My son, Aaron, loves farfel (flake-shaped pasta popular in Jewish cuisine).
When he was younger, Aaron used to love to visit Bubby and Zaidy in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. While he enjoyed spending time with his grandparents, he was excited by the fact that there was nearly a dozen places where he could buy prepared farfel within a short radius of Bubby and Zaidy‘s home. That meant something back then.
Some things haven’t changed.
When Aaron comes home for Shabbos, I try to prepare heimeshe (home-style) farfel. Nowadays, there are not many stores in our hometown that sell Heimeshe farfel. Most sell egg barley, which is more like orzo than like farfel. Heimeshe farfel is typically made from an egg noodle dough and/or matzo and is toasted before being cooked. It has trademark light and dark coloration, reminiscent of the color of matzo.
Farfel is something that reminds me of my childhood. That uniquely hemishe side dish evokes images of a past era where life was so much simpler. On my visits to Monsey or Brooklyn, I can easily find this ingredient, much to Aaron’s delight. And, when I prepare this simple and delicious dish, he doesn’t even need to leave the house to enjoy it!
2 small bags heimeshe farfel
garlic, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 1/2- 2 cups of water
Over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in oil, just until starting to brown. Add heimeshe farfel and toast for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, making sure that farfel doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a bit more water in intervals, if necessary. Farfel should be dry and soft when ready.