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Soup with Puff Klezki

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A soup with klezki, one of the simplest Russian dishes, must have been handy during the time of empty shelves in the Soviet supermarkets. I barely remember those times, they left in me no bitter sediment, and this soup has left me nothing but warmth. There are other variations on klezki, most notably the German kößchen, but the klezki I know call for nothing but flour, eggs and the broth to make the soup with. The flour, eggs and some liquid are combined into a dough that is then dropped in dollops into the boiling broth. The result is an extremely simple soup with rather peculiar contents. Klezki do no taste like pasta, or dumplings, or gnocchi. They are awkward-looking dollops that, in the case of this particular recipe, melt like angel cake in your mouth. This recipe is from my grandma and calls for a bit more skill than the standard recipe, but it also produces particularly tender klezki. The dough is based on the same idea as the puff pastry dough. I do not claim to do it expertly, but here it is.

What you need (serves 2):
5 cups + 1/2 cup of broth
4 Tbsp water
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
boiled chicken used for making the broth
carrot left over from the broth

How to do it:
To make the broth yourself, you can follow mom's instructions in the Heavenly Chicken Noodles post, else a canned broth will do. Set aside a pot with 5 cups of broth. This will be the base of the soup. 
To make the klezki dough: Pour the remaining 1/2 cups of broth into a small pot, add butter (optional) and set on medium heat. In a cup, mix the flour with a little water (may be more or less than 4 Tbsp) until the mixture is a little bit runny and has no lumps. When the broth in the small pot begins to boil, gradually pour in the flour mixture, while stirring the broth. Continue mixing the contents of the pot, as they rapidly thicken. After about 1 minute, remove from heat. This should be a rather thick dough. Let it cool for a little bit (about 2 minutes). Break the egg over the pot and mix thoroughly, until the egg is fully incorporated. This is your klezki dough. It should be pretty thick (see picture). If the dough is too liquid, add a little bit of flour.

To cook the klezki: Set the big pot with broth on medium heat. When it begins to boil, deftly and quickly spoon out the the dough and dip the spoon into the boiling broth. The dough will separate from the spoon at its own accord. The broth should not boil too violently. To create neat klezki, use a tablespoon to spoon up the dough, and a teaspoon to spoon the dough out of the tablespoon. This will create more or less neat edges. Between the making of every two klezki, dip the teaspoon into ice water. This will prevent the dough from sticking to it. When the klezki float to the surface and puff up a little, they are done. This only takes 2-3 minutes, maximum.

To serve: Just dish into bowls, optionally add some boiled chicken, scallions and boiled carrots left over from the making of the broth. If you were not careful, the soup may have floating dough flakes, which can be strained out while pouring the broth into the bowls. 
Not the prettiest dish, but simple and heartwarming.

The original recipe requires all of the flour to be added to the broth at once, without mixing with the water first. I found this rather hard to do without creating lumps. If anyone has tips about this, would be great to hear.
This soup can be completely vegetarian if the broth used is a vegetable broth.

It turned out that mom and I, completely independently, decided to cook klezki today! It must be the kinship of our souls...


sasha white said...

I've always know it as "soup galushki" :) i should try this recipe.. i love this kind of soup

Masha S. said...

Well, if I remember my grandmother's descriptions correctly, galushki are made from a thicker dough that is rolled and then cut or ripped and thrown into the boiling water. Sort of like lazy home-cooked pasta in a soup. With klezki, the dough has the consistency of glue and you have to spoon it up. Have fun cooking (and eating) :)

Anonymous said...

and my grandma-who was born in Russia-Ukraine-a place called Maloshnayayi Woda--Black Sea area---she made Galushki---eggs,flour,sour milk,salt,bk.pdr,soda-bl.pepper,and ch.green onions inside dough---cooked these in boil water, then fried them in butter, lightly.Yumm!

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