Not your bubbie's gefilte fish: Chanie Apfelbaum modernizes kosher dishes

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Chanie Apfelbaum says she still has nightmares of the jarred gefilte of her childhood but her family made homemade versions using their rabbi's wife's recipe each Passover. She updated the recipe uses curry. Photo by Chanie Apfelbaum.

Chanie Apfelbaum was raised in a kosher home, eating traditional Ashkenazi Jewish food including kugel, gefilte fish, brisket, and matzo ball soup. "All brown foods," she remembers. 

Today, Apfelbaum keeps kosher but puts modern twists when she cooks for her family, using ingredients like coconut oil, miso, and soy, for umami flavor. Since a kosher diet prohibits dairy and meat being consumed together, she opts for real dairy and will turn to a meat substitute so she can maintain a gooey, cheese pull.

Three of her more popular recipes that appeared on her blog "Busy in Brooklyn" appear in her new book, "Totally Kosher."

Curried Gefilte Fish Patties

Makes 10 patttties

There’s a time and a place for classic carrot-topped gefilte fish (Passover for me!—page 128). But in my house, we like to buy the frozen premade loaf and change it up with different spices. This combo, inspired by Indian cuisine, marries some of my favorite flavors of garlic, ginger, and curry powder for a unique spin on gefilte that you definitely haven’t seen before!



  • 1 (22-ounce) loaf gefilte fish, defrosted
  • ¹⁄3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1 heaping teaspoon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 scallion (white and green parts), finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 1 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. To make the patties: In a large bowl, combine the gefilte fish, peas, panko bread crumbs, egg, ginger, garlic, scallion, curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir with a spoon until incorporated.
  2. To prepare the breading: In a separate medium bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, white and black sesame seeds, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out ¼-cup portions of the gefilte fish batter and place them in the breading, pressing to fully coat the patties in the panko. With the palm of your hand, flatten the fish into ½-inch-thick patties.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat ¼ cup of canola oil. Test the oil by adding a pinch of bread crumbs; it should bubble as soon as it hits the oil.
  5. Line a baking sheet or plate with paper towels. Fry the fish in batches over medium heat about 5 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through, adding more oil as needed. Drain the patties on the paper towel–lined plate.
  6. To make the dip: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, lime juice, mustard, curry powder, salt, and black pepper. Serve with the gefilte fish patties.

"Totally Kosher" Copyright © 2023 by Chanie Apfelbaum. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Chanie Apfelbaum. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Chanie Apfelbaum modernizes kosher cooking using global ingredients including miso, soy, and curry. Photo by Lauren Volo.

"Totally Kosher" puts spins on traditional recipes, adding to a repertoire for a modern palate. Photo courtesy of Clarkson Potter.