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Top Polish Jewish Food You Need To Try (+ Recipes)

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Polish and Jewish cooking traditions have been mixed for over 1,000 years since Jews began immigrating to Poland in the Middle Ages. Jewish communities flourished in Poland for centuries, sometimes making up over 15% of the Polish population.

In cities across Poland, Jewish neighbourhoods bustled with busy kosher kitchens and bakeries. Over time, a cultural exchange happened. Polish Jews adapted local Slavic dishes like barszcz and introduced foods like onion bread and czulent, a Jewish type of goulash.

Through this long history of blending recipes and techniques, many Polish-Jewish specialities became well-known national dishes in Poland. Today, these hybrid recipes are found everywhere – from street food to holiday dishes.

Let me show you some of the classics!

Jewish Style Beef Roast – Wołowina Po Żydowsku

Jewish cuisine consists mainly of pretty simple dishes to prepare. This beef roast is one such example. Just a few spices and some vegetables bring out the wonderful flavour of the beef. The meat prepared this way is incredibly tender and aromatic – perfect for a family dinner.

What Sides Go Well With the Jewish Style Beef Roast?

The most common way is to serve this dish with roasted vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower roasted in the oven until caramelised pair nicely. Roasted beets or sweet potatoes would also work well. And don’t forget roasted garlic!

But classic Polish side dishes like buckwheat, pyzy or kopytka are also excellent to serve alongside the Jewish Style Beef Roast. 

Ingredients (for 5 servings):

  • 1 beef brisket, around 600g (1.3 lb)
  • 1 onion 
  • 2 carrots 
  • 1 celery root 
  • 4 tbsps of potato starch
  •  500ml (17 oz) of chicken broth
  • 100g (0.2 lb) of ciastka korzenne-speculoos biscuits
  • 50ml (1.7 oz) of rapeseed oil
  • 5 bay leaves
  • Handful of allspice

Cooking time: 260 min

Jewish Style Beef Roast – Wołowina Po Żydowsku Recipe

Part I-Prepare the Meat

Rub the beef brisket with salt and pepper and place in the fridge overnight.

Part II-Coat the Brisket

Coat the brisket in potato starch.

Part IV-Brown the Meat

Heat 50ml (1.7 oz)  of rapeseed oil in a pan and sear the meat on both sides, until brown.

Part V-Prepare the Vegetables

Place the brisket in a large casserole dish. In the meantime peel the onion and slice it into wedges.

Part VI-Fry the Onion

Caramelise the onion in the same pan you used for searing the meat.

Part VII-Put Everything Together

Pour 500ml (17 oz) of chicken broth over the brisket in the casserole dish, add 4 bay leaves, a handful of allspice and the caramelised onion.

Part VIII-Add the Vegetables and Biscuits

Peel the 2 carrots and celery root, dice and add to the meat. Then crumble the biscuits and add them on top.

Part IX-Bake

Bake at 160°C (320 F) for 3-4 hours. It takes some time to cook but it’s worth it, the meat comes out delicious and tender!

FAQ About the Jewish Style Beef Roast

What Cut of Beef Works Best for This Recipe?

A beef brisket works very well because it becomes tender when braised for a long time. Look for a brisket with some marbling, this will keep it moist during cooking. 

Can I Use Something Else Instead of Chicken Broth?

Yes, you can use beef broth instead. You can even use wine or beer for more flavour. It’s up to you! 

Can I Prepare Jewish Style Beef Roast in a Slow Cooker?

Yes, cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Make sure the brisket in the slow cooker is completely submerged in liquid.

Polish Jewish Onion Bread-Cebularz

Cebularz is a tasty type of bread originally from the Lublin area of Poland. It’s made with onions, poppy seeds, and yeast.

A Bit of History

This Onion Bread has been around roughly since the days of King Kazimierz the Great, who ruled Poland in the 1300s. But it didn’t get popular in Lublin itself until the 1800s. Back then, Jewish bakers would make Cebularz and sell it on the streets. They used wood-fired ovens, which gave the bread a unique crispy crust and delicious flavour.

After World War II, Lublin bakers kept the tradition alive by baking Cebularz according to the original Jewish recipe. At first, bakers passed the recipe down by word of mouth. Today there are many written versions of the recipe, but most are pretty similar. Traditional Jewish bakers sometimes use water and vegetable oil instead of milk and butter to avoid mixing meat and dairy. 

In 2014, the European Union recognized Lublin the Onion Bread as a protected regional food. Now, any bakery that wants to sell it has to follow strict rules on ingredients and methods.

This Onion Bread is still a hit today in Lublin and the whole region!

