18 May 2024
Recipe of the week: Ethel’s Knishes
Expat Cookbook

Recipe of the week: Ethel’s Knishes

To celebrate US Independence Day in July, the YLC’s expat cookbook goes stateside! This month we turn to the Big Apple and the New Jersey area for inspiration and get help from a real expert – our own Amy Johansson!


My aunt Ethel was a classic New York City dame. Born in Flatbush Brooklyn in 1919, she eventually moved on up to Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side and was a neighborhood fixture. She would absolutely inspire a character in a Woody Allen film. Ethel was a great person to take a leisurely stroll with around Manhattan or Brooklyn. Walks with her often turned into vivid NYC history lessons, as she colorfully recalled her childhood and greeted friends and acquaintances. During these walks we often noshed on (that’s New York-lish for “ate”) portable street food, like knishes. Here is a recipe for the classic New York City knish, a humble hearty handheld food.

What you’ll need:

Knish dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp bakpulver/baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 matsked vegetable oil

2 eggs, gently beaten

Knish filling

2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil or melted chicken fat (the stuff you skim off the top of your chicken stock if you make it at home)

2 dl minced white or yellow onions

5 dl leftover potatismos (yes you probably have that in Sweden!)

What to do:

1. Make the dough first. The flour, salt and baking powder all go into a bowl. You can stir them together with your hands or a utensil. Make a well in the mixture and add the liquid ingredients to it (oil and eggs), mixing them together gradually. When it becomes a mass, knead the dough until it becomes a ball.

2. Transfer this dough ball to a lightly floured work surface and knead it, roughly 5-8 minutes depending on your hands and your technique until the dough is smooth. At this point, place the ball into a lightly oiled bowl (rapseed or neutral veggie oil), cover (with clingfilm or a clean towel) and place in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 150 and work on your knish filling. Mix together the onions, potatoes, oil, salt and pepper to your liking in a bowl.

4. When the dough has rested in the fridge for 1 hour, remove it and divide it into thirds on a floured work surface. With each piece of dough, roll it out to the shape of a rectangle or square depending on your aesthetic preference. Spread the filling out until about 2 cm from the other edge. Then roll up like a rulltårta, pinching the edges closed (use sprinkled water and a fork if you’d prefer). Repeat.

5. Place the rolls on baking sheets (covered in parchment paper) and bake in oven for 40 minutes. Serve plain or with a side of sour cream and or apple sauce to dip them into.


Amy Johansson

Amy moved to Sweden in July 2011 with 1 child, 1 Swedish husband, 2 large suitcases and no idea what she was going to do with her new life in Swedish subtitles. Two years and two more children later, she is YLC’s expert on all things entrepreneurial. 


You can find out more about her experiences at www.expatmompreneur.com.


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  • Brian 12 Jun 2020

    I’m lovin’ it! I actually just read like three of your posts today. So that means you better keep writing more, because I am going through these like they’re going out of style.

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