Kasha Varnishkes is my favorite food, and in my family we simply call it Kasha. Seriously… I say I am a pasta lover but if I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be Kasha. I’m so in love with Kasha that I named one of my cats Kasha. I think buckwheat can be an acquired taste as this isn’t something typical in an American diet. This dish is just so delicious that I made it for my roommates in college (who had never had anything like this before) and it was a hit!
Our Kasha Story
My mom and my grandma make the best Kasha. There are a bunch of different takes on this recipe and no two recipes are the same. My grandma is a first generation American and she is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and her parents are from Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland. Kasha is a typical Jewish Eastern European dish and transformed as it’s been passed down from generation to generation. You may find this dish on the menu at Jewish deli’s around the New York area (where Jewish people came to America through Ellis Island).
My grandma got this recipe from her mother, who got it from her mother and so on. She taught my mother how to make it, and then my mother taught me. This recipe has been in our family for a long time and not only is it just so dang good but it also has a lot of sentimental value for me. This recipe connects me to my Jewish ancestors from Poland and makes me feel closer to them even though I never got to meet them. My grandma’s parents were the only ones of their family to make the trek to America and unfortunately her Aunts and Uncles were still in Poland in the 1940’s when the Holocaust started. Our family branch is the last one to carry on this version of the recipe so it is all the more special to me.
I want to share this recipe with you all in the hopes that it will carry on and that it might be a new favorite for people who are unfamiliar with the recipe, or have never tried Jewish food!
What is Kasha Varnishkes?
Kasha Varnishkes is a traditional dish in the Jewish Ashkenazi community.
Kasha is comprised of Kasha (buckwheat groats), egg noodles (typically bow-tie/farfalle), onions, chicken or beef stock, and chicken fat.
Our version of the recipe has been lightened up a bit over the years – we no longer include the chicken fat. In place of chicken fat we use a rich and flavorful beef broth to give this dish its flavor. Kasha can also be found in a knish (another really delicious Jewish dish– a filling covered with dough and baked or deep fried).
To Make Kasha You Will Need:
Onions – I use large yellow onions for this recipe as they have the most flavor.
Butter – Make sure you use salted butter for this recipe, this is a very savory dish.
Egg – The egg in this recipe binds the Kasha kernels together.
Kasha – I only use Wolff’s Kasha for this. Be sure to use medium granulation! (If you are only able to get whole granulation you can still use it but the texture of the dish will be different).
Beef Bullion – Beef bouillon boils down to make beef broth giving the dish its flavor.
Salt & Pepper – We use lots of pepper! Pepper is really important for this recipe so don’t be stingy!
Egg Bow Tie Noodles – You can use any egg bow tie noodle but I recommend sticking with Streit’s or Manischewitz. You can find these in the kosher section of your local supermarket.
How To Make Kasha:
- First you will put on a large pot of boiling water to cook the egg noodles in and cook according to package directions.
- Chop your large yellow onions and add them to a deep skillet pan with 1/2 stick of butter.
- Cook onions until translucent, then set aside.
- While onions are cooking boil 2 1/2 cups of water and add 5 beef bouillon cubes. Stir water until the cubes are dissolved into a broth.
- Crack one egg into a medium bowl and scramble. Add 1/2 box of Kasha and mix until the Kasha is completely coated in the scrambled egg.
- In the same deep skillet pan you cooked the onions in cook the Kasha on medium, constantly spreading around with a fork.
- This step is very important, you want to cook the Kasha until it is separated and no longer clumped, you do not want the Kasha to burn.
- Once the Kasha is separated add the onions, remaining 1/2 stick butter, and beef broth. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pepper is very important for this recipe so make sure you use lots of pepper.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stir once about halfway through.
- The Kasha Varnishkes is done once the broth has dissolved and the Kasha is tender.
- Combine cooked egg noodles and Kasha mixture and stir well until combined. Add more salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!
Kasha Varnishkes à la Frohman
- ½ Cup Salted Butter
- 2 Large Yellow Onions
- 1 Egg
- ½ Box Wolff's Kasha Medium Granulation
- 5 Cubes Beef Bouillon
- 2½ Cups Water
- 1 Tsp Salt & Pepper
- 14 oz Large Bow Tie Egg Noodles Manischewitz or Streit's
- Prepare a large pot of boiling water to cook the egg noodles
- Chop onions & add to deep skillet pan with 1/2 stick of butter
- While onions are cooking boil 2½ cups of water and add 5 beef bouillon cubes, stir until cubes have completely dissolved
- Cook onions until translucent, then set aside in a bowl
- Crack one egg into a medium bowl and scramble
- Add ½ box of Kasha and combine until all of the Kasha is coated in the egg
- In the same pan that the onions were cooked in add the egg coated Kasha
- Mix Kasha in the pan on medium heat with a fork until the clumps start to separate. This step is very important! You are essentially frying the egg off the buckwheat kernels, you do not want the Kasha to burn
- Once clumps have dissolved and Kasha is separated add the remaining ½ stick of butter, onions, and the beef bouillon broth to the pan
- Add salt and LOTS of pepper! Stir once
- Cover and simmer 10 minutes until broth has dissolved and Kasha is tender
- Boil large egg noodles according to package directions
- In the large pot combine egg noodles and Kasha mixture and stir well until combined
- Add salt and pepper to taste, pepper is a very important part of this dish!
- Make sure you use salted butter for this recipe.
- Do not overcook the onions, you want them translucent not browned!
- During the frying of the Kasha step make sure you don’t burn the Kasha!
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