Ingredients for the dough (10 servings):

  • 500g (4 cups or 1.1 lb) of wheat flour
  • 1 cup of milk (250 ml or 8.7 oz)
  • 30g (0.06 lb) of fresh yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 70g (0.15 lb) of butter

For spreading on the risen dough:

  • 1 beaten egg yolk with 1 tbsp of milk

Onion and poppy seed filling:

  • 4 large onions (700 g or 1.5 lb)
  • 3 tbsp of poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Vegetable oil 

Cooking time: 180 min

Here’s my full recipe for the Polish onion roll.

Polish Jewish Onion Bread-Cebularz Recipe

Part I-Prepare the Yeast Mix

Mix 30g (0.06 lb) of fresh yeast with 1 tbsp of sugar and let it sit for a few minutes in a warm place.

Part II-Heat the Milk

Melt 70g (0.15 lb) of butter and let it cool. Warm up 1 cup of milk, but not too much, to avoid killing the yeast.

Part III-Beat the Egg

Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of sugar until it’s well mixed.

Part IV-Mix 

In a big bowl, sift 500g (1.1 lb) of wheat flour, add 1 tsp of salt, and the cooled melted butter. Mix it lightly. Then add the yeast, beaten egg, and milk. 

Part V-Shape the Dough

Knead the dough well until it’s soft and bouncy. Shape it into a ball, sprinkle with flour, cover with a cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1.5-2 hours, until it doubles in size.

Part VI- Make the Filling

While the dough is rising, make the onion and poppy seed filling. Cut 4 large onions into big pieces. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and sauté the onions with salt until they’re soft but not browned. Take them off the heat, add 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds, and mix. Let it cool.

Part VII-Divide the Dough

Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Knead it a bit and divide it into 10 pieces. 

Part VIII-Add the Filling

Roll each piece into thin circles. Place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Put the onion and poppy seed filling in the centre of each circle, leaving about 1 cm of free space at the edges. Cover with a cloth and let it rise again for an hour.

Part IX-Bake

Brush the edges with a mix of 1 beaten egg yolk and 1 tbsp of milk. Bake at 180°C (356 F) for 20-25 minutes. If you want a crispier crust, you can throw a handful of ice cubes onto the oven floor. Once the Onion Breads are done, take them out and let them cool on a rack. Enjoy!

FAQ About the Polish Jewish Onion Bread

Can I Use Instant Yeast Instead of Fresh Yeast in This Recipe?

Yes, you can substitute instant yeast for fresh yeast. Use about 2 1⁄4 tsp of instant yeast for every 30g of fresh yeast called for in the recipe.

Can I Make the Dough Ahead of Time and Refrigerate It Overnight?

Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

Polish Jewish Goulash-Czulent

This dish is the more Jewish version of goulash, a slow-cooked stew.

Czulent is often eaten on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath). To honor the tradition of not cooking on Shabbat, Jewish families would prepare the czulent ingredients and let the stew cook slowly overnight. This allowed them to enjoy a hot meal on Saturday without having to cook on the day of rest. Many people will often say that czulent tastes the best when you reheat it!

Since traditionally no fires could be lit on Shabbat, this stew was prepared in advance and left to simmer overnight in a warming drawer called a “blech” or Shabbat oven. But you don’t need a bleach to cook it! A slow cooker or oven will do just fine. 

Ingredients (for 5 servings):

  • 600g (1.3 lb) of beef brisket (or ribs or ham)
  • 200g (0.4 lb) small white beans (soaked)
  • 150g (0.3 lb) chickpeas
  • 200g  (0.4 lb) buckwheat 
  • 500g (1.1 lb) potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 litre (35 oz) beef broth
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handful of allspice
  • Salt, pepper
  • 3 tbsp of goose fat

What Meat Is Best For Jewish Goulash?

Traditional Jewish Goulash is made with kosher meat, typically fatty beef, which gives the dish a refined taste. But you can also cook it with ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken. 

Sometimes eggs are also added to this dish. They are placed on top in their shells, then they become completely hard-boiled during baking. These should be duck or goose legs but of course you can also use chicken eggs.

Jewish Goulash-Czulent Recipe

Part I-Prepare the Meat and Vegetables

Cut the 600g (1.3 lb) of meat into large cubes (similar to traditional goulash). Slice the onion into strips, 2 carrots into thicker slices, peel and slice 5 garlic cloves into thicker pieces, and peel and cut 500g of potatoes into cubes.

Part II-Fry the Onion and Garlic

In a large pot with a thick bottom (which can later be placed in the oven), sauté the onion and garlic in goose fat until they become translucent.

Part III-Put Everything Together

Layer all the ingredients on the sautéed onion, starting with potatoes, followed by the meat, carrots, 200g (0.4 lb) of beans, 150g (0.3 lb) of chickpeas, and finishing with 200g (0.4 lb) of buckwheat. Season each layer and put bay leaves and allspice between them. 

Part IV-Bring to a Boil

Pour in 1 litre (35 oz) of beef broth. Cover and bring to a boil over low heat.

