New twists on old Jewish favorites

When it comes to kitchen, there is never need to reinvent standard, but there is no reason not to try and spice things up

Depending on where you are located around globe, the calendar may read Spring – if even the weather isn’t following suit. For many it’s a time of renewal and change. When it comes to the kitchen, there is never a need to reinvent a standard, but there is no reason not to try and spice things up.


There are Jewish foods that are timeless and universal, from bagels to blintzes, from cabbage to kugels. These classic pieces of cuisine are just that, staples that adhere to dietary laws and have been at the base of culture’s love of food for centuries.


With that mindset, as we stay aware of the past while heading towards the future, we present a few new twists on old Jewish favorites.

(Illustration photo: Mor Elzon)


Broccoli kugel

(from Joys of Kosher )



  • 1 (2-pound/ 500-gram) bag frozen chopped broccoli cuts, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Liberally grease a 9-inch (23-centimeter) round baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl place broccoli, mayonnaise, eggs, salt, black and cayenne peppers and mix well.
  4. Pour broccoli mixture into prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until set and edges are golden brown.

(Illustration photo: Yossi Selis) 


Cran-apple crunch kugel

(from Joys of Kosher )


Nobody will suspect you didn't spend half an hour peeling and slicing apples! The fresh, tart cranberries will totally throw them off, and they're the perfect balance to the super sweet pie filling.



• 1 (21-ounce/ 600 gram) can Comstock apple pie filling

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup margarine, cut into chunks
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray a 9-inch (23-centimeter) round baking dish or deep pie plate with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Place apple pie filling and cranberries in prepared dish, mix to combine and smooth into an even layer.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together sugars, flour, margarine and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple-cranberry mixture.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until crumbles are golden brown. This is best served right out of the baking dish.

(Illustration photo: Yael Ilan) 


Vegan leek and potato latkes

(from Vegetarian Times )


Boiling the potatoes in their skins keeps the flesh from absorbing extra moisture. Serve latkes with applesauce, if desired.


Dilled yogurt:

  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soy yogurt
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh dill



  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1½ lb/ 9½ kg)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for frying, if necessary
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts halved and cut into ¼-inch (½-centimeter) thick slices (2⅔ cups)
  • 2 tbs. plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 6 sprigs dill, for garnish


  1. To make dilled yogurt: Stir together yogurt and dill in small bowl; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Chill 1 hour.
  2. To make Latkes: Place unpeeled potatoes in large saucepan, and cover with 1 inch (2½ centimeters) water. Add salt, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender when pierced with fork. Drain potatoes, and rinse under cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
  3. Heat 1 tbs. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sauté 5 minutes, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until leek is soft but not brown, and liquid has evaporated.
  4. Peel potatoes, and mash with potato masher in large bowl. Stir in leek mixture and breadcrumbs, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Shape ¼ cup potato mixture into 2½-inch (6½-centimeter) patty, and place on plate. Repeat with remaining potato mixture until you have 18 patties.
  5. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 Latkes to pan, and brown 3 minutes per side, turning carefully with 2 spatulas so oil doesn’t splatter. Add more oil to pan if it becomes dry. Garnish with Dilled Yogurt and dill sprigs, if using.


Masala knishes

(from Wonderland Kitchen )


To make the dough:

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2½ cups flour


In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine water, oil, egg, and salt. Add flour and knead by hook or by hand until dough is soft yet smooth. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate while you make the filling.


To make the filling:

  • 3 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (adjust type and amount to your taste)
  • ½ cup peas
  • Cayenne and/or black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Additional egg for wash


Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.


Heat oil in large skillet. When hot, add mustard seeds and allow to sputter and pop for a few seconds. Then add curry powder, garam masala, garlic, and onion and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened (about 10 minutes).


Pass cooked potatoes through a ricer (or mash with a fork) and add them to the skillet, as well as the jalapeno peppers, peas, and salt and pepper. Mix well and continue to cook until peas and peppers have softened. Remove from heat and set aside. When cool, adjust seasonings as needed and stir in egg and parsley.


To assemble and bake the masala knishes:


When ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).


