Tonight we are traveling back to a much simpler time and place. To the time of my great-grandmother Malka and grandmother Lena (Lee). The time is the late 19th century, the place is Trembowla, Galicia, Austria. Galicia was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918 during the first World War when it was broken up into 2 parts. Western Galicia went to Poland and Eastern Galicia became part of the Ukraine which is where Trembowla is today. This dish was passed down 5 generations; my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mom, to me and now to my older son who is also interested in cooking.
Kasha Varnishkas is a traditional dish of the Jews of Eastern Europe that combines Kasha which are Buckwheat groats and Varnishkas which is pasta in the shape of bow ties, and sauteed onions. The original recipe that came from Eastern Europe did not use bow tie pasta as they didn’t have Ronzoni or Barilla. My great-grandmother made her own egg noodles and the “Varnishkas” are taken from the Russian word “varenichki” which are small stuffed dumplings which she also made. Unfortunately, I did not know my great-grandmother Malka as she died many years before I was born. To see how I made her recipe, keep reading!