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Is my mother the only one who still makes homemade gefilte fish?

Just wondering. And why do the same fish stores that sell the whitefish, pike and winter carp that goes into fresh gefilte fish put out samples of what they claim is "homemade," but tastes like it is out of a jar, then also have the nerve to charge $4.50 a piece for it?

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  1. I have at least one friend who makes homemade gefilte fisch every year - unfortunately for me, she lives in Paris, and I live in Montréal...

    When we went to shop for the component fish in the Marais, I didn't see any such samples. Suspect Frenchwomen are very touchy about making such things.

    1. I tried it last year for Passover. I ended up using whiting but it was kind of soft and I had to experiment with adding more matzoh meal until I got the right consistency. Really not that hard. Run everything through a meat grinder. Chow had a recipe with pictures that put the bug in me to try it.

      1. I make it, but not very often, because it is easy to do but messes up the whole kitchen pretty well. My two cousins also make it. You really have to make it if you want any that tastes good. imho all the jarred stuff is terrible (even the best is too sweet), and the few times I've been served gf from a caterer has never been very good.

        1. I made gefilte fish last Passover for the first time. To be honest, it wasn't really that difficult. I bought the fish already pre-ground and made the gefilte with a mixture of pike, whitefish and salmon. It was quite delicious but - gah - it really really stunk up the house big-time. If I ever make it again (which I may, since everyone was so awestruck) I will cook it outside on my outdoor burner. Honest - I'm not sensitive about kitchen odours but this was extreme.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            Your mom is one of a dieing breed unfortunately. My wife won't let me try to make it. Few people I know make it any more. We buy the frozen roll and do it that way. My relatives all made it at one time but because of time constraints don't make it any more. I need to add that on Passsover one guest took the frozen roll and defrosted it. Then she added matzo meal and fried it. It was not bad at all.

            1. re: SIMIHOUND

              My family still makes it for Passover.

              1. re: Leonardo

                My ex mother-in-law used to "make" her own. She bought a jar of premade and then added some fish to it and mushed it around and reformed it.

                This is the same woman who told me proudly of the secret ingredient in her chicken soup....wait for it....a package of Lipton Noodle Soup mix.

                This was also the woman who made steaks by the following method. Her brother-in-law was a wholesale butcher and they always had great meat. However....she liberally sprinkled Lawry's Seasoned Salt on both sides, put the steaks in the broiler, turned on the broiler, and cooked until gray and dried out. Perfect every time!!!!

                At least we all have this Chowhound site so that we can carry on at least some of the traditions of our various backgrounds by sharing info, recipes and stories. What a great gift!

          2. My aunt still makes it but none of us have picked up the banner. It's pretty messy and really does smell up the kitchen. Too bad, it's the best I've ever had. Maybe I'll give it a try again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chaddick

              The way Passover fell this year, the fishmaking was on the weekend, so I went to Mom's and she walked me through doing it. I had notes somewhere on the rough amounts of what she used and how many pieces of fish it yielded, but I can't find it--maybe it is in with my Passover recipes, not with the appetizers. To me, it really is not that hard. Pretty much like making fish meatballs. The fishmonger grinds up all the fish beforehand, which I am sure cuts down on the mess. The only disgusting part to me is dealing with the fish heads and bones when they are going in the pot and when they are being thrown out. Mom's kitchen is at least 20 feet from the front door of her house and you can smell it from 5 feet outside the front door. Can't wait to get the reaction when I try it someday in my apartment. Maybe I will be kind and put a rag under the door. As to the frozen stuff, I cannot believe I am admitting this, but one holiday when Mom was unable to do fish--probably after her heart bypass surgery or her broken back, my sister got a recipe for a layered thing using the frozen gefilte fish and salmon, layered. It was pretty and tasted decent, though a little bit drier than I am used to. Definitely better than any of those jarred abominations. As far as the time it takes to make gefilte fish, no more and probably less than cooking a full brisket. Getting the brisket ready (searing it and prepping the gravy/sauce it cooks in) probably takes almost as long and the brisket takes longer to cook...I just do not want to lose the tradition, so I gotta hunt down my notes and do it a few more times with Mom to build the confidence.