Jewish Classic Eats: Bagels, Challah, Chinese Food?

Written by Amy Kritzer on Wednesday, 27 June 2012. Posted in Food Mood

We've been following Amy's adventure as she attends Culinary School and with every post we wish would would be standing with her in the kitchen. One of the lessons Amy posted was about Asian cooking. As Amy says, Jews love Chinese food and we're excited to learn a tip or two - CookKosher

It is no secret that Jews LOVE Chinese food. Jews and Chinese food go together like, well, bagels and lox. Or moo shu and pancakes. Perfectly well! I cannot think of a dinner that we haven't celebrated with some beef and broccoli and wonton soup. There are a few theories as to where this love affair started. Primarily, Jewish immigrants into the Lower East Side in New York City moved right next to Chinatown. Convenience is key! Plus, the Chinese restaurant owners were quite welcoming. 
Other ideas involve the actual cuisine. Jews love eating at home; Chinese food makes great takeout! Plus the familiar menu is the same wherever you go. You want egg drop soup and pan fried noodles? We’ve got that! My Bubbe has enough anxiety without adding figuring out a menu on top of it! Well if that is true, then what could be more Jewish than making your own Chinese food in the comfort of your own home? But what does it take to whip up your own that tastes just as good as from your local restaurant? Here are a few classic must-have ingredients: 
Bok Choy - a leafy green cabbage.
Chili paste - adds a spicy element to any dish.
Chinese eggplant - longer, thinner and lighter in color than conventional eggplant. 
Cornstarch - used to thicken sauces or for marinating meat to add texture and tenderness. 
Garlic - a popular seasoning ingredient.
Ginger - fresh is best! Popular for seasoning, but also in marinades since ginger can break down proteins. 
Green onions - used as garnish or in stir-fries. 
Mushrooms - delicious in soups and stir-fries. 
Rice - if you have ever eaten Chinese food, you know rice is the basis of every meal! 
Rice vinegar - vinegar made of rice. It has a sweet, acidic flavor and is great in sauces or in marinades as it is a great tenderizer. Make sure it’s a kosher brand! 
Sesame oil - often used as a marinade or in dipping sauces. 
Soy sauce - make sure it’s kosher too! Great for sauces or marinating meats. 

One of my favorite Chinese recipes I made on my blog What Jew Wanna Eat is my take on Chicken Dumplings! You just may never order takeout again. 

Chicken Dumplings 

Prep time: 30 mins 
Cook time: 10 mins 
Total time: 40 mins 
Serves: 4 


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
1 pound ground chicken
4 stalks scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 cup water chestnuts, dried and minced
1 tablespoon sake plus a splash for dipping sauce
1 tablespoon kosher soy sauce plus 1 tablespoon for dipping sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil plus 1/2 tablespoon for dipping sauce
1 tablespoon kosher rice vinegar plus 1 tablespoon for dipping sauce


1. Make your dough by mixing the flour and 1/2 cup water until you get a dough that is soft and not too sticky or too dry. Add more water up to 3/4 cup in order to get the right consistency.
2. Roll the dough into two cylinders about 1 inch in diameter. Cover them with wet paper towels and set aside while you make the filling.
3. To make your filling, combine all the other ingredients- chicken, minced scallions, minced mushrooms, minced ginger and minced water chestnuts. Also add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon sake.
4. Chill your meat for about 30 minutes.
5. To make the dumplings, cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces and roll them out into circles that are about 3 inches in diameter.
6. Put a dollop of filling into each dumpling and secure each one. I used a fork to seal mine and add a cute detail.
7. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and drop in the dumplings. When they float (after about 5 minutes) they are done!
8. Serve with a dipping sauce made with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and a splash of sake for kicks.

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About the Author

Amy Kritzer

Amy is a recent transplant from NYC to Austin, Texas who enjoys baking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother's traditional recipes and blogs about her endeavors at

Comments (2)

  • OvertimeCook
    28 June 2012 at 01:23 |

    This looks delicious! I guess I am a true Jew because I love chinese food too. ;)

  • WhatJewWannaEat
    28 June 2012 at 02:29 |

    Thanks! I do too- wish we had better Chinese food in Texas!

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