The Tabernacle Times
Page 4
October 2012
Tishrei - Cheshvan 5773
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Kosher Korner
The Tabernacle Kosher

Kasha Varnishkes

Buckwheat Groats with Bow Tie Noodles
By Brenda Storch from Judaism 101

 

Brenda Storch is Messianic Rebbetzin of
The Tabernacle

Kasha varnishkes is commonly thought of as a holiday dish today, but it comes from very humble beginnings: a poor man's fare from our Eastern European heritage, made from simple, hearty grain and noodles. The word "kasha" is Russian for porridge, though it refers primarily to buckwheat porridge, the most common and inexpensive grain available. The origin of the word "varnishkes" is a bit more puzzling: it apparently comes from a Ukrainian word meaning "stuffed," and refers to the fact that the original Ukrainian dish was made by stuffing kasha into a shell, more like a knish or a pierogi. The Jewish version is made by tossing the kasha (buckwheat groats) with bow tie shaped egg noodles.

My recipe is below. The trickiest part of this recipe is locating the ingredients! They are often hidden away in the kosher section of your grocery store, if you have one. The most commonly available kasha is Wolff's brand. Kasha comes in various textures: whole, coarse, medium or fine. I like to work with medium, which sticks well to the noodles, but many swear by whole grain. Fine definitely gets too mushy. As for the noodles: both Manischewitz and Streits make suitable noodles (marketed as Bows or Egg Bows). If you can't find these, don't substitute regular egg noodles -- they don't have the texture needed to hold the kasha! Instead, substitute farfalle (bow tie-shaped pasta) or even rotini/rotelli (corkscrew pasta), which don't taste the same but hold the kasha well. Both Wolff's kasha and Manischewitz noodles are available on Amazon.com if you can't find them in your grocery store, though they are usually only available in 12-packs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 cup onions
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 12 oz. bag of bow tie egg noodles (or, if not available, bow tie or corkscrew pasta)

Equipment:

  • 3 quart pot
  • large mixing bowl
  • large, deep skillet (preferably non-stick) with a cover

 

Kasha Varnishkes

Preparation:

In the pot, saute onions in cooking oil until they are carmelized (browned and crispy but not burnt). Add the water or broth (carefully so it doesn't splatter), garlic, pepper, salt and butter or margarine and bring to a low boil. Turn it down to a simmer if it boils before you are ready
for it.

While the water is heating, beat the egg in the mixing bowl and mix in the kasha, stirring well until the egg is absorbed into and coating the kasha. Pour the mixture into the skillet at medium-low heat and stir constantly, breaking up any clumps that may form in the kasha. The objective is to cook the egg as a coating on the kasha, keeping each groat separate. Do not use any grease (oil, butter, etc.)! That will make the kasha mushy.

Pour the water and onions mixture over the kasha and stir until it is evenly distributed. Turn off the heat and cover the kasha skillet tightly. Let it sit and absorb the water for about 15 minutes.

While the kasha is absorbing the water, cook the bow tie noodles according to package directions. You can use the pot previously used for the onions (don't
even need to clean it first). Drain the noodles well.

Check the kasha. The liquid should be absorbed. If it is not, turn up the heat a bit to boil off any excess. Mix the kasha and the noodles.

This is commonly served with mushroom sauce or brown gravy, or just with butter.

This makes a lot of kasha varnishkes! It's hard to reduce the recipe, because it requires one egg, and how do you get half an egg? I've seen recipes that reduce it (and speed up preparation) by skipping the egg, but I would not recommend that. The egg keeps the kasha light, fluffy and intact; without the egg, the kasha becomes an oatmeal-like mush.

And it freezes great in individual containers.

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The Tabernacle in Branson The Tabernacle is an outreach of Tabernacle of Praise Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Tabernacle is led by Messianic Rabbi Jeremy Storch and is located in Branson, Missouri. If you have questions or comments, please email us at: info@TheTabernacleInBranson.com. Visit The Tabernacle Website at www.TheTabernacleInBranson.com