cartoon by marc johns.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Traditional Jewish Food: Vegetarian Kishke

Might not look delicious, but sure tastes delicious!
Kishke.  (Sometimes spelled kishka.)  What is it you may ask?  For one thing, it's a fun word to say.  For another, it's yummy.  Kishke is a food traditionally made by the Jewish people of Eastern Europe.  It's not elegant; it's basically peasant food.  It is sort of like a sausage - a mixture of meat and often a grain stuffed into an intestine.  People eat it by slicing off a piece and smearing it on some bread or a cracker.  It is quite delicious.  Most people who have experienced the kishke have had it because they tried it at a deli.  It is pretty rare for people to still make kishke at home.  So!  Let's be adveturous!  This recipe is a vegetarian version of the kishke.  Instead of intestine, there is no lining.  It's a mix of carrots, onion, celery, and whole wheat flour (and other spices). This is a perfect example of what happens in cooking - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  You probably have all of the ingredients right now.  It doesn't sound too exciting, and it doesn't look too pretty, but if you close your eyes and eat it you get something sweet, spicy, a little crunchy and just delicious. It is nice to have kishke in your fridge and take some to have for a little snack now and then, and since this is purely made of vegetables and whole grains, it is an extremely healthy snack.  Even though it has a funny name and a sort of strange look to it, I really encourage you to give this recipe a try.


2 stalks of celery, trimmed
2 carrots, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups whole wheat flour (or as mush as needed to make a moldable dough)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Give the celery, carrots, and onion a rough chop and then put into a blender.

Ready to blend.
3.  Blend the veggies into a fine mush.  

4.  Top the veggie mixture with the spices and blend again.

Spices added.
5.  Add the flour to the veggie and spice mixture.

6.  Blend everything again.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and test it's texture.  It should be a sticky, moldable dough.  If too moist, slowly add more flour until the correct texture is reached.  Feel free to taste it too, and adjust the spices to your liking.

The right texture.  
7.  Put half the mixture onto a large piece of foil and roll the foil tightly around the mixture to make a "sausage."

On the foil. 
8.  Do the same with the other half of the mixture, creating two cylinders, and place on a cookie sheet.

Ready to go.
9.  Bake on the center rack for 1 hour.  You may slice and serve now. Alternatively, they freeze very well.  Also, many people like kishke crispy rather than as a spread.  If you do, slice the kishke into about 2-inch slices, put the slices on the cookie sheet and continue to bake until browned and crispy.  Makes 2 about 8-inch logs.  Enjoy!

The final product.
Recipe inspired by the grongar blog.


  1. I decided to check out kishka recipes, a food I've had maybe once or twice, because on Seinfeld, the character Jerry quips that Israeli soldiers use it like cyanide. And I know the self deprecating attitude Larry David and other Jewish writers have towards things that are Jewish. This recipe sounds good. If it were marked Sephardic it would suddenly have a lot of interest. I'll bookmark the recipe.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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