“TRH” JEWISH / YIDDISH FOOD TERMINOLOGY LIST

jewish

I am introducing this as a “guide” ONLY and some of the foods and expressions are NOT necessarily traditional but used in a Jewish home frequently.

Before we start, note that there is a BIG difference in foods between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews.  As Jews lived in many communities around the world some of the local foods are also favorite Jewish dishes. This explains the different kinds of foods listed below:
-A-
ASHKENAZIC
Used to describe Jews of Eastern and Central Europe.
-B-
BABAGHANOUJ (ALTERNATE SPELLING: BHABA GANOUSH, BABAGANOUSH)
Mediterranean dip made of roasted, pureed eggplant.
BABKA
Yeasted coffee cake from Poland. May be flavored with cinnamon, chocolate, or lemon, and filled with cheese or fruit.
BAGEL
Circular bread with a hole in the center that originated in Poland. Dough is first boiled and then baked for a chewy interior and crispy exterior.
BEITZAH
Egg
BEYA
Aramaic for egg, also means, “to entreat”
BIALY
Named for the city of Bialystok, where it originated. Softer than a bagel, with an indentation rather than a hole in the center.
BLINTZ
A relative of the Hungarian crepe known as palascinta. Thin pancake filled with cheese, fruit or minced meat. If meat, it generally would be served in chicken soup.
BULKAS
Yeast round cinnamon buns generally made on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Lovely to make for tea all year round.
BORSCHT
Beet soup of Eastern European origin. Served cold with sour cream/ordinary cream or hot with a plain boiled potato.
BULGUR WHEAT
Cracked wheat. A key ingredient in tabbouleh.
BUREKA
(Alternate spelling: Boreka): Small, half-moon-shaped pastries filled with cheese, spinach, eggplant, potato or meat. One can make your own filling. Common to Jews of the Iberian Peninsula.
-C-
CARCIOFI
Italian word for artichokes, the star ingredient in a dish known as carciofi alla guidia, or Jewish-style artichokes—the only dish widely-recognized as Jewish in Italy.
CARROT TZIMMES
Mixture of carrots and honey. Served any time of the year as are really all the tzimmes dishes but nice for Pesach.
CHALLAH OR SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS KITKAH
Ashkenazic egg bread. Typically made in braided form for the Sabbath, and in circular form for the Jewish New Year (to remind us of the circular nature of life.).
CHAROSET
Mixture of nuts, dates, apples, cinnamon, honey and wine (Ashkenazic version) or dried fruits and raisins (Sephardic version) eaten on Passover.
CHATZILIM
A Mediterranean dip made from eggplant.
CHAZERET
Romaine lettuce (bitter herb).
CHEESE CAKE
A Jewish home without cheese cake is not a home. Made either baked of fridge. Cheese cakes are also traditionally made on the festival of Shavuot where we eat only cheese / milk dishes
CHICKEN SOUP
Traditional on festivals and generally anytime.
CHITA
Side dish for Cholent – clean crushed wheat as for rice, onions and spices.
CHOLENT
Ashkenazic version of the French cassoulet. Stew consisting of meat, potatoes, and beans simmered overnight. Typically served on the Sabbath.
CHOPPED HERRING
Minced salted herrings, onions, boiled eggs and a binding agent eg: slices of bread or Marie biscuits.
CHRAIN
Horseradish very finely grated preserved as a pickle.
CHREMSLACH
Matzo balls fried. Served on Passover.
COCONUT MACAROONS
Served traditionally on Passover.
COMPOTE
An Eastern European dessert made of stewed fruits, dried or fresh.
COUS COUS
Moroccan dish of tiny semolina grains, commonly used in Sephardi.
-D-
DAFINA (OR D’FINA)
Sephardic version of cholent.
DANISH HERRING
Salted herrings chopped into pieces with apples, onions, green peppers, pickled cucumber and soaked in a vinegar tomato sauce,
-E-
ESS
Yiddish and German word for “eat.”
ETROG
(Alternate spelling: Esrog) Hebrew word for citron, a rare citrus fruit that resembles a lemon (with coarser skin). Used in the festival of Sukkot.
-F-
FALAFEL
