HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Got a stupid question - sorry! Tiny very yellow croutons in the Jewish food section

We recently had a new store open in town and I couldn't be more thrilled. This morning with a little time on my hands I was wandering down the ethnic food aisles and came across these a container filled with a small/tiny very yellow almost golden crouton. There was no information on the container only a photo of a bowl filled with the croutons. I took it to be a bowl of soup, probably wrong.

Can anyone tell me what these are used for?



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If they are what I think they are they are made for soap. They are light and and crackerish, not like toasted bread croutons that you would use on a salad.

    1 Reply
    1. They sound like "mandlen" to me - basically little soup nuts - crackers that are put in chicken soup. basically egg and flour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wozzy

        That term translates as "little almonds" - an alternative to Tam-Tams, the matzoh meal oyster cracker-like things made by Maneschewitz.

      2. They are indeed for soup. They add a bit of crunch and salt (and probably MSG). My husband loves them. They're a staple in many Jewish households for soup for the Sabbath. I think they're flavorless and don't improve any soup I make, but many disagree!

        2 Replies
        1. re: milklady

          I'm not too sure about flavorless, entirely. There seems to me to be the slightest spice bite in them. Probably all the turmeric that gives them the screaming yellow color. The Osem mandlen are primarily an Israeli habit and my daughter fell in love with them after a former teacher had us bring her back as many jars as we could carry. I object to the greasiness, myself.

          But soup? I know that's how you're supposed to eat them but everyone in my house just pours them into their hand and tosses them back like snack food. And they are WAY tastier than Tam Tams (but so is a plain piece of cardboard).

          1. re: rockycat

            When I picked them up and looked at them, that' exactly what my first thought was!
            Yes the color is exactly that of turmeric, and its suppose to be good for you, what a great way to eat it. There didn't appear to be any grease at all, just dry tiny croutons.
            Gonna get them for sure.

        2. They may be tiny croutons made by Osem called mandlen.

          1. Thank you! I will be trying this in my next batch of chicken soup. They look quite good, and I'm all for texture.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Just remember, you add these at the table when serving, so they stay crisp. They would get soggy if you added them while cooking. I highly recommend you taste them when you get the jar home, just to test them out. But only if you have willpower, because otherwise the jar will be gone long before the soup is served. They're addictive in that pistachio nut or Cheetohs kind of way, it's hard to stop with just one.

            2. Oy! Soup mandeln! I just this minute heated up some chicken soup so I would have an excuse to eat mandeln. The yummiest are the ones imported from Israel, brand name Osem. In Hebrew they are called "sh'kedei marak," a translation of the German (and Yiddish) "mandeln," or 'almonds.'

              They are soup "croutons." The nearest thing you have to them in the States would probably be the oyster crackers you add to certain soups - I think it's traditional to add them to lobster bisque? But they taste different from oyster crackers. I'm not sure where the custom started but because Osem makes them so very, very, very sinfully delicious, they are a highly popular product and practically a staple item in most Israeli kitchens, no matter what ethnic cuisine is prepared there. Most people add them to soup but you can also munch them out of hand.

              Some kids have been known to pile them so high in the soup bowl that they end up with about twice as much soup mandeln as actual soup. Not that I would know anything about that personally, of course ;). Elegant diners are expected to add a couple of tablespoons-full per bowl, I suppose. I'll ask an elegant diner next time I meet one.

              One reason they are so yummy is that they're made by frying the flour in oil. So if you are watching calories or fat, be aware of how much you're eating. They're wily little treats, it's easy to lose track of how much you've had.

              I think they are called "mandel" (German, and also Yiddish, for "almond") because originally they were probably closer to almond size, but Osem dominates the market and their most popular product is the mini-mandel, so now the standard is the mini size.

              1 Reply
              1. re: falconress

                thank you so much for your informative reply faconress, these are really intriguing.
                I think I might have the real deal, they are not oyster crackers (I know what those are) and these are different. Now I must buy them and will report the name back to you.

              2. I've seen these "croutons" before also, and they were practically giving them away here in NY at one time for only 99 cents a container. I didn't buy them because they looked like a cross between Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Cheddar Crackers, and spaetzle. I was absolutely clueless if they required ANY preparation whatsoever, so on the shelf they remained. I had no idea they were croutons because nothing on the packaging was in English, and that can sometimes be problematic you know.

                Image here --> http://www.kosher.com/kosher/items/So...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  Oh wow that's them!
                  99 cents? holy moly, they're going for around 4bucks at this new Raleys here in town. I commend them for trying to please everyone, they're really getting great stuff there. I want to try it all. And thanks for posting the photo, appreaciate that!

                2. I have friends (this is in Boston, of course) who call them "soup jimmies."