Nokedli – Spätzle

Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling Recipe

When meeting with my friend Michael Berkowits recently, he served me his favorite recipe for Chicken Paprikash over small egg noodle dumplings known as nokedli (in some regions they are called spätzle). Michael grew up in Transylvania (what is now the central part of Romania, and was once part of Hungary). Because of his background, many of his family recipes have a Hungarian influence. These dumplings are a popular and beloved starch in many Eastern European countries. They are surprisingly easy to make and very tasty.

Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling Recipe

As Michael described how to make the dumplings, he showed me an old kitchen tool he’s had for close to 50 years– he called it a “nokedli maker.” It is more widely known as a spätzle maker. This tool is used for pushing the nokedli batter into the boiling water. I didn’t have one at home, so I used a metal cheese grater, which worked well. I recommend using a grater or spätzle maker (which I just ordered!) rather than the alternative method of spooning small amounts of batter into the boiling water, which takes a lot of time and can produced overcooked nokedli if you’re not careful.

Michael’s instructions were kind of vague on the nokedli– make a batter of 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, water and salt, then boil in salted water. After some experimentation, I found that the following combination worked best and produced the same texture of nokedli that he served me at his home. I find them very tasty and homey, a comforting dish that can be made in 15 minutes or less. Try them fried in butter and topped with parsley, or serve them with your favorite stew or a saucy braised dish. Enjoy!

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Spätzle Maker

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Nokedli/Spaetzle

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup tepid water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour (more or less)

You will also need

  • Large pot, mixing bowls, whisk, grater or spaetzle maker, slotted spoon or small mesh strainer, colander
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 4 cups nokedli/spätzle
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Beat the eggs and tepid water together with the salt.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling RecipeSlowly beat in the flour 1/4 cupful at a time to make a soft, sticky dough (you may not need all the flour, or you may need more-- stop adding flour when the texture of the batter is soft and pliable). Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. Beat the mixture again.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling RecipePush 1/3 of the batter through a spaetzle maker, cheese grater or pasta strainer over the pot of salted water to create small egg noodle bits that drop into the boiling water.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling RecipeLet the noodles cook for about 3 minutes until they float to the top of the pot and are cooked tender all the way through.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling RecipeRemove from water with a slotted spoon or small mesh strainer and drain in a colander. Repeat the process two more times with the remaining two thirds of the batter.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling RecipeServe warm. You can toss them in melted butter, fry them a bit, and sprinkle with fresh parsley (this would make it a dairy dish). Or, you can serve them with your favorite Hungarian-style stew or dish. Goes great with chicken paprikash.
  • Nokedli - Spätzle, Traditional Eastern European Noodle Dumpling Recipe

Comments (11)Post a Comment

  1. I find that if, after you boil them, you put in a fying pan with some butter, and get the outsides a little crunchy, they’re even better!
    Enjoy.

  2. Nuckedluch/nukedli and chicken is quite possibly my favorite comfort food. My Hungarian grandmother used to make it, she even gave me her nuckedli maker, although I haven’t been able to reproduce her nuckedli…I’ll definitely give this recipe a try

    1. Hi Tammy– yes you can, they reheat quite well. Just stir them in a pan over medium heat with a little butter or olive oil to keep them from sticking.

  3. How different do you think the recipe has to be to make it with whole wheat flour? I, too, remember this dish very fondly from my childhood (my mother, z”l, was a fabulous Hungarian cook) but these days I’m pretty committed to whole grains.

  4. Excellent recipes. I made the chicken and the spaetzle last night. Took some time, but it was easy to follow. Like I do with all slow cooked foods, I make them the night before. Be sure to use good paprika, I think that is the key.

    There are only two of us and I made the whole recipe. I will make individual portions with my FoodSaver and freeze them for future dinners.

    I never really liked paprikash with sour cream. This recipe is much tastier and less Jewish guilt!

    Thanks for sharing Michael’s heart rendering story.

  5. I saw a comment on not using sour cream with chicken paprikas. Fact is we hungarians eat most dishes with sour cream. It is a neccesity to be authentic

    1. Ferenc, kosher Jews do not mix dairy products with meat. This is a Hungarian Jewish recipe, which is why there is no sour cream in the sauce. It is traditional, but only for Jewish Hungarians, not for all Hungarians.

  6. My Hungarian grandmother used to make these and put them in soups as well. She didn’t use a grater. She put the flour mixture on a small, flat plate and used a butter knife to separate a ribbon of flour. She then used the knife to cut small pieces and push it in the water with the knife. She did it so fast I just loved watching it. She made her own noodles for chicken soup on a large cutting board. She used a machete to cut the thinnest noodles you’ve ever seen and at the speed of light.

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