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Kosher Cooking for the Non-Jewish

Oy vey! You've just invited some dinner guests over, and found out they're Jewish and require a Kosher meal! What do you do?

No worries, this lesson will solve your problems!

Kosher Cooking for Goyim

A goy (plural:goyim) means a non-Jew. So if you need to cook up anything kosher and don't have any experience in the matter, you've come to the right place.

First of all, what does Kosher mean?

Keeping Kosher requires following certain dietary restrictions as prescribed by old, wise Jewish people who decided to interpret the Bible in a certain way. The basic premise of keeping kosher is that "you are what you eat", and therefore you should avoid eating certain things. Traditionally, since there are many many types of Jews in the world, there are many definitions for what is Kosher and what is not. But there are several simple guidelines you should be aware of:

Rule #1 No pigs. No shrimp. No weird exotic animals.

The idea here is that you don't want to eat disgusting freaky things, like smelly, dirty pigs or scary looking shrimpy/lobstery creatures. It's simpler to list the animals you can eat: fish (as long as they have scale), cows, sheep (also veal and lamb), chicken, geese, ducks, and that's mostly it.

Now, since most people eat this stuff anyway, you shouldn't have any problems cooking them up, right?

Rule #2 It has to actually be Kosher.

All of these animals have to be slaughtered in a very specific way, and supervised by a qualified Rabbi, in order to really be considered good for you to eat. This ensures you're only eating the good parts of the animal (no bladders or intestines or anything like that, thanks!).

Making a meal? Check for a Kosher stamp on your meat, which can be found in certain supermarket stores and other places. This will ensure you're doing it the right way.

Rule #3 Never mix things that don't go together.

The clear idea is, you don't want to mix a cow with its milk, that's not cool. (Although for some reason you're allowed to mix a chicken with eggs, but let's not get picky). Dairy products are never to be served in the same meal as meat products (not including fish, that's ok).

So, for a meal, decide whether you're having it dairy-style (best for lunch) or meat-style (best for dinner). Don't include some dishes from one style and some from the other, and never serve a dish with both (no cheeseburgers).

That's mostly it! Now you can cook!

Lesson here is: Kosher cooking isn't very different from any other type of cooking. Once you know the restrictions, you can just cook an ordinary meal your Jewish friends will love!

Here's my favourite, simple kosher recipe:

Kosher schnitzel with potatoes

Get yourself for the schnitzel some Kosher pieces of chicken breast. I like using scallopini best, these are very thin stripes of chicken breast that do not need to be hammered or flattened. If you're buying regular breast, hammer it down until it's very flat.

Get some good olive oil, rosemary, salt, and a touch of garlic powder on plate. Cut small round potatoes in half and swipe them with the mixture a bit. Then through them into the oven and forget about it for half an hour to 45 minutes.

Now, put an egg in a bowl, and mix it good. On a plate, mix some bread crumbs (make sure they have no dairy by-products in them) and sesame seeds with salt and pepper. Now, pour oil into a frying pan and turn on the heat! You can check whether the oil is hot enough by placing a toothpick in it, if bubbles come out, turn down the flame and you're good to go.

Place each chicken stripe inside the egg, then cover it with some crumb mixture. Now put it into the pan until it's brownish, and then flip it over to the other side. It'll take about 10 minutes per side. Put it on an absorbent paper towel to dry off some of the oil.

Once everything is done and ready to go, serve (with kosher wine if you want). See? Kosher cooking is as simple as that.

This should get you going with cooking the Jewish way! Enjoy!

(Photos taken from Flickr, used under Creative Commons. The schnitzel photo is used for illustration only, it has nothing to do with the actual dish)


  1. acrosstheuniverse saidFri, 11 Jul 2008 21:18:05 -0000 ( Link )

    Wonderful lesson Oren! No Oy Veys needed after reading this!

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  2. oLahav saidMon, 11 Aug 2008 20:08:19 -0000 ( Link )

    I just made this dish over the weekend… and totally undercooked the schnitzel. So here’s a new tip- instead of a 10 minute rule, just take it out when it looks nice and brown. I figured that if it’s white, since it’s not pink anymore it should be ok, but no, white doesn’t cut it. It’s supposed to be brown.

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  3. Faye saidWed, 13 Aug 2008 15:08:30 -0000 ( Link )

    This is great! I really like the article, and it is so helpful! Do you have any more tips or ricks to give on this topic?

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  4. oLahav saidWed, 13 Aug 2008 15:22:06 -0000 ( Link )

    Thanks for the positive comment.

    I do have one small addition- for strict Kosher-ness, you should never use the same cooking equipment for dairy and meat products. This is why some Jewish houses have 2 fridges, 2 sets of cutlery, etc.

    If you want to prepare a Kosher meal, the best way to go without complicating matters would probably be to serve fish, since there are few restrictions in that area. You can even go with vegetarian recipes just to make sure, because there are no rules at all regarding vegetables, baked goods, and things like that (although with genetically modified plants, there may be problems, I’m not sure about that).

    The important thing to realize is that some people keep strict Kosher, but some just use Kosher-style cooking, which lets you relax a lot of the rules (like the different equipment and Rabbi certifications). If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to make, ask your guests (or just use Kosher catering).

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  5. djl605 saidTue, 21 May 2013 16:09:23 -0000 ( Link )

    Another point: it’s best not to use any of your own cooking utensils. Although it is possible to get around the prohibition against eating off of non-kosher plates, it is much more difficult to get around the prohibition of eating food cooked in non-kosher utensils. Either use brand new (unused) broiler pans, pots, etc. or just use disposable stuff. Also, if you’re cooking in your own oven, make sure to THOROUGHLY wrap everything with aluminum foil TWICE so that there are two layers of foil separating all parts of the food from the oven.

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  6. djl605 saidTue, 21 May 2013 16:09:31 -0000 ( Link )

    Another point: it’s best not to use any of your own cooking utensils. Although it is possible to get around the prohibition against eating off of non-kosher plates, it is much more difficult to get around the prohibition of eating food cooked in non-kosher utensils. Either use brand new (unused) broiler pans, pots, etc. or just use disposable stuff. Also, if you’re cooking in your own oven, make sure to THOROUGHLY wrap everything with aluminum foil TWICE so that there are two layers of foil separating all parts of the food from the oven.

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