Hooray, Purim is coming! Another chance to eat great Jewish food, this holiday is a gold mine of dough-filled delights called hamantaschen. Although you can now buy them at other times of the year, when I grew up, they only appeared at Purim, with fillings of all types peeking out from a cookie-liked dough triangle. My favorite hamantaschen fillings are poppy seed – not too sweet and definitely made from scratch, not with that horrible poppy seed filling sold in grocery stores - and chocolate, a modern variation but truly delicious surrounded by the buttery dough on the outside.
Fooled you! This post is not about hamantaschen at all, but about kreplach. I’d heard of kreplach before, but had never eaten or made them until last week, when I went looking for traditional Purim recipes. To my amazement, 3-cornered hamantaschen are not the only surprise-filled Purim treats. Kreplach are their savory cousins, filled with meat, potato, or in some communities, turkey. You can float them in chicken soup or serve them as a side dish with a meat or vegetarian meal.
If you search for kreplach in cookbooks or online, you’ll notice references to them as Jewish wontons or the Jewish version of pierogi, ravioli. agnolotti, tortellini, or empanadas. Suffice it to say, every ethnic group that cooks with dough has figured out that putting filling in it and cooking those small “packets” is a great idea.