Kreplach are a beloved staple of Eastern European Jewish cuisine. These triangle-shaped, meat-filled dumplings are enjoyed on holidays such as Purim and around Yom Kippur, or really any time the craving hits.
My favorite kreplach are filled with a simple mixture of beef and browned onions, so that’s what I’ve used here. Traditional versions are made with braised beef, but we’re using fast-cooking ground beef for this version. I also take the shortcut of using store-bought wonton wrappers instead of making a dough from scratch. Easy peasy! The whole recipe takes about an hour to put together, so it’s pretty weeknight-friendly if you’re in the mood to fold up some dumplings at dinnertime.
A Comforting Carb Fest
Jewish delicatessens often include kreplach on the menu, too. They’re usually listed as an optional add-in for a bowl of chicken noodle soup—you can often order a bowl that includes kreplach, noodles, and a matzo ball or two. Talk about a comforting carb fest! Kreplach can also be served sans broth—pan-fried until they’re browned and crispy, then served with sour cream and/or caramelized onions.
Purim Traditions With Family and Friends
Purim is one of the more fun and silly Jewish holidays (some might even say the most fun), with kids and adults alike enjoying the festivities. We recount the story of how Queen Ester saved the Jews, reading the megillah aloud and making lots of obnoxious noise every time the villain, Haman, is named. We eat triangle-shaped cookies called hamantaschen, which translates as “Haman’s hats,” and deliver mishloach manot, or Purim baskets, of cookies and treats to friends and neighbors.
There’s also a costume/dress-up element to the holiday that makes things even more fun. In my Jewish preschool, we’d have a Purim parade, with all the kids dressing up as either characters from the story of Ester, or in whatever costume they liked.
As an adult, one of my favorite traditions for Purim is the Purim “spiel,” or play. At my synagogue, the rabbi would write a different play every year, interspersed with musical numbers and lots of raunchy humor. Drinking wine was encouraged, and no kids were allowed in attendance. As it turns out, it’s traditional to imbibe on Purim, until you’re tipsy enough to enjoy the merriment, all the more.
In addition to the cookies, costumes, and silly plays, Purim has a traditional meal. This is one element of the holiday that was not familiar to me until I recently did some digging and asked a few Jewish friends, both American and Israeli, about their Purim traditions.
The Purim seudah is to be enjoyed during daylight hours, and along with all the celebratory wine, at least two dishes (but preferably more) should be served. Oftentimes, a beef dish is served, as it’s considered more festive than chicken. Sometimes, the seudah will be vegetarian and feature seeds and grains prominently, in honor of Esther’s keeping vegetarian while living in the palace. She would likely have had to do so in order to keep kosher.
Making Kreplach With a Few Short Cuts
With this kreplach recipe, I’m giving you my most pared down and simple way to make them, using a few shortcuts. Traditionally, beef-filled kreplach are made with already-cooked pot roast or brisket, which is then chopped and mixed with caramelized onions.
Here, the filling starts with some of those yummy, browned onions, which caramelize in just 15 minutes since they’re diced very small and cooked in a small batch. The onions are mixed with lean ground beef for a quick and easy filling. If you’d like to go the vegetarian route, simply substitute plant-based “beef” grinds (Beyond Beef and Impossible are two brands I like) for the ground beef.
Making a traditional kreplach dough is, like the traditional filling, another time-consuming and labor-intensive step. Instead of making the dough from scratch, we’re using store-bought wonton wrappers. These dumplings are thin and delicate, and they only take a few minutes to fully cook through. You’ll want to serve them right away, as they have a tendency to break apart if left in their broth for too long.
Oh, and as for the broth, of course you can use the homemade stuff if you have it on hand, but store-bought will do just fine.
Folding Kreplach With Ease
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is the folding of the kreplach, but I’m using the easiest and fastest method I know of: Folding the squares of wonton dough over diagonally to make triangles. Some triangle-shaped kreplach are folded more elaborately, but this recipe requires just one fold.
