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Farfel is an ingredient most commonly seen in Jewish cuisine. Traditional farfel is made with egg noodles which have been shredded or broken into small chunks so that they are grainy, sort of like cous-cous, while matzo farfel is made with crumbled matzo crackers. Both forms are used in a wide variety of dishes, and they can be found in many markets which stock Jewish cuisine, especially during Passover, when traditional foods are very popular in many Jewish communities.
One of the classic uses of this ingredient is during the Sabbath meal which signals the end of the week and the start of the Sabbath holiday. It may be used as a side dish during this meal, in which case it may be seasoned with oil, salt, and pepper and eaten like many other noodle or starch side dishes. The dish is also commonly served during Passover and it can make an appearance during other religious holidays as well.
In addition to being used as a side dish, farfel can also be a filler in soups, kugels, savory pies, and other dishes. Some Jewish sweets are also made with farfel, as in the case of sweet kugels eaten as snacks and treats. Cooks can purchase farfel ready for use, or they can buy egg noodles or matzo and break them up as needed.
Some precautions need to be taken when handling farfel, because it can turn into a soggy mass which is extremely unpleasant. In the case of noodle farfel, the noodles may be soaked before use, but not necessarily cooked if they are going to be used in a cooked dish, because the heat of the food will cook the noodles through the rest of the way, and the dish will taste better when the noodles have a chewy texture and when they are not massed together. Matzo farfel is also soaked or moistened before use, but this is done with care to avoid making a soggy, gluey mound.
Even for those who are not fans of Jewish cuisine, farfel can have some diverse uses. It is very similar to breadcrumbs, so it can be used as filler in quiches, seafood cakes, and similar dishes. It can also make a flavorful and interesting side dish for Middle Eastern food, and it can be used for quick snacks. Packages should be kept in a cool dry place, and preferably stored out of the light.
I'm not Jewish but I do use farfel a lot. I think any recipe that calls for bread crumbs can be replaced with farfel. It's healthier than bread anyway and cooks very quickly, which is great. I've also tried putting farfel in soups to make them thicker and that has worked out really well too.
I've never had trouble finding them either because there is a large Jewish community where I live and most grocery stores carry Jewish foods. I'm really lucky.
Having farfel is my favorite part of Passover. I think farfel is the best breakfast food ever. I love matzo farfel with fruits, cinnamon and milk. These are the basic ingredients for making farfel breakfast and it generally doesn't require much sugar. But I love my farfel sweet so I always put extra sugar in it.
I also love farfel kuger as dessert. It's kind of similar to breakfast farfel minus the milk and addition of eggs, butter and more sugar. I call it the Jewish version of rice crispy treats because the texture reminds me of it. My mom bakes this in the oven and cuts it into little squares. It's the perfect sweet snack. Farfel is the star dish of Passover, but I can have these two foods any time of the year, they are delicious.
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