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Kugel is a baked Jewish pudding or casserole most commonly made from egg noodles or potatoes, served as a side dish or a dessert.

Left: Kugel made from egg noodles.

The name of the dish comes from the Germanic root meaning "ball" or "globe", thus the Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the round, puffed-up shape of the original dishes. However nowadays kugels are often baked in square pans.

The first kugels were made from bread and flour and were savory rather than sweet. About 800 years ago, cooks in Germany replaced bread mixtures with noodles or farfel (small pellet-shaped noodles). Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency which is common in today's dessert dishes. In Poland, Jewish homemakers added raisins, cinnamon and sweet farmer's cheese to noodle kugel recipes.

Savory kugel may be based on potatoes, matzah (a cracker-like flatbread made of white plain flour and water), cabbage, carrots, zucchini, spinach or cheese.

Kugels are a mainstay of festive meals in Ashkenazi Jewish (Jews of Eastern European descent) homes, particularly on the Jewish Sabbath and other Jewish holidays.

A similar Belarusian dish is potato babka.


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