Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb


I had this poll yesterday.

I wrote it because it seemed odd that the default for kugel was "sweet, dairy, noodle." Yes, it was the one my mom made the most often, but she also made a savory one out of fine noodles with salt and pepper that she cooked like a very large and thick pancake. And I liked that one better.

Mostly I buy my kugels, but I do make them, and they're always savory and meant to be side dishes. And no one else makes my spinach one.

For those who indicated they knew not what a kugel was (assuming they were not joking):

A kugel or pudding is, in its most basic form a main ingredient - shredded potato or vegetable, pasta, rice, even fruit - mixed with eggs and possibly matzo meal and probably oil and baked. Its primary function is to be not wet. It's a way of having a side dish for Shabbat that can be reheated on Shabbat morning, which you cannot do with wet food. Originally, it was cooked in a bag in the cholent (overnight stew for Shabbat lunch), which made it round - kugel being German for round - but we stopped doing that a long time ago, just as we no longer stuff the gefilte (meaning stuffed) fish back into the skin of the carp.

The language in the second question was yiddish - dairy, neutral and meat. The first and third are transparent, I think. Kugels can be any of the above - I'm pretty sure that classic potato kugels contain schmaltz, since oil was expensive in Eastern Europe and schmaltz was not. This is why there are people who do not eat sour cream with their potato latkes - just apple sauce. Their families may not use schmaltz to cook them anymore, but they did and it feels wrong for them to use sour cream. (Personally, I like a combination of both.)

The silliest thing I ever saw was a "Frugal Gourmet" episode where Jeff Smith put schmaltz in a dairy kugel because chickens aren't fleish. We've been considering chicken fleish for the past couple thousand years or so.

However, it's most common to find pareve, neutral kugels. Eggs, which seem essential as ingrediants, are pareve. We try to keep as many things pareve as we can these days. Makes life easier.

Kartoffle means "potato." Lokshen means "noodles". Yerushalmi is a lokshen kugel made with caramelized sugar and black pepper and is amazingly delicious.

And the trick to making a good lokshen kugel is matza meal.
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