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Tue Feb 22, 2022, 11:33 AM

A return to vegetarian Jewish cuisine

About an hour has gone by: time to take the gefilte fish and carrots out of the boiling water. In another pot, I've got potatoes and pickles simmering in stock and brine; I stir in a hefty dollop of sour cream to cut the acidity and top the soup with a sprinkling of fresh chopped dill. Tomorrow, I'll be cooking a leek frittata for breakfast and schnitzel breaded with matzo meal for dinner.

I'm swimming in shtetl nostalgia – Ashkenazi Jews have been making versions of these recipes for decades. Gefilte fish (an appetiser made from poached fish), for example, has been a favourite since they first settled on the banks of the German Rhine in the 11th Century.

But there's a key difference. I'm making vegetarian versions of these dishes. And, in doing so, I know I'm closer to the traditions of my ancestors than I would be with the stacked pastrami sandwiches that have become the standard-bearer of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

For my Ashkenazi ancestors, the towers of meat you can find at the Jewish deli were nonexistent. Instead, their kitchens would be full of fresh, regional and seasonal vegetables, an assortment of pickles and, if they were lucky, some dairy. Meat and fish were expensive rarities until the industrialisation of meat production in the early 20th Century. That's why the gefilte fish I'm making now is a vegetarian imitation adapted from a century-old recipe using a purée of salsify (oyster plant), cashews and onion mixed with eggs and matzo meal, shaped into disc-like quenelles for poaching, then topped with one sliced carrot and sinus-clearing horseradish.

Instead of veal, the schnitzel is a cut of celeriac root covered in flour, egg wash and matzo meal that browns after a few minutes on a hot skillet – as instructed by an 84-year-old recipe.


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Reply A return to vegetarian Jewish cuisine (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Feb 2022 OP
jfz9580m Feb 2022 #1
Jilly_in_VA Feb 2022 #2
jfz9580m Mar 2022 #3
Jilly_in_VA Mar 2022 #4
jfz9580m Mar 2022 #5
jfz9580m Mar 2022 #6
jfz9580m Mar 2022 #7

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Response to jfz9580m (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 25, 2022, 10:04 AM

2. I can't do vegan at all

Tried it and found that a veg-grain-soy diet upset my innards considerably. I gave it a good try, too. Finally discovered that I'm soy-intolerant and that too much gluten also does me in. I tried adjusting for that and it just didn't work for me. That said, we go vegetarian for 6 weeks every year, plus fast days, because I'm Orthodox. I find that it does make me more conscious of what I eat and that we do eat way less meat and are conscious of where we get it and how it's raised. Much better all around. I do wish this article had included links to some cookbooks, but that's not the BBC way. As for fermented veggies, there's always kraut, pickled beets, and kimchi. Our local food co-op sells something called "white kimchi" which is amazing stuff. I eat it on hot dogs. Try it on a veggie dog! The brand is Sunja.

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Sat Mar 5, 2022, 10:47 AM

4. It's napa cabbage

which is a whole different thing. At least the one most of us know as kimchi is. But you can make kimchi out of anything, and Koreans do. Here's a site you may like. I use some of her recipes, although not the ones with tofu. She's great !https://thekoreanvegan.com/

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