More Kasha Love

February 14th, 2015 § 2 comments

Kasha (also known as buckwheat groats) is one of HG’s favorite foods. HG is always puzzled why it’s so seldom on restaurant menus (except for the rapidly diminishing number of Jewish “dairy” restaurants) and is so rarely used in home cooking. Simple to make. The kasha grains are mixed with beaten egg and sautéed until dried. A few cups of chicken broth are added to the saucepan and the mix is cooked until the grains become soft (Warning: Never overcook into a mush). HG likes kasha topped with fried onions and mushrooms (accompanied by a bowl of sour cream and plenty of ground pepper and sea salt flakes). Great topped with fried chicken livers and onions. Kasha Varnishkes used to be a staple in traditional Jewish eateries. In these kosher (non dairy) restaurants the mix of kasha and butterfly (farfalle) pasta would get an exhilarating hit of crisp fried onions and a big dollop of chicken fat. A young HG would accompany this treat with plenty of cold vodka and beer at Moe Dubiner’s eponymous non-kosher restaurant (long closed) on New York’s Stanton Street. It was a big favorite of the Jewish gangsters and gamblers who came to the restaurant for a late night snack. Kasha is versatile. Great in a big bowl of steaming chicken broth. Excellent as a filling in traditional blintzes (an egg crepe topped with kasha, rolled and then fried gently) or knishes (a flaky stuffed pastry). Best of all as an accompaniment to slow roasted beef brisket. Obligatory is lots and lots of savory gravy.

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§ 2 Responses to More Kasha Love"

  • Bonni Brown says:

    I accidently came upon your site tonight. I grew up in Brooklyn & lived on the Upper West Side from 1968-1977 at 85th/WEA then 85th/Riverside Dr. Looks like we frequented the same places, bought food in the same spots & probably walked past the same muttering people sitting on the Broadway “island” benches.

    Here in Florida for the past 3 years I’ve been recreating those wonderful items we used to buy at the old Jewish bakeries. I recently hooked a 2 year old child on “pletzels”, her mother thought she kept asking for “pretzels”…it would make my father smile!

    I’m enjoying your memories and writing style. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gerry says:

      Bonni Brown: Thank you for your gracious note. Are you baking “pletzels”? Wish I could taste them. They edge out bialys as my favorite old time Jewish breadstuff. I am sure the Hebrews of biblical time shouted: “Forget manna. Shower us with pletzels.”

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