There is a number of dishes people traditionally eat on Rosh Hashana, similarly to other holy days. We present the Virtual Shtetl readers with a few traditional recipes of Ashkenazic Jews.

The selected New Year’s dishes will be presented by Estera Kafka, often referred to as “Jewish Kurt Scheller wearing a skirt”, an expert on the Ashkenazic and Sephardic cuisine, co-author of the best-selling book entitled Przysmaki żydowskie we współczesnej kuchni [“Jewish specialties in the modern cuisine”]. Together with her daughter, Malka Kafka – a well-known Warsaw restaurant owner, founder of the popular Tel-Aviv Café – has been popularizing the Jewish cuisine in Poland for several years now.



  • 500 g of pumpkin flesh
  • 500 g of yellow peas
  • 1 big white onion
  • 5 tablespoons of canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric or 2 saffron stigmas
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped green parsley


Rinse the peas and soak for a few hours. Peel the onion, chop, fry in oil until golden, add small amount of water and transfer to a pot. Put the peas into the pot, add 2.5 l of water, simmer until soft (about 30 minutes). Add diced pumpkin flesh and spices, cook until it crumbles. Pour the soup onto plates and garnish with green parsley.



  • 1 kg of carp
  • 25 dag of plums
  • 1/2 glass of dry red wine
  • 3-4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • lemon juice,
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sugar
  • salt


Salt the cleaned and dressed carp and leave for half an hour in a cool place. Rinse the plums, remove stones, mix with wine, lemon juice, sugar and spices. Coat the fish with flour, fry in oil on both sides until golden. Put in an oven dish, pour in the plum sauce and bake (about 10 minutes) in the temperature of about 180°C.



  • 1 cod, 1 pike and 1 carp (1 kg each)
  • 5 big white onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 glass of ice water (put boiled and cooled water into the freezer. Thaw just before adding to the fish)
  • 3 tablespoons of ground matzo (or breadcrumbs),
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar

Dress the fish (immerse the pike in boiling water for a while to make it easier to remove hard scales), wash, fillet, remove skin. Remove the gills and eyes from the head, rinse well. Put the heads, skin, backs and 4 sliced onions in a flat saucepan, add half of the salt and paper, pour over with 2 liters of water, cook on medium heat. Grind the fillets and chopped onion. Add eggs, ice water, sugar, the remaining salt and pepper and matzo. Whip the ingredients energetically until a uniform, fluffy mass is obtained. Form balls ca. 3 cm in diameter with moist hands. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water to the hot stock, put the balls carefully into the stock, add diagonally sliced carrot. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hour on a very low heat. Put the fish balls in a deep casserole with carrot around it, pour over the strained stock. Put into the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). Serve with horseradish and white bread. Gefilte fish can be preserved in jars.



  • 4 big sour apples
  • 3 and 1/4 glass of wheat flour
  • 1 glass of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 glass of natural orange juice
  • 1 glass of oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • oil for greasing the baking pan
  • flour for sprinkling the baking pan


Peel the apples, divide into quarters, remove the cores, slice. Place the fruit in a bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of sugar, mix.

Put the eggs into a separate bowl, add the remaining sugar and whip with a mixer adding the vanilla essence, oil and orange juice. Add the flour, mixed with salt and baking powder, in small portions, mix on low speed until well blended. Pour 2/3 of the dough into a baking pan (30 cm x 38 cm), greased with oil and sprinkled with flour, put 1/3 of the apples on the top, pour the rest of the dough on top and add the remaining fruit. Bake for about 1 hour at 180°C. Remove from the oven when golden. Cool or serve warm.

Finally, the recipe for a round challah. In the words of Estera Kafka: “there is no Rosh Hashanah without a round challah”.

1 cup = 250ml


  • 1¼ cup of warm water
  • 1½ tablespoon of dry yeast
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of oil
  • ¾ glass of raisins
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ½ cups of plain flour


Place water, yeast, sugar and oil in a bowl and stir together. Add eggs and salt to the bowl, mix. Slowly add flour and knead the dough until it gets dense and non-sticky. Place dough on the table, add raisins and knead until smooth for ca 10 minutes, adding flour if needed to prevent sticking. Form the dough into a ball, oil the bowl and the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with ‘fresh’ foil and a cloth. Put aside for 1 hour in a warm place. After an hour remove the cloth and foil, punch the dough 4 times with your fist to remove air bubbles and set aside for further 0.5h. Put the dough on a table, cut in half using sharp knife and then each half into 3 or 4 pieces – depending what size of challah you wish to bake. Roll each piece into same length segments and braid them. Place braided challas on a baking tray leaving enough space for them to raise, cover with cloth and set aside. Preheat the oven to 175C. After 10 mins coat the challas with whipped egg, put in the oven – large challas for 35 mins, small ones for 25 mins. Use a toothpick to check if the challas are ready.

Enjoy your meal!

The recipes presented in the article come from the book by Estera Kafka and Malka Kafka Przysmaki żydowskie we współczesnej kuchni [“Jewish delicacies in the modern cuisine”], Poznań 2010.