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Potato Knish Recipe. Jewish Knishes.
Knish, a Jewish sister of Russian pirozki and Chinese dumplings.
Some time ago I wrote a hub about Russian pirozhki, little individual sized pies. I was lucky that a fellow hubber OpinionDuck visited this hub and while commenting, mentioned knish, a Yiddish dish, resembling Russian pirozhki. This stirred my memories and made me wonder, why I didn’t make knishes (‘knishiki) for such a long time. After all, it is also my heritage cuisine.
Besides all this, knish is a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes!
Knish as a dish!
“Knish” (both “k” and “n” are pronounced) belongs to Jewish cuisine, or to be more particular, to Yiddish part. But most likely Jewish kitchen adopted knish from the cuisine of Ukrainian folks. The word "knish" has Ukrainian origin almost for sure, because "knish" means different things in Ukrainian language.
The Ukrainian name “Knysh” is used to name a small bun, with or without filling. Knysh may be just a plain bun with butter. Besides referring to food, "knysh" is also used to describe a short person.
In a Ukrainian riddle "knysh" indicates a moon (“The stove is full of coals and a knysh is in the middle”- night sky with stars and the moon)
Now, how did knish appear in America?
It is believed that as a dish “knish” arrived to America with emigrants from Russia and Ukraine in the earlier 1900’s. When people immigrate to a different country, they bring with them not only their luggage, but also their ways and traditions, including their cuisine. Living in immigration and embracing new country and new ways does not cancel the old ways. So, this is how knish arrived to America.
Basically, knish is a sort of dumpling (here again we come to Chinese dumplings that appear to be ancestors of many world cuisine dishes).
Knishes are turnovers stuffed with different fillings. The dough for knishes has many variations. Very often the dough is made with flour and butter, or the knish dough is made of flour and mashed potatoes, and in the most traditional form it is just made entirely of mashed potatoes.
Knishes are made in different forms and shapes- as small round individually sized snacks, or square and flat in a size of a hamburger, or made like a long rolled stripe. It all depends how each cook prefers to make the knishes.
Knishes may be baked or fried. Knishes may be even frozen for future use. Knishes may be frozen after they are made, or for faster later use, knishes may be half baked and then frozen.
In big American cities with a lot of Jewish population knishes are sold in bakeries and delis. The first knish bakery was founded in New York in 1910.
The word "Knish" is used as a nick-name to identify one of New York’s quarters. "Knish Alley” is a name for the Jewish Lower East Side, specifically Second Avenue.
Making the dough
Making knishes is fun
Though it is time consuming, as any good aged recipe, but the process of making knishes is very simple, not complicated and actually may be even a family fun.
I know that in many Chinese homes the entire household is gathered together to make dumplings.
The same with knishes.
You can make it a quality family time on some day.
So, to make a batch of knishes the way I make them, you’ll need:
For the dough:
- 3,5 cups of Flour. I always use unbleached all purpose flour.
- 1,5 stick of butter or margarine
- 1 egg
- ½ cup of lukewarm water
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 dash of salt.
For the filling:
- 1-1,5 lb potatoes
- 1 big onion
- Salt, pepper, dill weed (according to your taste)
Or you can use any leftover mashed potatoes! Knish is a great way to use your mashed potatoes leftovers!
- To make a dough, put flour and butter into a bowl and "chop" it till "sand" consistency. Add an egg, lemon juice and water. Knead soft dough. Divide the dough into eight balls. Cool the dough in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
- Make mashed potatoes the way you like, with butter or margarine. Chop one onion and fry it in vegetable oil. Add fried onion to the mashed potatoes. I love dill, so I always add dill weed into mashed potatoes. Or use the leftover mashed potatoes.
- Make knishes as shown below.
- Bake knishes in the oven preheated to 375-400 F for 25-35 minutes and until knishes are pink or brownish.
- You may freeze knishes for later use. In this case bake knishes till half done (not pink-brown). Cool them, cover with a plastic clear film and freeze. When you need them, put them into preheated oven and bake until pink-brown.
Preheat oven to 375-400F. Bake knishes until slightly brown, from 25 to 35 minutes.
Another recipe for knishes
In other recipes mashed potatoes are used in dough too, to replace butter.
- 3 cup flour
- 1/4 pound margarine (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 potato (peeled, cooked and mashed)
Filling is made the same- mashed potatoes.
You can make knishes differently, in different way. Roll out each part of dough and cut into rectangles of 15 x 7 inches each. Spoon filling on the middle of each rectangle and fold over both outside parts of dough.
You can make bite size knishes.
Making an individual long knish.
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