Middle Eastern fritter. Typically made with ground chick peas in Israel, but with ground fava beans elsewhere in the Middle East.
FARFEL
Grated dough generally served in soup on Rosh Hashanah.
FLEISCHIG
Yiddish word for meat, or meals containing meat ingredients.
FRESS
Yiddish verb for overeating.
-G-
GEDEMPTE FLAISCH
Literally, “potted meat.” Refers to tough cuts of meat, such as brisket, that are braised and then cooked for hours to soften.
GEFILTE FISH
A Shabbat dish but also made on the holidays. Literally, “stuffed fish.” A mixture of ground fish–typically, pike, carp, and whitefish–that traditionally was stuffed back into a fish skin.
One can then also make fried gefilte fish – fish balls or fish cakes.
GEHAKTE
Yiddish word for “chopped,” as in chopped liver.
GEHAKTE LEBER
Chopped liver. A coarse version of calf or chicken livers, fried in onions and finely minced with boiled egg.
GESHMIRTE MATZO
A snack – Matzo cut into squares and spread with a cream cheese mixture and baked. Made on Passover.
GRIBENES
Crispy bits of fried chicken skin. Typically found in schmaltz.
-H-
HAMANTASHEN
Triangular pastries stuffed with jam, poppy seeds, cheese or honey (or any sweet filling of your choice, even Nutella). Eaten on Purim to remind us of the villain Haman in the Purim story.
HAMINADOS
Sephardic hard-boiled eggs colored a deep russet with onion peels. Traditionally served at the Passover seder to remind us of the circular nature of life.
HOLISHKES
Stuffed cabbage leaves with meat generally.
HUMMUS
Mediterranean dip made of pureed chick peas and tahini (or tahina) made from sesame seeds. Also used in wraps or other Mediterranean dishes.
-I-
INGBERLACH
Made for the holidays – mainly Pesach and Rosh Hashanah but not strictly only then. Grated carrots, orange, lemon, ginger and sugar – served as a “sweet”.
-J-
There are no Terms here yet.
-K-
KASHA
Buckwheat groats. Now popularized as “health food.” Commonly eaten in Eastern Europe.
KASHRUT (KOSHER)
System of Jewish dietary laws.
KEBAB
Chunks of marinated meat grilled on a skewer. Popular street food in Israel.
KICHEL
Very thin baked biscuit served with chopped liver, chopped and Danish Herring any time of the year. It is coated in sugar.
KISHKE
Dish made of stuffed beef casings. Also used for stuffing in general.
KNAIDLACH
Yiddish word for matzo balls. Typically served in chicken soup or as a side dish for roasted meats.
KNISH
Small pastry typically stuffed with potatoes, kasha, meat, or other vegetables. May be deep-fried (Coney Island style) or baked.
KOSHER SALT
Coarse salt used to remove blood from meat in order to make it fit according to Jewish dietary laws. Also used in dishwashers, and as a coarse cooking salt.
KREPLACH
Jewish version of wonton or ravioli. Simple dough stuffed with a mixture of ground meat–typically liver–and onions. Served floating in chicken soup or as a side dish.
KRUPNIK
Polish word for barley soup.
KUBNEH (ALTERNATE SPELLING: KUBANEH)
Sweet Yemenite bread prepared for the Sabbath and typically eaten with zhoug.
KUGEL
Jewish version of a casserole, often with a pudding-like consistency. May be made with rice, noodles, vegetables, or potatoes. Served on Shabbos, festivals or any time. For Passover (Pesach), flour is substituted for matzo meal. Matzo meal is kept by a lot of members of the faith throughout the year to make various dishes.
-L-
LATKE
Crispy potato pancake fried in oil. Typically served for Chanukkah.
LEBNEH
Home-made yogurt cheese common in the Middle East.
LEKACH
Honey cake. Traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) for a sweet year. Also made for breaking of the Fast (Yom Kippur).
LOKSHEN
Yiddish word for “noodles.”
LOX
Smoked and salted salmon.
-M-
MADBACHAI (TURKISH SALAD)
Served also with humus and tahina and lots of breads.
MANDELACH
Used in clear soup. Yiddish – farfel.
MANDLEN
Yiddish word for almonds.
MANDELBRODT
The Jewish version of biscotti. Crispy cookies with almonds.
MATZO
Unleavened bread eaten at Passover to remind the Jews of the haste with which they left slavery.
