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Matzoh Ball Soup

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Anyone got a great recipe? At home, I use Jeffrey Nathan's recipe, but I left the book in the States and haven't been really happy with my mazoh balls here in Japan. (I had to get my mother to ship me matzoh meal -- can't be had here, for love or money.)
post #2 of 17
Matzo Balls


11 eggs, slightly beaten
½ tsp chicken base
½ cup. cooking oil
3 pint water
2 c. Matzo meal
Mix all together and let stand in refrigerator for at least 2 hour, longer if possible. Form into round balls and drop like dumplings into boiling chicken broth. Boil covered 75 minutes. Serve hot.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #3 of 17
Matzo balls can be dense or light, herbed or plain, richly flavored or simple. These are light, herbed, and richly flavored. The richness (and some of the mouthfeel) comes from the use of schmaltz instead of oil. Unfortunately, fat breaks down the egg whites which takes away some lightness. I try to limit the effect by getting the dumplings into the pot as soon as possible after the egg whites are incorporated, but if you want supreme lightness you’ll eliminate the fat.

Almost all recipes call for some fat – and most American recipes call for oil. My feeling is that if you don’t have schmaltz, forget it and take the lightness.

I’ve included optional baking powder in the recipe. It will lighten the matzo balls. It’s not technically “leavening,” at least not in the sense that it’s possible to find “Kosher for Passover” baking powder. However, if you don’t want it you don’t have to use it.

MATZO BALLS and MATZO BALL SOUP
(About 12 meal, or 18 soup course portions)


Ingredients:
4 eggs, separated
2 tsp schmaltz, melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil (optional)
2 tbs finely minced fresh chives
1 or 2 tbs grated or finely minced onion
1 tbs finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
2 tsp chilled seltzer, club soda, or chicken stock
1 cup matzo meal (4 or 5 matzos, ground to meal in blender)

Technique:
Make chicken stock in the usual way. When you separate the fat, reserve 2 tsp. Consider it magically converted from fat to schmaltz.

Set a kettle with 1 gallon water on the stove. Bring to the boil. Turn heat down to simmer.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs.

Beat the yolks with the (optional) schmaltz, herbs, salt and pepper until thickened. Chill.

In a separate bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks.

Set a sheet pan, covered with parchment or wax paper on your workspace.

Remove the yolk mixture from the refrigerator, and beat in the seltzer and baking powder.

Fold in the egg whites as gently as possible. Then sprinkle the matzo meal on top of the mix, and fold the meal in -- also as gently as possible. Allow to set up, about 10 minutes. During this period the whites are collapsing from the action of the fat on the bubble walls, as well as time itself. Consider the evanescent nature of existence.

Turn on the cold water tap, and wet your hands thoroughly, leave the tap running.

Use a 1 or 2 tbs (1 oz, 1/8 cup) scoop, to scoop a portion of matzo ball into your palm. Gently form it into a ball. Set the ball on the paper, rinse your hands again, and repeat the process until all of the mixture is used. Somewhere between 14 - 20 knaidlach (Yiddish for “dumplings,” a single dumpling is a knaidl).

With wet hands, put a ball into a slotted spoon or spider, then place it into the simmering water. Repeat until all dumplings are in the water. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Note: Dumplings which cook covered are lighter than dumplings that cook in an open pot. Check the pot to make sure the water is simmering, and not boiling.

While the dumplings simmer, bring 3 quarts of stock to the boil, then reduce the stock to a simmer. When the dumplings have simmered for 20 minutes in the water, transfer them to the stock and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.

The dumplings may be refrigerated in just enough stock to cover, and held several days; or may be used immediately. If the knaidlach are held, the stock used to finish cooking them may be strained through a fine sieve and held as well. If the stock is meant to be used immediately (see below), straining is a very nice touch but not absolutely necessary.

