Did you know it’s a mitzvah to eat well before the Yom Kippur fast? Kreplach (Ashkenazic traditional stuffed noodle dumplings) are a delicious addition to the pre-fast meal.
This year, Yom Kippur starts on Friday evening the 17th of September, and lasts till Shabbat is over on Saturday night. Although the fast falls on Shabbat, folks must still cook in advance – not only the pot of something for the little ones, but a meal rich in carbs, light protein, and fluids, to eat before the fast. Fruit and veg are important, like our butternut squash stuffed with quinoa. And the traditional pre-fast soup with kreplach supplies a good part of the nutrition a body needs to get through the next 25 hours.
This recipe calls for chicken-filled dumplings served in chicken broth. But vegetarians can enjoy kreplach soup by using any savory filling (such as sauteed tofu, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms seasoned with fried onion) and a hearty vegetable-based soup. Vegetarians and carnivores both enjoy supplementing the soup with a light, yet high-protein dish like our Majadra recipe.
Kreplach: Jewish Stuffed Noodle Dumplings
Makes about 50
Saute 1- 1/2 cup ground chicken or turkey or beef in a little oil till the meat crumbles. If you have leftover cooked chicken from soup, measure out the same amount and mince it. Add 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro, 3 scallions, minced, and 1 tsp. onion juice.
To the minced chicken/herb mixture, add 1 beaten egg. Mix it well and add 1/2 teaspoon salt plus a few grinds of pepper. Keep the seasonings mild, as salty or spicy foods will make the mouth dry and cause discomfort while fasting.
Cover the filling and refrigerate it. Now make the noodle dough.
2 cups ordinary white flour
2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
a pinch of salt
1. Either put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center, mixing the beaten eggs in, or put all the ingredients in the food processor.
2. Add the water and the salt. If making the dough by hand, knead firmly for several minutes, until the dough is a uniform ball. Set it aside to rest for 15 minutes.
If using the food processor, add the water and the salt and process for 2-3 minutes on high. You should have a ball of dough. Cover it and set it aside to rest 15 minutes.
3. Cut the ball of dough into 4 pieces. Either roll each piece out by hand or force it through the pasta machine. Either way, you want the thinnest possible layer of dough, so that the filling shows through the delicate paste. The strips of dough should be about 1.5 inches – 4 cm. wide, although the exact width isn’t critical. A wider strip will simply make bigger kreplach.
4. Place teaspoons of filling at regular intervals along the dough. Cover the dough and filling with another thin dough layer. Press in between the fillings with wet fingertips, to seal the dough packages. Using a biscuit cutter or a knife, cut out rounds or squares.
5. Have plenty of salted, boiling water ready. Carefully lower kreplach into it. Don’t crowd the pan; allow the dumplings room to expand in cooking and float up to the top. This should take 3-4 minutes. The kreplach are done cooking when they’ve floated up and cooked 5 minutes.
May be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
Enjoy! And have an easy fast.
Photo of kreplach soup by Miriam Kresh
More good pre-fast ideas :
Miriam Kresh writes a blog on Israeli food at www.israelikitchen.com