Part V-Bake

Once the goulash boils, transfer it to an oven preheated to 80 degrees Celsius (176 F) and bake for a minimum of 12 hours. If you don’t have 12 hours to spare, you can cook it at 160 degrees Celsius (320 F) for 3 hours. But, the longer you cook it, the tastier it will be, and the meat will be more tender!

FAQ About Jewish Goulash

What Can I Substitute If I Don’t Have Goose Fat?

Bacon fat, goose fat, or vegetable/olive oil can be used instead.

Do I Need to Trim the Fat Off the Brisket Before Cooking?

No, leave the fat on for added flavour during the long braising time.

Jewish Potato Salad-Sałatka Żydowska

Hanukkah dinner with traditional dishes on the white wooden table

Potato salad is a very popular dish in Polish Jewish culinary tradition, though recipes can vary slightly. The basic ingredients are simple – potatoes, eggs, and onions.

This versatile potato salad is often eaten in Poland, especially during holidays like Christmas and Easter. But it can be served as a side dish or light meal any time of year.

When I make this salad, I always prefer to swap the regular onion for green onions. They have a more delicate flavour and make the salad look prettier. Some people (like my grandmother) add both regular onions and green onions. It all depends on how you prefer it!

Ingredients (for 8 servings): 

  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) of potatoes (salad type, firm with low starch content)
  • 6 finely chopped fresh eggs
  • a handful of chopped fresh leek
  •  2 tsps of mustard
  • 1 onion or a bunch of green onions 
  • 300 ml (10.5 oz) of mayonnaise
  • salt, pepper.
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar

Cooking time: 90 min

Jewish Potato Salad-Sałatka Po Żydowsku Recipe

Part I-Start With the Potatoes

Boil the potatoes with their skins on. Peel them while they’re still warm and then let them cool completely. It’s good to cool the potatoes in the fridge, this makes them firm, which will make it easier to cut and prevent them from falling apart. You can cook the potatoes the night before.

Part II-Cut the Potatoes, Eggs and Onions

Cut the potatoes into cubes. Hard boil the eggs, cool, peel, and chop them into cubes. Finely chop the green onions or regular onions. 

Part III-Mix

Transfer potatoes, eggs, and onions into a bowl. Add 300ml (10.5 oz) of mayonnaise, 1 tbsp of vinegar, and mix. Instead of vinegar, you can also use juice from pickled cucumbers. You can throw in some chopped pickled cucumbers too while you’re at it-they’re also a popular choice to add to this salad.

Part IV-Season

Season with salt and pepper, mix and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes.

Polish Jewish Style Fish-Ryba Po Żydowsku

My mother has been making this nourishing Polish Jewish Style Fish dish for as long as I can remember. With its simple yet flavorful ingredients, this recipe always takes me back to my childhood!

I especially love the lively orange and red colors from the carrots and peppers once it’s served. I can guarantee you that this Polish Jewish Style Fish is as delightful to look at as it is to eat. And it’s so easy to make!

Ingredients (for 3 servings):

  • 4 fillets of your favorite fish  (pink panga or cod is a good choice for this recipe)
  • 2 large leeks
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 tbsp of cream
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of vegeta
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Flour 
  • Rapeseed oil

Cooking time: 45 min

Polish Jewish Style Fish-Ryba Po Żydowsku Recipe

Part I-Prepare the Fish

Cut each fillet into about 3 pieces and drizzle with 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Part II-Coat in Flour

Season the fillets in salt, pepper and vegeta, coat in flour and fry in oil on both sides, set aside to cool.

Part III-Cut the Vegetables

Cut the 2 leeks in half moons, cut 1 bell pepper into small cubes, and grate the 2 carrots.

Part IV-Fry the Vegetables

Fry the leeks, pepper and carrots in a pan with a dash of rapeseed oil for about 5 mins.

Part V-Add Water

Add about 1/2 cup water and simmer for 15 mins.

Part VI-Add Cream and Arrange 

Finally add 3 tbsp of cream and simmer 5 more mins. Set aside to cool. Arrange the fish on a plate and top with the leek, pepper and carrot mixture. 

This dish is great served hot or cold!

FAQ About the Polish Jewish Style Fish

Can I Use Frozen Fish Fillets? 

Yes, you can use thawed, boneless frozen fish fillets for this recipe. Just adjust cooking time as needed.

What Is Vegeta Seasoning? 

Vegeta is a tasty Eastern European seasoning blend. If you don’t have it, you can substitute it with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.

How Long Does the Dish Keep Refrigerated?

Around 3-4 days.

Jewish Polish Caviar-Kawior Żydowski

Kosher Food at or somewhere near the hotel.

Kawior Żydowski is the Jewish Polish caviar.  This incredibly easy recipe has been popular on tables in Polish Jewish households for decades now. The reason why is a rather intriguing one. 

