The Tabernacle Times
Page 4
December 2013
Kislev - Tevet 5774

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Kosher Korner
The Tabernacle Kosher

Kasha Varnishkes

(Buckwheat Groats with Bow Tie Noodles)


By Brenda Storch, 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.
This is one of my all time favorite comfort foods when it is served with mushroom gravy.  For all of us in the Midwest, it can hold its own with homemade mac-n-cheese!!!


  • 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 (I have used Buckwheat hot cereal with good results)
  • 12 oz. bag of bow tie egg noodles (or, if not available, bow tie or corkscrew pasta)


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


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

Cabbage Salad

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.  But it freezes great!



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: Visit The Tabernacle Website at