Food in Focus – Chopped Herring and Kichel

This afternoon, Merelyn and I will be joining the very lovely and interesting Natascha Moy on her Saturday afternoon chat show called 'Food in Focus' on 89.7 FM in Sydney's East.

This afternoon, Merelyn and I will be joining the very lovely and interesting Natascha Moy on her Saturday afternoon chat show called ‘Food in Focus’ on 89.7 FM in Sydney’s East. If you are able, please tune in on the radio or listen in online.

We are SO looking forward to hanging out with her and her other guests this afternoon, although we are not really sure who they will be. I think she did mention a beer and olive oil! Sounds great to us!

Wherever we go, we ask ‘what can we bring to eat?’ as we really love any opportunity to share the food of the Monday Morning Cooking Club. We asked, and on her wishlist was chopped herring and kichel from our book. The very special Melanie Knep shared with us her family recipe for herring and kichel. For the uninitiated, chopped herring is a type of dip consisting of salted herrings minced with apples, eggs, onions and sweet biscuits (of all things!) You can buy it here in the supermarket (kosher section) in a jar, and that is the one that I grew up eating. But the home made version is more fabulous. It is salty, sweet, tangy with vinegar and slightly fishy. Sounds great, huh? It is actually SO delicious and I love eating it on a plain cracker or a bagel.

The South African Jewish community serve their herrings on kichel, a thin home-made slightly sweet cracker. Melanie’s kichel are super thin. When we were in the recipe-testing stage of the book, Melanie spent a morning in the MMCC kitchen and taught us how she makes her kichel. It’s quite an art! We all stood in awe as she rolled the dough so patiently and meticulously until it was paper thin, and then brushed it lightly with oil and sprinkled it every so sparingly with sugar. Then they are baked for 4 minutes. This is pressure cooking. You don’t want to get distracted, or answer the phone, or get involved with something else. You need to be vigilant and stand by the oven. I did lose a few batches when they just needed another 30 seconds, and I didn’t worry about putting the timer on…we all know how that one always ends.

The chopped herring doesn’t really photograph that well, although the fabulous Alan Benson did manage to do a great job when he photographed it for our book.

Chopped Herring and Kichel, photo taken by Alan Benson for our book


So tune in if you are around, and be inspired to make your own DELICIOUS chopped herring and kichel next time you are looking for something different and interesting to cook…excuse me now while I go and tuck in to some herring, writing this post has made me hungry!

We will post some more pics later of our afternoon in the studio…





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  1. Lynne

    Sounds interesting, I’ll definitely be listening in.

  2. Lisa Goldberg

    Thanks Lynne – we are looking forward to it!

  3. Shoshanah

    Where can I find the recipe for the kichel by Melanie Knep. They look just like the ones my bubbie made

  4. Greg

    Hi Lisa,

    I live in Singapore, where the supply of herring is feeble, and almost non-existent. I want to use your recipe for RH this week, but the best I can do are salted skinless herring fillets in oil. Will this work?


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