Citizens, there is perhaps no stronger heartstring to the Jewish soul than the one tied to the Knish! Beloved of Ashkenazic (Eastern European) Jews, the Knish arrived on these shores with the second wave of Jewish immigrants from Poland sometime around 1900. Knish (קניש) is a Yiddish word that was derived from the Ukrainian knysh (книш) and Polish knysz.
The first knish bakery in America was founded in New York in 1910 on the Lower East Side at the Yonah Schimmel Knishery – still in existance today and one of the last Jewish outposts in the neighborhood.
As a New York-born Jew, the knish holds a special place in my heart and since you can’t get a decent knish to save your life in this part of California, I decided to make my own authentic version, with a few JH eccentricities. 😉
My knishes are a hybrid – traditional in all ways except that I’ve added two new spices to the traditional mashed potato mixture, to liven things up a bit. Specifically, I added a touch of ground cumin and a spice you’ve probably never heard of called asafoetida.
This is used frequently in Indian cooking, and adds a lovely garlic note to the knish that I find very nice. You can leave the cumin out, or substitute garlic powder for the asafoetida (but it’s really not the same – garlic powder is a bit harsh, to my palate…).
Anyway – if you don’t approve of my heterodoxy, just ignore those two spice additions and you’ll still have an amazing 100% traditional version that will knock your socks off. 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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