Knoedel, or knödel, are a variety of boiled dumpling common in central and eastern European cuisines. Although Knoedel (lit. "dumplings") are part of menus all over the world, they still remain a typical example of Austrian, Bavarian, and Czech cuisines, especially in their characteristic round form. They can be served as a sweet or as a savory standalone dish or as a side dish with meat.
History[edit | edit source]
The history of knoedel is a very old one. Archaeological findings of food identified as some kind of dumpling have been dated back to the year 3600 BC. These findings were lumps of bruised grain, water, and flour, probably formed and compressed by hand, though they could have also been some kind of bread. Scientists assume that these balls were dried and kept as non-perishable provisions for longer journeys.
The etymology of the word “knoedel” starts in the Czech language with the word “knedlik”. The English word “dumpling” first emerged around 1600.
Preparation[edit | edit source]
Knoedel serve as main or side dishes, as desserts, and as accompaniments to soups. The methods of preparation are varied, and they can be sweet or savory, and filled or unfilled. They can also be prepared as casseroles. What all knoedel have in common, though, is that they are boiled balls of dough.
Sweet knoedel[edit | edit source]
The most popular and traditional knoedel dish in Austria is probably a sweet dumpling such as zwetschgenknoedel (plum dumplings) or marillenknödel (apricot dumplings). It is made of curd cheese dough and filled with either plums or apricots. Some people have experimented with fillings for dumplings and come up with delicious creations such as the erdbeerknoedel (strawberry dumplings) and nougatknoedel (filled with nougat). In most cases, people prepare curd cheese dumplings with fruit or any kind of sauce made from fruit or chocolate.
Savory knoedel[edit | edit source]
The semmelknoedel is one of Austria's most favourite side dishes. It goes well with meat, especially with pork roast. A variation is the serviettenknödel, which is made using the same ingredients but has a different form. The grießknoedel, made of semolina, is usually served in soups.
Wurstknoedel and grammelknoedel are served as main dishes. They are made of potato dough and filled with chopped sausage (mixed with onions and herbs) and greaves respectively. This dish is often served with sauerkraut.
Rather than being filled with meat, the dough for fleischknoedel is made using meat (e.g. liver in leberknoedel). Like the grießknoedel, fleishknoedel are most often served in a broth of some kind.