MECHAMER
Moroccan Potato Kugel.
MEVUSHAL
Refers to wines that are rendered kosher by the process of boiling.
MILCHIK
Yiddish word for dairy foods or meals with dairy ingredients.
-N-
NOSH
Yiddish noun for a little bite to eat–there are no calories in a nosh, incidentally–or verb for the act of snacking.
-O-
There are no terms here yet.
-P-
PAREVE (ALTERNATE SPELLING: PARVE)
Hebrew word for “neutral” foods that are neither meat nor dairy, such as fish, fruits, vegetables, and eggs.
PEROGEN
Pastry filled with minced meat and served in soup.
PETCHA (BRAWN)
Calves’ foot jelly.
PITA
Middle Eastern flat bread with a pocket. Typically used for sandwiches containing falafel or schwarma meat.
PITIKAS
South African dish. Dough rolled out thinly, fried and sprinkled with nuts, honey or syrup.
PETITIM
Tiny soup croutons. Served in soup.
PLETZLACH
Generally a Passover “sweet”. Made with apricots.
-Q-
There are no Terms here yet.
-R-
RUGELACH
Small pastries made from rich cream cheese dough and filled with jam, chocolate, honey, or nuts.
-S-
SCHAV
A Russian soup with a pungent, tangy kick from its main ingredient, a sour grass called sorrell.
SCHMALTZ
Yiddish word for rendered chicken fat. Gives incomparable flavor to traditional dishes. May be served with gribenes.
Used to describe all Jews who are not from Eastern and Central Europe. Sepharad means Spain in Hebrew–thus, the term originally referred to Jews from Spain and their descendants who lived in Greece, Turkey, and other Mediterranean countries after the expulsion in 1492.
SEPHARDI
Jews from the Mediterranean and Asia.
SHABBAT
The Sabbath; the divinely-ordained day of rest on the seventh day of the week starting Friday evening till Saturday evening.
SHMURAH MATZAH
Matzah which has been made from grain which was guarded from the time of either reaping or grinding to ensure that it never came into contact with water or other liquids, to prevent it from rising.
SHOCHET
Kosher butcher.
SOOM SOOM (ALTERNATE SPELLING: SUM SUM)
Hebrew word for sesame seeds.
STREUSEL
A topping to put on a challah of babkah.
SUFGANIOT
Israeli doughnuts typically eaten on Chanukkah.
-T-
TABBOULEH (ALTERNATE SPELLING: TABOULI)
Cracked wheat salad typically made with parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, and mint.
TAHINI (ALTERNATE SPELLING: TEHINA)
Middle Eastern condiment made of ground sesame seeds. Common topping for falafel.
TEIGLACH
A ginger circular biscuit coated in very thick gingery syrup, served mainly on holidays – Russian or Lithuanian origin.
TRAYF (ALTERNATE SPELLING: TREIF)
Refers to non-kosher food.
TZIMMES
Literally “a fuss” in Yiddish. A medley of vegetables (typically root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip, carrots) simmered with prunes or other dried fruit. Typically served at Rosh Hashanah for a sweet new year.
A beef or brisket tzimmes can also be made using the above ingredients also.
-U-
There are no Terms here yet.
-V-
VARNISHKES
Bow-tie pasta (farfalle in Italian). Typically served with kasha.
-W-
There are no Terms here at this time.
-X-
There are no Terms here at this time.
-Y-
YOICH (ALTERNATE SPELLING: YUCH)
Yiddish word for chicken soup.
-Z-
ZAATAR
Israeli spice mixture used for seasoning meats and flat breads (pita).
ZEROAH
Shank bone
ZHOUG
Fiery Yemenite condiment made of ground hot peppers.

Composed by:  Hannah Frank Witt

Advertisements

15 thoughts on ““TRH” JEWISH / YIDDISH FOOD TERMINOLOGY LIST

  1. Dolly, thank you soo very much for the fabulous compliment. I loved every minute of comilng this and especially doing it for the group. I had sent earlier a mail but who knows where it went but it gave me a new number as I had already subscribed.
    Dolly, where are you from if I may ask? Nice to know new people around the world and especially when I get compliments from them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart again. Todarah Bah😄👍

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s