Wednesday, September 27, 2006

wonton ... ravioli ... no, kreplach!

this post is a bit of a continuation of my previous one: mr. chicken's day at the spa [see previous post about chicken soup].

to make sure i am ready for sunday's mid-afternoon meal which is called the "sé'udah hamafseket" [concluding meal (pre-fast)], i try to do a bit of work during the week after rosh hashanah. i have always dreaded this meal as it was the last chance to eat and drink for the next 25/26 hours. what always seemed to follow the next day was the infamous "yom kippur headache" and hunger pangs around 6 pm. in spite of hunger, what always felt worse was not being able to drink. i could handle not eating .... but the not drinking!! now, that was/is killer. more about this in friday's post about yom kippur.

one of the customs of the pre-fast meal is to eat chicken soup with the addition of a dumpling type food, called kreplach [yiddish]. kreplach are basically made from leftover meat/s stuffed into a pasta type dough and simmered in a soup, though they are sometimes fried. they are of a triangular shape and served three times a year: the pre-fast meal of erev yom kippur, hoshanah rabbah [7th day of the holiday sukkoth, which follows yom kippur] & purim.

so what about this funny sounding word, kreplach? where did it come from? here is the answer:

Yiddish kreplech, pl. of krepel, from German dialectal Kräppel, fried pastry, variant of German Krapfen, from Middle High German krapfe, from Old High German krpfo, hook (from their hooklike shape).

i am including a recipe and a little pictorial on how to make them. you may, of course, skip the dough making part if that intimidates you. just use a package of chinese wonton wrappers.

for a quicker version see here.


makes approximately 20 - 24; make filling first and bank on about 2 hrs for making these unless you have help.

recipe from Spice & Spirit
(Lubavitch Women's Cookbook Publications, 1990).

your filling may be made the day before and stored in the fridge.

1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup cooked chicken or ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp. matzah meal [or bread crumbs]

chop the onion and saute in oil for about 10 min. on med low heat. add the chicken or ground beef & continue to cook for 5 minutes. remove to a bowl and let cool 5 minutes. add the rest of the ingredients and set aside while you make the dough.

* * * * *

cook's tips: if you don't have a 3 inch [pareve] cutter, use a wiped-over 28 oz can of tomatoes to cut out the circles. you don't have to open the can; just press down hard.

the key to making these is rolling a very, very thin dough and letting the dough relax between rollings.

* * * * *


2 c AP flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder or soda

mix all ingredients together to make a dough and let it rest 1/2 hr to to 1 hr. 2 options: circles or squares. for circles: cut in 4 pieces and roll out each piece and cut into 3 inch circles and stack. or, cut dough in 2 pieces, let rest, and roll each half as thinly as possible. measure and trim edges to make a square. now use some math skills and figure out how to divide the whole thing equally, roughly based on 2 1/2 to 3 inch squares. cut them like a tic-tac-toe design. make sure they are all of the same size. this is the easiest way and you don't end up with many scraps.

place a krepl [singular of kreplach] on your surface in front of you and place a small teaspoon or so of filling in the middle. have a little dish ready of either water or some egg white reserved from the egg yolks used in the dough. with either your finger or a brush, smear some water or egg white on the bottom half at the edge, as though you were painting a happy face smile.

carefully bend the dough circle in half and press the seam tightly closed [otherwise it may open later].

now that that is done, place the krepl so that the round part is on top. then take one corner and fold it over in half [don't worry about stretching it]. wet it with more water or more egg white. fold the other corner over and press them firmly together so they stick.

and you're done! these should be simmered in salted water for about 15 - 20 minutes and then added to soup. they will float to the top of the water eventually, an indication that they are done or near-done. give a stir at the beginning to make sure they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. if not using right away, remove them and drain them on a tea towel or paper toweling. i freeze mine before i get to the cooking stage. put them on a tray and freeze until firm and then transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. later, just throw them in frozen [no need to defrost] to cook when you need them. you may also fry them after they are drained.

note that if you are using the wonton wrappers, they may be much thinner and require less cooking time. check after each 5 minute interval.
for more about kreplach and its cousins, read this interesting article [recipes included!] entitled, "the wide world of dumplings".


Ruth said...

The kreplach do look wonderful. My daughter makes her own - I, on the other hand, am too lazy and buy some at one of our local Jewish delis.

Thanks for sharing the recipe and "how to" photos - maybe I will try them after all.....Not this week though - too many other things to prepare.

Have an easy fast and a great year ahead.

burekaboy said...

i am lazy also. making them from scratch is a once a year thing. other times, i just buy them. i guess u need to "suffer a bit" for YK so 2 hrs of toiling is part of my contribution to it. i shouldn't complain, my friend's 83 yr old mother just made 200 of them! ha, and i complain after 24.

easy fast. g'mar hatimah tovah. ;p

stef said...

those kreplach look soooo good. i'm putting them on my list of "must-tries".

davemx said...

I hadn't had these since my grandma passed on- she was the only one who would make them!- but when I saw your recipe I couldn't wait any longer and finally got the courage to make them (yes, courage!).

It wasn't terribly hard or time consuming, maybe a couple of hours but perfectly worth it, they came out just like grandma's!

I used a pasta machine so the "wrappers" were extremely thin and I ended up having too many for the amount of filling... But that wasn't a problem, I just added a hard boiled egg to the filling and situation resolved!

And the best thing is that I got kreplach aplenty in the freezer and my craving is perfectly satisfiable at any time, LOL! I just throw 4 or 5 into a bowl of chicken broth and I'm done!

burekaboy — said...

stef - wow, i NEVER saw your comment! oops :( if you ever did try them, hoped you liked!

hi dave - thanks for your comment and feedback on the kreplach. it's one of those things that many a 'bubbie' (grandmother) spent hours making several times a year. at least, these days, we can freeze them. then again, i bet they got eaten quickly back then. i'm glad to read it brought a bit of your memories of your grandmother back to you ;)

when i made these, i did it all by hand; i since have a (parve) pasta machine (phew!). it's a lot of work doing it by hand. LOL, there's always the quick way i showed in another post to make them with wonton wrappers. leave it to the jews to use chinese products! hehe.

smart thinking to use hard boiled egg to extend the filling. i do it sometimes with chopped liver, etc. (which, btw, is excellent as an alternative filling for kreplach).

so now you're well stocked :)) enjoy them. also, you can fry them in a small amount of oil (defrosted first) until browned on one side and then add some stock - like maybe 1/4 c - and cover the pan to steam them like gyoza or chinese pot stickers. YUM :))