It seems kind of funny to talk about traditional Yom Kippur foods—after all, we know Yom Kippur is a fast day: no eating or drinking allowed. But it is traditional to eat kreplach as part of the pre-fast meal.
So, what exactly are kreplach? Fried or boiled meat-stuffed1 dough pockets, often served in chicken soup. If you’ve never tried them—you’re certainly missing out, and this would be a good time to start!
To understand more about kreplach, what they represent, and when else we eat them, check out this great explanation.
If you’re new to making kreplach, or if you want to significantly lessen the time and work involved, you might want to use store-bought dough. When choosing which type of dough to buy (or make), decide first if you want to fry or boil your kreplach.
Boiled kreplach taste best in soup, and fried kreplach are delicious on their own, but also hold up in soup. If you’re set on boiled kreplach, use a ravioli-type dough. If you’re going for fried, you can use ravioli dough, wonton wrappers, egg roll wrappers or even puff pastry. Each will come out tasting slightly different, but equally delicious. (Yes, I’ve done it all four ways!)
If you’re not using prepared dough, I’d suggest making the dough first, allowing it to rest while you prepare the filling, and then cutting out your circles while the filling cools.
Kreplach are usually filled with ground beef or ground chicken. I used beef and added some diced, sautéed sweet potato to give them a lighter, more multi-dimensional flavor. So, for the filling you’ll need ground chicken or beef, onions, sweet potatoes, oil and salt. If you’re not fond of sweet potato, but still want to add a second flavor to your kreplach, try mushrooms, celery or carrots.
Sautée the diced onion and sweet potato on a medium-low flame for about 20–25 minutes. Add salt to taste. Then crumble in the ground beef and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Lay out your dough circles on parchment paper while the meat mixture cools off a little.
Spoon a small amount of filling onto the center of each round. It’s tempting to use more, but remember—it has to be able to close. If your dough was frozen (as mine was), make sure it’s completely soft before attempting to seal each krepel (krepel is the singular term for kreplach).
Fold over the top of each circle and press the seams closed. If the dough comes apart, dip your fingers in water and try again. Wetting the dough will help it seal.
To boil the kreplach, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop several kreplach in and boil for 4–5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let them drain.
To fry the kreplach, heat oil on medium high. Carefully drop the kreplach into the pan. Fry for 2 minutes on each side, remove, and drain on paper towel. The kreplach should be golden brown and crunchy.
- 40 dough circles. For boiled kreplach, use ravioli dough. For fried, use wonton wrappers, egg roll wrappers, ravioli dough or puff pastry. To make your own dough, try this recipe, or this one.
- 1 lb. ground chicken or beef
- 1 large sweet potato, finely diced or grated
- 2 onions, finely diced
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Sautée onion and sweet potato in ¼ cup olive oil. Add the salt.
- Crumble in the ground chicken or beef and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the fire and let the filling cool.
- Prepare the dough circles. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each. Seal edges tightly.
- To boil: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add several kreplach, boil for 5 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon. Continue until all kreplach are cooked.
- To fry: Heat oil to medium high. Fry several kreplach for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crunchy. Remove, and drain on paper towel. Continue until all kreplach are cooked.
Yields: 40 Kreplach
Note: Freezes well.
Serve in chicken soup, or eat plain. Keep your family out of the kitchen while you’re making these, or they’ll eat them straight out of the frying pan! (Of course, as the cook, you get to eat as many as you want.)
I recommend making more than you need and freezing the rest for Hoshana Rabbah, which is just a week or two away—September 25, 2013. You can freeze them fully prepared, defrost and dump in the soup. Or you can freeze them before you boil/fry, then just stick them in a frying pan or pot of hot salted water, and they’ll taste as fresh as if you made them that day.
Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast.
I purchased a pre-made, frozen dough for this recipe, but any ravioli dough should work.
I miss all of those delicious Eastern European dishes such as cholent and my grandmother's homemade kishke and gefilte fish and horseradish and rubbed radish with chicken schmaltz. Those were the days.
Wontons are easy for their shape, but are a bit troublesome to seal for boiling. You'll need to wet the edges and either press hard with your fingers or use a fork to seal.