Traditional Jewish Dishes

Jewish cuisine comes from a rich history. With a story behind so many dishes, it’s exciting to tell newcomers to the table all about what they’re eating. Whether you’re in a culinary academy or are looking for a new dish to bring to a family dinner, give some of these traditional Jewish dishes a try:

Matzo ball soup: Matzo ball soup is a classic recipe that livens up traditional chicken soup. The matzo meal is packed into light balls a little bit bigger than a golf ball, with egg, chicken fat – known as schmaltz, club soda and salt. Traditionally, it’s a Passover Seder meal, but now it’s served all year round. Some matzo balls float in the soup, while others are denser and sink. There’s no correct way to make them. It all just depends on the chef’s preferences.

Challah: This braided egg bread takes about four hours to make, but it’s completely worth the time. Crispy on the outside, and sweet on the inside, it can be filled with fruit or chocolate chips, but it’s perfectly delicious plain as well. While it makes for great French toast, it’s typically reserved for Shabbat and holidays, and on Rosh Hashanah it’s made round instead of braided. Holiday family meals begin with the breaking of the challah.

Kugel: There are many ways to make this Jewish casserole: with noodles or potatoes, sweet or savory. A kugel served as side dish typically consists of potatoes, eggs and onion, while a kugel served as a dessert is usually made with noodles, fruits and nuts.

Latkes: Colloquially known as a potato pancake, latkes are fried in oil until they’re a perfect golden brown. They’re traditionally served during Hanukkah, honoring the oil that was only supposed to keep the menorah lit for a day and lasted for eight. Now that there is no shortage of olive oil, why not fry some crispy latkes in it?

Rugelach: It seems that every culture enjoys some sort of croissant-type pastry, and Judaism is no different. The dough is a little bit different than the classic flaky croissant, usually made with cream cheese or cottage cheese. Typically chocolate-filled, there are plenty of other variations of rugelach that are just as tasty. Some people use raisin, nuts or jam.

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