on gefilte fish is shehakol since the breadcrumbs are added in order
to hold the fish together and not for taste or nourishment (see Mishna Berura

A cheesecake with a thin crust meant only to
hold the cheese together is different from a crust that is added for flavor
as well. A shehakol should be said on the former, whereas a mezonos
is in order in the latter case. Generally the crust adds flavor and
a mezonos should be recited. However, the example is instructive.

When a small amount of grain is added to a food
mixture, the berochoh acharona is al hamichyoh, but only if
one ate a kezayis of grain within kedei achilas peras. Calculate
how much grain is actually in the breadcrumbs or crust. If you have eaten
5 cc of grain within four minutes, you can make an al hamichyoh (see
first Biur Halochoh in 212).

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