Remove dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions. Roll the first piece into a 20″ by 10″ (50x25) rectangle. Spread half the potato mixture along the bottom edge of the dough and roll it up to the top, ending seam-side down. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the log into 10 2-inch (5-centimter) pieces and lay them out cut-side down on the baking sheet.


Using your fingers, pull the other side of the cut dough up and over the top of each knish and pinch together, pushing down slightly in the middle of each and shaping gently into a round as needed. Don’t worry if some potato filling escapes through the top or is exposed on the underside. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.


Beat egg with a little water and brush over top of each knish.


Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Serve with tasty chutneys, such as this much-recommended cilantro version.

(Illustration photo: Daniel Lailah) 


Hot and sour matzo ball soup

(from DNA Info )




For the stock:

  • 1 4-5 pound (1.8-2.3 kg) chicken
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, split in half
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf


For the soup:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tough end and leaves removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 tbs. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai chili, seeds removed and chopped (optional if you want extra heat)
  • 1 knob of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (about a tablespoon)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sugar Snap peas (two handfuls)
  • Shitake mushrooms (about 6 ounces/ 170 grams)
  • 1 chicken breast (from the stock), cut into large dice
  • For the matzo balls:
  • 5 matzot
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (black, if you can get them; toasted if you get regular)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbs. toasted sesame oil



For the stock (you can skip this step and use store-bought stock, but homemade is much better):


  1. Rinse the chicken and place in a large pot. Cover the bird with water and add the vegetables, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and rosemary.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low so that the stock bubbles lightly. The pot should be covered.
  3. After about an hour, carefully remove the chicken from the stock and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
  4. Carve off the breasts, legs and wings and then return the carcass to the stock. Simmer another 2-3 hours.
  5. Strain the soup, pressing the solids against the side of a sieve to extract all of the flavor.
  6. Allow the stock to cool and then refrigerate if you're making the night before.


For the soup:

  1. Heat about 7 cups of stock until simmering.
  2. Heat a wok or medium pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemongrass and ginger and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add the chili garlic paste and cook another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and the green onions and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the matzo balls by breaking up the matzo into small pieces using your hands or a mortar and pestle.
  5. Add the eggs, sesame seeds, cilantro, garlic powder, salt, pepper and matzo as well as 1 cup of the hot stock and mix with your hands.
  6. Form the matzo into balls and place in the fridge for about 5 minutes to firm up.
  7. Carefully place the matzo balls in the broth and simmer for another 10 minutes until cooked through.
  8. Add the diced, cooked chicken breast and snap peas and cook another 3 minutes until the meat is heated through.
  9. Serve and garnish with some chopped cilantro.

(Illustration photo: Yaron Brener) 


Squash and chicken tzimmes

(from Eating Well )



  • 9 cups cubed peeled butternut, buttercup or hubbard squash (1-inch/ 2½-centimter cubes; see Tip)
  • 1 cup small pitted prunes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3½ pounds/ 1½ kg), trimmed
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place squash, prunes, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 centimeter) baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and place on top of the vegetables. Mix broth, orange zest and juice in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, basting often, about 1 hour more.


Tip: For quicker prep, look for cubed butternut squash in your market's produce section.


Gefilte fish loaf

(from The Huffington Post )



  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds (700 grams) boneless, skinless red snapper fillets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ cup matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • Accompaniment: Bottled horseradish



  1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Oil an 8.5- by 4.5-inch (21.5 by 11.5-centimter) ovenproof glass or ceramic loaf pan.
  2. Cook carrot, celery, and onion in 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch (25-centimiter) heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Cool to warm.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop fish. If using a food processor, pulse just until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl.
  4. Whisk together egg whites, salt, sugar, and pepper until foamy, then stir in fish, vegetables, matzo meal, and parsley. Spread evenly into oiled loaf pan and brush loaf with remaining tablespoon oil. Cover pan with foil and put into a larger pan half filled with simmering water. Bake until loaf is firm in center, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer loaf pan to a rack to cool, uncovered, then loosen edges from pan and invert onto a serving platter, then slice.


Cooks' note: The loaf can be made three days ahead and cooled uncovered, then chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life



פרסום ראשון: 08.14.13, 08:37
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