Kreplach: Jewish Gyoza

Dumplings are amazing!
Of course putting a filling on a piece of dough isn’t a stretch of the imagination, but it does show that people do think alike, even when they live at different ends of the earth. I won’t get into the controversy about who “invented” dumplings! There are just so many varieties, and they are all good.
Dumplings make happy people all around the world.

G’hackknöedel—Austrian stuffed dumplings made with potato/semolina dough
also: Speckknödel—a German dumpling filled with cured meat
Gyoza—from Japan
also: Jiaozi—from China
Khao Krieb Pak More—rice flour dumplings with pork from Thailand
Kubbe—meat-stuffed semolina dumplings from Kurdistan
Manti—Turkish lamb-filled dumplings with yogurt sauce
also:Mandu = Korean
Mantou = Chinese
Manti = Central Asain
Maultaschen—German meat-filled pasta
Momos—Tibetan stuffed dumplings
Pierogi—Polish stuffed dumplings
also: Pirozhki or Pelimi—from Russia
and Varenyky—Ukrainian dumplings
Tortellini and Ravioli—from Italy
Wonton—from China

For our Erev Yom Kippur meal I made chicken soup with kreplach. Kreplach are Jewish ravioli, or in my case, Jewish gyoza: small squares of dough filled with chicken, beef, mushroons, potatoes, or cheese. Unlike gyoza, the dough is made with flour and eggs; don’t settle for using wonton wrappers—they just don’t taste right. The dough is similar to the pasta dough used for ravioli or other filled Itallian pasta. For my taste, the dough is extra tender due to the larger amount of egg in the dough. Kreplach are usually served in chicken soup at festive meals. Occationally they are served with gravy to accompany a roast. I’ve not tried, but I came across several recipes where the kreplach were fried and served with fried onions. Cheese kreplach can be fried and topped with jam or cooked fruit.
This recipe is from The Book of Jewish Food, by Claudia Roden—an excellent book for reading about Jewish cuisine and customs from around the word, and for cooking.

Kreplach

Kreplach for Yom Kippurmakes 24, serves 6
The Filling:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 6 to 8 ounces lean ground beef
    (I used ground turkey)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • My secret ingredients:
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander and the mearest dusting of cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley (I omitted this because my parsley went south)

Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the meat, season, and stir and crush the meat with a fork until it changes color. Let it cool a little, then put it into a food processor with the egg and parsley. Blend to a paste.
The Dough:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (or fill half an eggshell with water)
  • pinch of salt
  • egg white mixed with a little water for sealing

Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center.
Break the egg plus yolk (or plus water) into the well. Use a fork to beat the egg with the salt.
Using the fork, gradually draw flour into the egg. After a bit, it becomes difficult to use the fork and there’s no help for it but to use your hands.
When you can form the dough into a soft ball, remove it to a worktop and knead for a few minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Of course, you can use a food processor to make the dough, but this is such a small amount and I don’t like having to wash the extra equipment.
Roll the dough thin. I use a hand pasta machine, rolling the dough through the first and second settings a few times each to make the dough satiny and stretchy. You want the dough to be about the Making Kreplachthickness of wonton wrappers—don’t roll it as thin as your machine will go!
Cut the length of the rolled dough in half to make it easier to work with.
You want to cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch squares. Lay the pasta on your work surface and use a sharp knife to cut it in half along its length, then make cuts about 2 1/2-inches apart.
Dip your finger (or use a small pastry brush) into the egg white and water mixture and paint lines along each long edge of the dough, then along both sides of the long center cut, and along both sides of the short cuts.
Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each square. You can see in the picture how my filling is sort of oval shaped along the diagonals of each square.
Kreplach for Yom KippurFold each square diagonally to make small triangles, and squeeze the edges to seal.
Drop kreplach into plenty of boiling salted water and cook over meium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Start with a hard fast boil so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom of the pot, then turn the heat down when they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon. You can add a little oil to them if you must hold them for some time.
To serve, drop them into hot chicken soup. Note, if you cook the dumplings in the soup it will become cloudy.

Yom Kippur Dinner

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