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Classic Gefilte Fish (Pareve)


Gefilte Fish

Gefilte Fish

Giora Shimoni
At the time of the Mishna (200 CE), rabbis deemed it meritorious to eat fish on the Sabbath and Jews became accustomed to eating fish at festive meals. Due to the plethora of rivers in Europe, Ashkenazi Jews tended to cook with freshwater fish. Eastern European Jews would make a mixture of chopped fish, stuff it back into the skin of the fish, and boil it. The word gefilte means stuffed in Yiddish.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours


  • 2 pounds of fish fillets (mix of carp, whitefish, haddock, yellow pike and/or cod)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1-2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • cold water may be added if needed to get the mixture to stick together
  • 8 cups of water
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • fish bones and heads


1. Mince fish in a food processor. Grind carrots and onion in food processor.
2. In a bowl, combine ground fish and vegetables with the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix matzo meal, sugar, salt and pepper. Combine the two mixes and beat until light. Cover and chill for one hour.
3. Boil a large pot of fish stock.
4. With wet hands, take 3 tablespoons of the fish mixture at a time and roll into ovals.
5. Gently add gefilte fish to the boiling fish stock. Make sure the stock covers the fish balls. Simmer, uncovered, for two hours. Water should be added if needed to keep the fish balls covered.
6. Remove the fish balls, carrots and onions from the fish stock. Cool. Refrigerate.


Just before serving, sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve cold gefilte fish on lettuce with pieces of the boiled carrot and horseradish sauce.

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