Friday, February 01, 2008
This evening I took a stab at kugel. If you don't know what kugel is, don't ask me -- I'm still trying to figure it out myself. This is not to say that kugel is anything new to me. In fact, it is precisely because I grew up this quintessentially Jewish cassorole/pudding/pasta dish that I am so bewildered as to what exactly makes kugel, kugel. You see, I have encountered so many sorts and styles of kugel, it's hard to pin down what they all have in common, if anything: there's potato kugel, fruit kugel, carrot kugel; there's savory kugel and sweet kugel; kosher-for-passover kugel and treifah kugel, dairy kugel and vegan kugel. The only things that I have found all (or nearly all) kugels to have in common is that they contain noodles of some sort and are always a very messy and scrumptious jumble of things you typically wouldn't mix together but end up complementing each other surprisingly well. I based my kugel on a recipe titled "Melody's Vegan Noodle Kugel" which I hope you will agree is a dish as fun to eat as it is to say. I used maple syrup in place of Sucanat. This made the filling thinner that it's supposed to be, but it cooked fine and was definitely sweet enough. I also added some allspice and nutmeg as I happened to have them on hand. And if you're like me, you'll be ridiculously heavy on the cardamom; it is after all, the best spice ever! I think the best thing about the recipe is how it capitalizes on the unique qualities of silken tofu: its mushiness, thickening power, and ability to absorb all surrounding flavors. For another awesome silken tofu dessert check out the "Chocolate Kahlua Mousse Pie" recipe I posted several months ago.