Round wrappers (usually labeled potsticker wrappers) will work too, though the dumplings will end up half-moon shaped rather than Purim-ready triangles. Either way, just about anybody can help you with this task, even/especially children, and many hands will lighten the load.
Making Crispy Fried Kreplach With an Air Fryer
When I want to make crispy, fried kreplach, I actually use my air fryer. Timing and temperature recommendations can vary based on the make and model of your air fryer, but as a general recommendation, brushing the kreplach lightly with olive oil, then placing them in the basket in a single layer at 375°F for 4-5 minutes should yield crispy fried dumplings.
If you’re making them this way, double up on the caramelized onions, so you’ll have plenty to top your kreplach with when they come out of the air fryer.
Kreplach Swaps and Substitutions
Ingredient swaps and substitutions can be made, including the following:
- Potsticker wrappers for wonton wrappers
- Ground turkey or chicken, or plant-based “grinds” instead of ground beef
- Vegetable broth in place of chicken broth
- Chives and/or green onions instead of parsley and/or dill
- Spices—a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, ras el hanout, berbere, garam masala, or curry powder added to the filling would make for a flavorful twist
Make Kreplach a Day in Advance
You can make the kreplach themselves a day in advance and store them in the refrigerator before boiling them in broth. Just lay out the dumplings in a single layer on a sheet pan or in a large, lidded container as you’re folding them, placing a sheet of plastic wrap between layers of dumplings to keep them from sticking to each other.
I wouldn’t try to store the kreplach in the broth after it’s made—the delicate wonton skins will quickly become soggy and break apart in the broth.
More Recipes to Celebrate Purim
Easy Beef Kreplach (Purim Dumplings)
For the soup:
3 quarts chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
For the dumplings:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) package (about 50) wonton wrappers (such as Twin Dragon brand)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill and/or parsley
Boil water to cook kreplach:
Add 3 quarts of water to a large pot on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, then turn down the heat to low until you’re ready to boil the kreplach.
Simmer the vegetables in the chicken broth:
Add the chicken broth, carrots, and celery to a 4-quart soup pot, on the stove over medium heat. When it comes to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Let the vegetables simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until they’re tender and cooked through. Turn off the heat. The broth should be plenty hot when ready to serve, but feel free to place over low heat to warm once serving, if needed,
Caramelize the onions:
In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized but not charred, about 15 minutes. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, until they’re no longer piping hot.
Make the filling:
Add the ground beef and black pepper to the onions in the bowl, then use your hands to mix until well combined.
Fold the kreplach:
Place a few dumpling wrappers on a work surface, with a cup of water nearby. Keep the rest of the wrappers covered so that they don’t dry out.
Dip your finger in the water, then run it along two sides of each wonton wrapper—this will help the dumplings seal properly, so that they do not come apart when cooked.
Working quickly so that the water doesn’t dry up, add a heaping teaspoon of filling to each wonton wrapper, then fold them over into a triangle shape, pressing out any air pockets, then pressing down the edges to seal.
Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, until you’ve used up all the filling. If you run out of room on your work surface as you’re folding the kreplach, transfer them to a sheet pan as you go, separating each layer of kreplach with a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper.
Simmer the kreplach in the salted water:
Return the pot of salted water to high heat until it comes up to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down to medium heat. Working in batches of a dozen kreplach at a time, add the kreplach to the pot.
Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the kreplach are mostly floating and you can see the dough starting to shrink up and wrinkle around the filling. Cut one open to make sure it's done in the middle. When they’re done boiling, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the pot of chicken broth and vegetables.
Repeat with the rest of the kreplach. Monitor the heat, making sure the water doesn’t boil too rapidly, so that the kreplach don’t break apart.
Serve the kreplach in the chicken broth:
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kreplach to serving bowls, then ladle the chicken broth and vegetables over them. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve right away.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 24g||30%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||36%|
|Total Carbohydrate 50g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||27%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|