| Middle High German varveln, through Yiddish farfl) are small pellet-shaped noodles, made of either flour mixed with egg or matzo.
Farfel is most prevalent in Jewish cuisine, where it is a seasonal item used in Passover dishes. In this form, farfel simply consists of matzo broken up by any means into small pieces, and used as a bread substitute in various recipes, from kugel to mushroom pie to latkes. It is particularly prevalent in oven-baked dishes. Farfel also refers to an egg noodle dough which may be cut or grated for use in soups, or served as a side dish. Among Hassidic Jews, farfel is served as a side dish on the night of the Sabbath, in accordance with a custom instituted by the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
In both cases, farfel is carefully soaked in water in preparation; while moistening is necessary to soften the dough, allowing too much water to soak in will leave the mixture irreparably soggy.
Farfel is not related to the similar-sounding falafel and
farafella or farafelle pasta bows.
also see: Farfel Recipes
Two television dogs have gone by the name of Farfel:
- The hound dog puppet used as Nestlè's mascot in its 1950s and 1960s commercials- famous for drawling "CHAW-W-W-CLIT!"- obtained its name directly from the food item.
- In Episode 21 of Seinfeld, "The Dog," Jerry was forced to take care of a dog named Farfel after its owner suffered an attack of Bell's Palsy on an airplane.
- Farfel also provided the name of the titular cat in Norman Geller's children's book "Farfel the Cat That Left Egypt."