Growing up, there were many Jewish delicacies that I truly loved. The nature of them ranged widely including items like smoke white fish (whole or as salad), knishes, wursts, etc. But one of the easiest, most enjoyable items was Kasha Varnishkes.

Kasha Varnishkes 1

My mom typically bought it pre-made from the supermarket or kosher deli, but could make them from time to time. There were three ways to enjoy the dish as far as I was concerned. Fresh (always the best), microwaved (which is surprisingly delicious!), or re-fried until the kasha and varnishkes (the Yiddish term for farfalle or bow-tie pasta) were brown and crispy. When I had it the fried way, sometimes I’d add mayo and eat it as a sandwich or with some sliced turkey breast… mmmmm nom nom nom (p.s. I just got my 22 month old niece to say ‘nom nom’).


Jessica managed to pick up some dry kasha during her 9th avenue shopping tour. The smell of this grain drives me nuts, I love it! I couldn’t wait to make it. I found a few recipes, but in the end, I settled back in on my mom’s. It was a little messy, like all home recipes should be, but I’ve cleaned it up a bit for you.

Before getting started, I’ll highlight two points. First, I don’t know where this came from. My mom had it jotted down somewhere, and I’ve adapted it a bit for clarity and my personal taste. Second, my mom and I agree it’s good to have a fairly high ratio of pasta to kasha, but it’s up to you. If you want to vary the ratio just increase or decrease the amount of pasta you use.

Kasha Varnishkes
~makes enough of a side dish for about 6-8 people

Kasha Groats


  • 6 cups Dry Large Farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
  • 1.5 cups Onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. Shmaltz (a.k.a. Chicken Fat), plus some extra, or if you sadly don’t have any on hand, substitute Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Dry Kasha
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Kosher Salt



1. Boil pasta, following box instructions for soft (not al dente). Strain pasta and reserve, also reserve cooking water.

Sauteed Onion

2. Saute onion, with just cooking spray and salt. Reserve.

Egg & Kasha Mixture Egg-Cooked Kasha

3. In a large sauce pot, heat chicken fat and chicken stock. In a bowl, beat egg, mix with dry kasha. Cook kasha and egg mixture in a dry pan until egg is dry and kernels are separated.

Boiling Kasha

4. Add heated fat and stock mixture. Cook about 10 minutes in a high simmer.

Kasha Varnishkes 4

5. Add pasta, onion, and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss in a little extra schmaltz and some pasta cooking water to give a nice sheen to the whole dish. Serve.

Kasha Varnishkes 3

Reheat in microwave or fry in vegetable oil to have an alternative style.

posted by Lon at 08:19 AM Filed under Jewish, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.