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Mama Deb
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Kugels

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.

Comments

Chicken is another of the the ones that's rabbinical iirc. It's the someone shouldn't walk by and *think* you were eating meat and milk. I believe it's not been thousands ::grin::

It certainly has been thousands of years. It's talked about in the Talmud.

It is and it isn't rabbinic - chickens still have to be shechted and kashered and it would just get confusing otherwise - you'd need special knives and kashering equipment just for chicken, for example.

It's also not that someone will just think you're eating milk and meat - it's that they will then do the same, using beef.

Hah. I was wondering about gefilte fish cutlets. I remember now my grandmother actually stuffing the wish with similar thing. She used to cook it for all the holidays.

Yerushalmi is a lokshen kugel made with caramelized sugar and black pepper and is amazingly delicious.

Ooh, that sounds yummy. (I've never encountered that.)

I have an easy Yerushalmi kugel recipe that doesn't require the direct carmelization of the sugar. I like it because I haven't yet burned myself making it.

Thanks -- that does sound easy. (I must admit that when I read the ingredients I stopped and said "wait! where are the noodles?!". But then they showed up later. :-) )

That's a smart person recipe. Meaning that you assume all your readers are smart.

You didn't specify that the noodles be cooked. Now, I'd cook them and you'd cook them, and most people would cook them, but some people are not smart and would not cook them, and it would be way too crunchy.

Unless you mean them to be uncooked, in which case I am not a smart person either.

The noodles are, actually, not cooked. They sit in the liquid mixture for a total of about 1/2 hour, and so they absorb the liquid and get soft, but they're never actually boiled.

I'd have cooked the noodles and they would have been mushy. It didn't occur to me that they'd be uncooked until I wrote it down.

One of the things I like about the recipe is that it's a "do something and then forget about it for a while" kind of recipe. So I can boil the liquid ingredients, toss in the noodles, and then ignore it while I make my chicken or gefilte fish or whatever. Then I go back, put the eggs in, and do the veggies while it's sitting the second time. And then I put it in the pan and stick it in the oven with everything else. It's a good, satisfying side dish that I don't have to fuss with.

Oh, yeah. And only a couple of pans, too. And it's yummy.

Major pluses.

I was about to ask for a recipe, but hey! no need! :)

Time for a kugel recipe(s) post!!!

Yeah! I'm truly interested in the Spinach Kugel. I love Spinach! And I have a Yam Kugel recipe I wouldn't mind sharing . . .

Jeff Smith put schmaltz in a dairy kugel because chickens aren't fleish.

It was worse than that. He added the tablespoon of schmaltz for "that traditional Jewish taste". What traditional Jewish taste? The taste of issur (forbidden substance)? (Tasting much sweeter than wine)

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,
Not so fast. My mother still does that. She used not to use the bag, just form the kugel into a ball and put it in the cholent pot, just like her mother did. About 20 years ago, my brother Yossi persuaded her to wrap it in tin foil, to keep it dry, and we liked it better like that, so she still does so.

Noted. I haven't seen that in cookbooks, though (except for kishka), only in works of food history.

But it only makes sense to do it that way. Does the kugel still get flavored by the cholent, even with it wrapped up?

Yes, it does. Actually, it comes out rather like kishke.

Huh. That sounds very good.

See, I thought "pareve" was a sort of synonym for "kosher." I have learned something new.

Also, Yerushalmi sounds sort of like a creme brulee kugel, yum.

It's yummy - although there's no creme in it.

This is why I explained things.

I really need an icon for this. "It's a Jewish thing. If you have some time, I'll explain it to you."