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Kishka or kishke (Slovenian kašnica; Belarusian кішка, kishka; Polish kiszka; Romanian chişcă; Silesian krupńok; Yiddish kishke; Hebrew קישקע) refers to various types of sausage or stuffed intestine with a filling made from a combination of meat and meal, often a grain. The dish is popular across Eastern Europe as well as with immigrant communities from those areas. It is also eaten by Ashkenazi Jews who prepare their version according to kashrut dietary laws. The name itself is Slavic in origin, and literally means "gut" or "intestine".[1]


One Eastern European kishka type is kaszanka, a blood sausage made with pig's blood and buckwheat or barley, with pig intestines used as a casing.[2] Similar to black pudding, it is traditionally served at breakfast.

Kishkas can also be made with an organ meat, such as liver and various grain stuffings. The cooked kishke can range in color from grey-white to brownish-orange, depending on how much paprika is used and the other ingredients. There are also vegetarian kishka recipes.[3][4]

The sausages are popular in areas of the Midwestern United States, where many Poles emigrated. There are numerous mail order companies and delis that sell various kishkas. As blood is often used as an ingredient, kishkas are considered an acquired taste.

Greater Bialystok Area KiszkaEdit

Is usually made in a way very similar to the Jewish Kishke (80% of the residents of Bialystok before World War II were Jewish), but in the majority of cases, pig intestines are used, and ground potatoes are the main ingredient.

"Who Stole the Kishka?"Edit

"Who Stole the Kishka?" (originally spelled "Who Stole the Keeshka?") is a traditional polka tune, composed in the 1950s by Walter Solek and recorded and played by various bands. One popular version was familiar to American radio audiences from a 1963 recording by Grammy award-winning polka artist Frankie Yankovic.

A portion of the song includes three of various lyrics having to do with Polish foods, depending on who performs the song:

You can have my shinka
Take my sweet krusczyki
Take my plump pierogi
You can even have my chernika
Take my long kielbasa

The verse ends with the pleading refrain "but please bring back my kishka." Shinka is ham, while chernika refers to blueberries.

Jewish cuisineEdit

Main article: Kishke (Jewish)

The Ashkenazic Jewish dish called kishke is traditionally made from a kosher beef intestine stuffed with matzo meal, rendered fat (schmaltz or beef fat), and spices.[5] Blood and pork are not used, as they are forbidden by kashrut dietary rules.

In recent times edible synthetic casings often replace the beef intestines.[6] Homemade helzel, a sausage-like dish consisting of chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture, is sometimes referred to as false kishka.

Kishka is available in some kosher butchers and delicatessen; in Israel it is available in the frozen-foods section of most supermarkets.

See alsoEdit


  1. Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall (1985), “kishka” and “kishke” in Dictionary of American Regional English, p 228, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674205197
  2. Polish Pork Primer by Dana Bowen Issue #105 Saveur
  3. Vegetarian Kishka recipe
  4. Vegetarian Kishka

External linksEdit