Jews cannot eat food items that are not kosher. The caviar that you will find in the market is unfortunately not kosher. The Jewish Polish caviar recipe is a bid to replicate the iconic caviar that is enjoyed by non-Jews. The recipe however tastes a lot like the popular ‘foie gras’. The duck/goose liver is replaced with chicken liver. Chicken liver has a rather intense flavor and it is also the main component in foi gras which is where you will find the similarity.

The key to making great Jewish Polish caviar is to make sure that the ingredients are chopped before putting them in the mixer. Contrary to belief, I find that this is better, faster, and more efficient when compared to just relying on modern technology and blending it.

What Is Kosher?

One question that really comes up when it comes to the Jewish Polish caviar recipe is what is kosher? Kosher is a set of rules that are set down as guidance for Jewish food. It details just what a Jew can and cannot eat.

There are three main categories when it comes kosher. These are meat, dairy and pareve  (any product that does not fall into the meat and dairy category). The rules related to kosher involve separating meat and dairy. In fact, one of the biggest kosher rules is that a Jew should not eat meat and dairy together. Pareve foods on the other hand are neutral foods and can be combined with both meat and dairy.

There are certain food items that are not permitted by kosher law. These include seafood that do not have scales or fins. This would include all your shrimp and shellfish. Caviar also falls under this category.

There are also numerous rules about the kind of meat that Jews can eat and even the type of poultry that they can consume. For example, scavenger birds are not fit for consumption according to kosher.

Jewish Polish Caviar Recipe – Kawior Żydowski

Part I – Wash The Chicken Liver

Wash 11-14 oz of chicken liver well. Make sure that you cut out all the strings and membranes that may still be attached to the meat. These interfere with the texture of the Jewish Polish caviar. 

Part II – Dry Them Out Using Paper Towels

Part III – Fry The Liver

In order to fry the liver, put a little oil in a dry skillet. Make sure that you fry the liver well.

Part IV – Boil 3 Eggs

Part V – Prepare The Onions

Clean, wash and dice the onions. For this recipe make sure that the onions are finely diced. Fry the onions well.

Part VI – Blend The Ingredients

The final step is to blend the ingredients. The best way to do this is to ensure that all the ingredients including the chicken liver and the hard boiled eggs are chopped fine. This will help ensure that the texture of the Jewish Polish caviar is smooth.

Part VII – Place Jewish Polish Clean Jar. Serve On Bread Or Matzah.

FAQs About Jewish Polish Caviar

What Is The Best Bread To Pair With Jewish Polish Caviar?

You will find that Polish caviar pairs well with almost any kind of bread. Ideally use one of the numerous Polish breads from the market. If you don’t have access to them, then you can also try out rye bread. The idea is to use bread that has a firm texture. Baguettes are another popular option.

What Are Some Popular Topping That Can Be Used Alongside?

You can choose the herbs of your choice. This could be anything from parsley to chives. The caviar however is great as a stand-alone. Most of the time, garnishing is used for decorative purposes.

What Temperature Should The Jewish Polish Caviar Be Served At?

While the caviar can be served as soon as it is made, the dish tastes best when it is served either at room temperature or chilled. If you choose to chill the caviar, make sure to place it in an airtight container. The caviar dries up in the refrigerator and that changes its texture.

Jewish Polish Braided Bread Recipe (Chałka)

A traditional Polish cuisine - a loaf of bread sprinkled with powdered sugar placed on a sleek black surface.

Chałka is a rich, sweet Jewish bread that is braided and baked for Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) and holidays. The classic recipe calls for simple ingredients – flour, eggs, oil, yeast, honey, and salt – that come together to create a rich, slightly sweet bread.

The Tradition and Significance of Chałka

Beyond its melt-in-your-mouth texture, what makes challah special is its symbolism in Judaism. The various braiding patterns carry meaning about life’s cycles and connections. A three-strand braid represents truth, peace, and justice. Twelve humps symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel.

Round spiral challahs eaten on Rosh Hashanah celebrate the circular flow of the seasons. very Friday evening, the glow of candles and the aroma of freshly baked challah usher in the Jewish Sabbath. After fasting on Yom Kippur, challah is the first food eaten to break the fast. Challah is center stage at bar mitzvahs, weddings, and other milestone events. Before baking, a small piece of dough is traditionally burned as an offering.

Here is the recipe for this delicious Polish Jewish Braided Bread!


Fun fact to end this article- did you know that the bagels were brought from Poland (probably Kraków) to the US from the Polish Jews?

That includes the famous New York Bagels!

The most popular Polish bagels are obwarzanki krakowskie (follow the link for the recipe).

2 Responses

  1. What you called an “onion bread” / cebularz is known in the USA (especially East Coast) as ” bialy”. The name comes from Bialystok, Poland.

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