Some of the most important Ashkenazi dishes

Some of the most important Ashkenazi dishes

Through history, the Jewish food has been one of the most important things in the Judaism traditions. A lot of these recipes and preparations are considered vital in the Jewish holidays, due to their symbolism and significance. Within the Judaism branches, we can have the Ashkenazim, which has been through history a very significant division, since Judaism foundation. The Ashkenazi Jews, have currently some of the most traditional and meaningful dishes, maintaining the essence of their mores.

In this post, we will see some of the most important and recognized preparations from the Ashkenazi Jews, but first, it is important to know what this branch is, its identity, culture and other vital concepts about it.

Ashkenazi Judaism

This Judaism division is considered one of the most important ones in Judaism religion, due to their traditions and commitment with the Judaism demands and the sacred text directives. The first Ashkenazi communities appeared in the holy Roman Empire and since that time, this society has expanded around the world. One of the most important regions where these communities are since the Middle Age is Central and Eastern Europe, where they have made different contributions to science, arts, literature, philosophy, among other things.

After the Holocaust in the World War II, the Ashkenazi community dispersed around the world, arriving at different nations around the planet, like the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, among other countries. Currently, the major Ashkenazi society is established in the United States, with more than 6 million Jews, followed by Israel with more than 3 million, and Russia with almost 600.000 Jews.

The Ashkenazi Jews, are considered those with some of the most traditional Jewish values and custom, kept since the Middle Age. Their language is Yiddish, but they also speak Hebrew for sacred activities and events.

Knowing what this branch is and some of their traditions, then we can talk about their food and special dishes.

Kulich

This is a sweet cake, also known as Babka, and its origin is in Eastern Europe, more specifically in Russia, Poland and Belarus. It is made with a great amount of yeast and is filled with chocolate or cinnamon. Currently, this preparation is very popular in the American bakeries, especially in New York, Chicago or Miami, where the biggest American Jewish communities are.

Depending on the region, the Babka could have a cylindrical or braided shape. This cake has also a salty version, made with yeast, eggs, salt and water, and it is prepared mostly in Eastern Europe. The Babka is usually consumed in different Jewish holidays, but in the Rosh Hashanah is where this bread is mostly eaten.

Bagel

This famous bread has its origins in Poland, and it could be considered one of the most recognized Jewish preparations not only in the United States but in the world. This traditional bread has a ring shape and is made with yeast, flour, salt and water, and for its preparation, it is first boiled in water and then baked. Due to this cooking process, the Bagel has a crispy outside crust and a soft inside, giving to this dough an amazing texture, for which it is famous.

Currently, the Bagel has multiple varieties and recipes, and it could be eaten with ham, cheese, cream cheese, salmon, eggs, among other multiple garnishes. Moreover, this bread has multiple variations, like the Montreal-style Bagel, the pizza Bagel or the American Bagel.

Image courtesy of liz west at Flickr.com

Borscht

This red color soup is considered one of the most traditional plates in the Eastern Europe cuisine, mainly in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Belarus. It is basically a beetroot soup, served with sour cream. For its preparation, besides the beetroot, it is used meat stock, commonly made by boiling meat or bones, vegetables, like carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, among others. Having all these components, they are slow cooked, obtaining a very distinctive flavor.

This well-known Jewish recipe has different variations. One of the most recognized is the cold Borscht, which could have a sweet taste, and is prepared with other ingredients, like buttermilk, yogurt, beet juice, and other elements. Another Borscht variation is without using beet, but adding other veggies, like green peppers, spinach, chard, among other components.

This Jewish plate is often served in different religious traditions, but it is principally eaten in the Shabbat, where it is served cold and with sour cream.

Blini

This plate is mainly known in Russia, and it is a pancake made with water and buckwheat flour. The Blini is usually accompanied by butter, caviar, sour cream, chocolate, cinnamon, among other things. This food is commonly eaten in Eastern and Central Europe, but due to the large Ashkenazi Jewish community in the United States, the Blini has become in a very popular plate in America, where it could be consumed with salmon, potatoes, jam, or with sweet ingredients, like honey, apple or jam.

Related: Some of the most traditional Jewish food by Yosef Meystel

* Featured Image Courtesy of CGehlen at flickr.com