Certain staples of Jewish cuisine are beloved as nonpartisan delicacies, as they should be. Steaming bowls of matzo ball soup soothe the soul, crisp latkes satisfy cravings for all things fried, and bagels are the grab-and-go breakfast for countless generations. Food doesn’t care what you do or don’t believe.
Shlishkes, however, haven’t made the same leap into mainstream culture. Originating with Hungarian Ashkenazi Jews, these humble potato dumplings are often compared to Italian gnocchi for their similar structure. Tender, soft, gently simmered morsels made from a bare minimum of ingredients, they’re within easy reach of anyone on a budget or with limited cooking experience.
How do you make shlishkes?
It’s quite simple:
- Boil and mash potatoes.
- Add flour.
- Cut into dumplings.
- Boil and drain.
- Toss with breadcrumbs and bake until toasted.
This final step is what truly separates it from the other potato-based pastas. Liberal use of vegan butter or schmaltz and breadcrumbs transforms homely dough into nutty, crunchy, rich, and savory delights.
Want to make these shlishkes your own?
Such a simple formula is ripe for creative interpretation. A few easy ideas for a tasty twist on tradition include:
- Use coarse almond meal or crushed crunchy chickpeas instead of breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option.
- Swap white potatoes for orange or purple sweet potatoes.
- Add cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to spice things up.
- Use olive oil instead of vegan butter or schmaltz to decrease the saturated fat.
- Finish with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese.
Like any good starchy side, shlishkes are best accompanied by a hearty entree. In truth, though, there’s no bad pairing or inopportune time to serve them. Enjoy shlishke for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Bachelor parties, Satanic rites; anything worth celebrating with a comforting, homemade meal!