To make matzo ball soup: Add a few fresh carrots, celery, etc., to the remaining stock and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Then, add the matzo balls, the stock in which they were held, and heat just until warm.

Hope you like,
BDL

PS. The usual rigamarole. This is an original recipe. You have my permission to share it as long as you cite me, Boar D. Laze, as its creator. I'd consider it a kindness if you would mention my eventually forthcoming book, COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.
post #4 of 17
My mom taught me a much simpler recipe that's definitely homestyle as opposed to boar_d_laze's upscale version.

Use one egg (size large) for every two people you'll serve. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. While stirring the egg(s), add matzo meal slowly until you've achieved a mixture the texture of cooked cream of wheat. Stir in a pinch or two of salt. Smooth the surface of the mixture, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Chill the mixture at least 20 minutes, but you can hold it covered in the fridge overnight if necessary.

Heat chicken broth (or water with some boullion cubes) to a low simmer. Using a regular soup spoon, scoop a spoonful from the edge of the matzo meal mixture (it'll be shaped roughly like an almond), put the spoonful into the soup, and gently shake the mixture off the spoon into the broth. Continue until all the mixture is used. Cover the pot tightly and DO NOT PEEK for about 25-30 minutes. You'll have light, fluffy matzo 'balls' that everyone (except vegans, I suppose) loves.

This method results in matzo balls that are a bit more coarse in texture, but they'll be light and fluffy. In fact, I've tried to make these chewy and dense and have failed completely. I'm one of those rare people who prefers cannonball-style to fluffy style matzo balls.
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post #5 of 17
Mezz,

For density: 1. Add schmaltz or oil. About 1/2 tbs per egg. 2. The more you mix, the stiffer the knaidlach. 3. Cook with the lid off.

If you want fluffy beyond belief, try my technique, AND omit the fat. The herbs make the recipe sing ("Roshinkes und Mandelen"), and are very ashkenaz, but otherwise aren't essential.

BDL
post #6 of 17
Matzo balls are sort of a family joke, around here. When we were newlyweds, Friend Wife---who, in those days, could literally burn water---decided to make matzo ball soup. She had no idea that they swelled in the broth, and shaped them the size she wanted them to be.

Interesting dish: Matzo cannonballs in a bowl of chicken soup.

Anyway, I've always preferred my mom's simple recipe: 2 eggs, 4 tbls schmaltz, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup matzo meal, and enough water to bind the ingredients.

Jennie Grossinger used to serve a potato knaidlach at her hotel in the Catskills. I was fortunate to have been given the recipe by a family friend:

Potato Knaidlach

2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbls grated onion
1/3 cup potato flour
3 tbls matzo meal
4 cups grated drained potatoes

Beat the eggs, salt and onion together. Stir in the potato flour, matzo meal and potatoes. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. Cook in salted water, 20 minutes, or until they rise to the top. Drain. Makes about 18.

One nice thing about these is that you can use them as a side dish, as well as mixing them into soup.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oddly enough, I was served a spectacular dish like this at the 2d Avenue Deli in New York. My son adores matzoh balls, and so I ordered it -- but you had a choice between soup and just matzoh ball. I picked the latter, as at the time he was truly bad with a spoon and would have been sitting in a soup puddle.

Turned out, he got a medium-sized soup plate with a puddle of soup and this THING about the size of his head. He ate every bit, bless him.
post #8 of 17
A "cannon ball" matzo ball isn't a big matzo ball, but a heavy, chewy one. There are two kinds of matzo balls, see; floaters and sinkers. And you, as a connoiseuer of knaidlach like one or the other or both or neither. Considering the negative connotations of terms like heavy, chewy and sinker when it comes to dumplings, you wouldn't think sinkers would be highly sought after. But, it's an intrinsically hostile universe so they are. In fact most recipes and mixes are calculated to make sinkers. It's only when you see separated egg white and the sprinkling of the meal, that you know you're about to be in the presence of a true floater.

