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It's Time for Kugel

December 06, 1990|JUDY ZEIDLER | Zeidler is a free-lance writer and cookbook author. and

Recently many Jewish families have shown an interest in serving traditional foods during Hanukkah, and the old-fashioned kugel, one of the basic foods in the Jewish cuisine, is in style again.

The word kugel is of German origin and literally means "round"--or even "cannonball." The name has become synonymous with pudding, and the two words are used interchangeably. Most kugels are based on rice, noodles or potatoes. They are versatile and may be served as a side dish, main course or dessert, either hot or cold.

I have assembled some old recipes and some new ones for Hanukkah, which is observed for eight days, beginning this year at sundown next Tuesday.

The thin, crisp Classic Potato Kugel is a hearty accompaniment for brisket, pot roast or roasted chicken. Low-Fat Kugel, a custardy pudding with drastically reduced fat and calories, is a perfect dessert for a dairy dinner. Israeli Rice Kugel doubles as a dessert or side dish. The Kugel Souffle is surprisingly light and a good choice for a dairy brunch.

My personal favorite is the Holiday Fruit Kugel, accented with apples and raisins. You can whip it up in less than an hour.

Returning to traditional foods, your family will have a chance to enjoy the old-fashioned Hanukkah latkes (pancakes) fried in oil. You can also convert the kugel batter into pancakes by spooning some into a nonstick skillet and frying them in a small amount of oil, until browned on both sides.

Be sure to bake some cookies in the symbolic Hanukkah shapes, decorated with blue and white icing. For welcome gifts, wrap them in Hanukkah gift paper.

ISRAELI RICE KUGEL

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine

Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

3 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1/2 cup raisins

Beat together sugar, butter, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla in large bowl. Beat in eggs, 1 at time, until well blended. Stir in rice, mixing thoroughly, followed by pineapple and raisins.

Place mixture in 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

LOW-FAT KUGEL

1 (12-ounce) package wide egg noodles

3 eggs

Sugar

1 cup low-fat orange-flavored yogurt

1 cup low-fat (small curd) cottage cheese

2/3 cup nonfat milk

1/2 cup raisins

2 tablespoons corn oil margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Ground cinnamon

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Beat eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Add yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, raisins, margarine and vanilla and beat well. Mix in noodles. Turn into 2-quart greased baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to taste. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

KUGEL SOUFFLE

1/4 pound wide noodles

3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

Dash ground nutmeg

4 eggs, separated

1/4 cup minced parsley

Cook noodles in boiling salted water until barely tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and whisk until blended. Add warm milk all at once, stirring vigorously with whisk. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Transfer mixture to bowl and cool slightly.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.

Beat egg yolks in separate bowl until foamy and add to cooled butter mixture. Stir in noodles. Carefully fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Fold in parsley. Spoon mixture into buttered 8- or 9-inch round mold and place mold in pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until set. Unmold kugel onto large plate. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

HOLIDAY FRUIT KUGEL

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup Concord grape wine or apple juice

1 (12-ounce) package wide egg noodles

1/2 cup unsalted margarine

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

4 eggs, well beaten

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup cinnamon-sugar, or to taste

Soak raisins in wine 1 hour or overnight. Drain thoroughly.

Cook noodles in boiling water until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain. Combine noodles, margarine, apples and raisins in large bowl. Add eggs and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into well-greased 13x9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 375 degrees 35 to 45 minutes, until top is brown and crisp. Cut into squares. Serve hot or cold. Makes 10 servings.

CLASSIC POTATO

KUGEL

2 eggs

2 cups grated potatoes, rinsed, drained and packed

1 small onion, grated

1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salt

Beat eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Add potatoes, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, flour, baking powder and season to taste with salt. Brush bottom and sides of 8-inch baking dish with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Spoon mixture into dish.

Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer or until golden brown and crisp. Makes 8 servings.

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