Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes
Kasha & Bows

One cup of kasha (granulated roasted whole grain buckwheat) is toasted in a dry non-stick pan for a few minutes, then cooled. A beaten egg is added, stir to coat all the grains. Cook briefly over medium heat until the egg has dried. Add 2 c. seasoned hot chicken stock plus 1 T. vegetable oil, stir, cover and cook on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile sauté a chopped yellow onion in  2 T. vegetable oil, or in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), as my Aunt Edythe did. When the onion is nice and browned, toss with al dente bowtie pasta and then add the kasha. This is usually served as a side dish but along with a salad, makes a tasty weeknight meal as well.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s passing, 38 years ago. I always light a Yahrzeit candle in his memory on this day, say a personal prayer, and spend a few moments “in conversation” with my Dad.

This year I made Kasha Varnishkes, like my Aunt Edythe (his sister) used to make and served it on my parents’ old china, Franciscan Apple. Also known as Kasha & Bows, this is a traditional Russian Jewish dish, one no doubt taught to my Aunt by my Nana, who was from Kiev.
I find the annual act of lighting the Yahrzeit candle on this anniversary very comforting, and along with the cooking of traditional Jewish foods, it helps to keep the memory of my Dad, Aunt, Nana and Papa alive.
Now, Passover is just around the corner, starting at sundown on April 8. And like last year, I am excited to host a Round-up of Passover Photos. If you are participating in a Seder this year, I hope you will join in. Please send me a photo of your Seder plate, Passover dish(es), or your Passover table. If you would like to use my Passover Round-up badge in your blog post, please feel free. There are no rules to take part, just email your photo to tastewiththeeyes AT cox DOT net, and tell me a little about you and your Seder photo. I am hoping that those readers without a blog will participate as well. Let’s share! I will post the round-up after the eighth day of Passover. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Pesach.

30 thoughts on “Kasha Varnishkes”

  1. what a lovely tradition to remember your father by.

    And I like the idea of your pesach round-up. Still trying to figure out what to make.

    But, I did get kosher for passover coke – made with sucrose instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Can’t wait to try it!!!

  2. What a beautiful tribut to remember your father by. I love that you are so sentimental Lori Lynn. Your family must be so blessed to see how you use family traditions to honor them!

    And I love seeing bow tie served this way.. Very unique! 🙂

  3. I agree with others – such a beautiful tradition to commemorate your family!
    I am subscribed to your delicious blog and decided to comment for the first time, since I have something to clarify on this recipe. I am originally from Belarus, which is a neighboring to Poland Slavic country. Kasha has, really a broader meaning than just buckwheat. We call any kind of porridge – kasha. Would that be rice, oats, buckwheat, semolina or others. May be it is different in Poland, but this is how it is in Belarus. Those were my “5 cents”.
    I enjoy your blog deliciousness a lot!

  4. Hi Julia – I do hope you join in! Kosher Coke, interesting, I’m going to keep my eye out for that.

    Thanks so much Laurie!

    Dear Elena – apparently Kasha refers to two different things! Thanks so much for commenting, glad to make your acquaintance.
    Here is what it says on Wikipedia:
    Kasha is a porridge commonly eaten in Eastern Europe. In English, kasha generally refers to buckwheat groats, but in Slavic countries, kasha refers to porridge in general, and can be made from any cereal, especially buckwheat, wheat, barley, oats, and rye. It is one of the oldest known dishes in the Slavic cuisines of the Eastern European cuisine, at least a thousand years old.

    I really appreciate your input.
    Lori Lynn

  5. Lori,
    we are going to a family friend for seder, and I’ll try to take some photographs if I can.

  6. Thanks for sharing with us your special tradition. I didn’t know that kasha had also a broader meaning. The combination with farfalle pasta is very interesting. And I like the china bowl.

  7. I love the sentiment that you show for your family, a true testiment of the person you are. I can’t wait to see your beautiful table this year LL!

  8. I’ll go full days feeling okay, and then something will set me off. Tonight it was this entry and the yahrzeit candle. Even though it was many years ago, I am still sorry for your loss.

  9. What a beautiful tradition to remember your grandfather! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    What a delicious dish! I’ve never tried kasha, but it looks so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  10. What a wonderful tradition and such a nice way to evoke memories of your Dad. I remember a friend of mine in high school making Kasha and Bows for an international dinner. I’ve never made it, but your photos brought back those memories. I remember falling in love with the dish when I first tried it.

  11. I love Kasha, which I have always thought was toasted buckwheat, but I didn’t grow up with it, so I am not an expert. It is a lovely way to remember your father. My husband isn’t so keen on grains other than rice, but perhaps if I introduced it with bowties he might come over to liking it. In addition to wondering what all you have added to this recipe, I would love to have a recipe for buckwheat knishes. I used to have a wonderful potato based dough with a kasha filling, and I adored it, but it disappeared along the way in my cross continental moves. Any help would be appreciated, but I am in no hurry, so don’t feel pressed to rustle one up quickly. Just sometime if you have one or can point me in the right direction.

  12. LL, a beautiful way to remember your dad! The hurt diminishes with time, but we continue to miss them.

    If I may, I will contribute a Gentile’s Passover – our Holy Thursday observance is really in memory of Jesus’ Passover celebration! FA

  13. This looks very tasty and a bit different too. I don’t think I have ever had Kasha. Such sweet thoughts for your father.

  14. I haven’t seen one of those candles in a long time. My mom lights one every year for her dad as well. I don’t do one for mine, but I mark the day in its own way. Which is tomorrow, actually.

    I look forward to seeing the round up for Passover. It always makes me nostalgic. 🙂

  15. I love that you made the kasha and varnishkes – one of my all time favourites that I still make to this day. I can’t wait to see the roundup and will for sure share our seder with you. I just got a yahrzeit for my dad as well and will light it erev (tonight). Distance just doesn’t change tradition. Chag Sameach.

  16. Dear Lori Lynn,
    you lost your father when you were still at such a tender age, I am so sorry. You honor him in a very touching way.
    I wish you and your family happiness on passover and always,

  17. Being a Gentile, I am really excited to see your round-up! I’ve never been to a seder before and am just so curious.

  18. I love how you honor the memory of your father, they never really leave us when we have the traditions we celebrated together.


  19. What a wonderful way for keeping your father’s memory alive.

    Beautiful and delicious dish. I’ve never tried this yet, but I sure am now.

  20. Thank you all for your touching comments regarding the Yahrzeit Memorial Candle, my father, and your loved ones too.

    Lori Lynn

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