Deli matzo balls, freakishly large size aside, are usually inbetweeners. They don't separate, they do use fat, but they cook at a simmer starting in water with the pot lid closed.

You could call a giant matzo ball a cannon ball matzo ball but that would be confusing within the context of the thread since cannon ball started as synonymous with "sinker," and only became synonymous with "bowling ball sized" at the next reference.

Jews and Japanese have some things in common, and some differences. You can get hayashi soba without soup. There is no hayashi matzo ball, unless maybe for the sephardim, and I heard about maybe one time in Russia. Anyway a nice cup of beet borscht with a bissel sourcream would be more refreshing.

Hope this clarifies,
BDL
post #9 of 17
Great thread! I love reading about the variations. I'm pretty sure they're highly personalized to the cook rather than being regional variants. Any thoughts on that?

Chris, the story about the matzo ball the size of your son's head is really funny! I've never met a kid- or adult, for that matter- who tasted matzo balls and didn't like them. Even the pickiest eaters will cave if a few crumbs make their way into their mouths.

The potato knaidlach sound yummy. Is potato starch the same as potato flour? From looking at the recipe, I'd think so. It's interesting to note the recipe contains no fat or oil; and it's pareve (neither meat nor dairy), so it could be eaten in any soup or broth.

I was going to stay inside on this snowy/icy day and make coq au vin, but maybe I'll switch and make chicken soup with matzo balls instead. :lips:
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post #10 of 17
Yes, Messaluna, potato flour and potato starch are the same.

As to "cannonball," in my story it referred to both. They were overly large, and they were dense and chewy. But I was using it to refer to size. They were, literally, as big as softballs.

Just who makes these liguistic rules, BDL?

I'm one of those who actually likes heavy, chewy matzoh balls. My mother-in-law couldn't cook to save herself. But I loved her matzoh balls precisely because she did them wrong.

My mother's, on the other hand, had to have a spoon resting on them or they'd float up off the plate. :lips:
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 17
My great grandmother, grand mother, mother and now me have used the same recipe, its simple, tasty and makes a nice light outside and yet a chewy centered matzo ball.

1.5 lg eggs per person beaten till frothy and airy
1 Tbsp schmaltz
pinch of salt
pinch white pepper
matzo meal
2 Tbsp optional seltzer water(helps with being light and fluffy, or so my grand mother says)

Beat eggs till frothy and airy
add schmaltz, salt and pepper and seltzer if you decide to add it.
slowly add matzo meal until a thick mealy mixture the texture of cream of wheat or grits is formed, cover and refridgerate for 1 hour. Bring soup to a heavy simmer, just before a boil and form the matzo balls the size of a golf ball(keep your hands wet so the mix doesnt stick to you) and drop into soup. Cook in the soup covered for 35-45 minutes and serve. Test like you are boiling a potato, if it releases easily than it is done, if it sticks let it go a bit longer.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #12 of 17
BDL - thanks for posting that. Most seem to be used to blander tasting matza balls - adding spices and flavors just makes the whole soup so much more flavorful.
post #13 of 17
Wow. I've got to try this after the read. Thanks alot for posting the ingredients!
post #14 of 17

Now thats a Matzoh Ball, a big soft floater..:lips::lips::lips:

Not sure how the cilantro got on the plate, lol :lol:
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #15 of 17
Depending who you are cooking the Matzoh Balls for.. I ran 5 Kosher assiste livings that had a lot of Holucost survivers in them. If I was to ever put any of the herb and spices in them it would of lead to them thrwig them at me, those who ever did assisted living would agree with me..

For me the spices sounds good i will have to try them ;)


I guess the recipe we use depend on who we cook them for. My picture below is from the recipe i posted and used @ those places. For old school Hebrews from Isreal who are not willing to try anything new.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #16 of 17
Thank you boar_d_laze
post #17 of 17
Hmmm. Something I should say here. Oh yes.

Your welcome,
BDL
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