Let’s talk matzoh balls… Some families sneak in cloves, others go with dill. Some grind special blends of pepper and I’ve even seen matzoh balls with “surprise!” fillings. But I think this is all disguising the real issue. There are only two kinds of matzoh balls out there. It all boils down (or up) to a single question.
“Sinkers or Floaters?”
My family recipe is for a sinker-style matzoh ball. My relatives would argue that the floaters are not the real thing. They are made from (whisper, whisper, knowing nod and judgey glance) a MIX. Fine, if you like that sort of thing. But that’s not a real matzoh ball. It’s practically processed food.
I know plenty of people who swear by their fluffy matzoh balls that do not come from a mix so I will break from tradition. I will not continue this discrimination against the fluffy ball camp. I’ll just say that I personally prefer these sinkers. Slightly chewy, a little more dumpling-esque but light enough to leave room for the dinner to follow.
They really are not the same made without the schmaltz. It’s so worth the effort that I shared that process in Matzoh Balls Part 1: Schmaltz!
Note to the Gluten Free: I’ve had great success making my matzoh balls with gluten free matzoh from GlutenFreeMatzo.com . I crushed a few sheets to make my own matzoh meal. The tapioca based matzoh is a little chewier and I had to mash the soaked sheets with a fork. I suggest soaking them only briefly to soften, and then draining as they can get a bit too sticky/gooey if you wait too long.
From my grandmother’s recipe:
- 3 Matzohs soaked in hot water till soft but not mush. Drain and press out excess water.
- 3 Eggs Beaten w/Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 c water or Seltzer (I prefer seltzer)
- 3/4 c matzoh meal
- 2 TBSP Chicken Fat (aka Schmaltz) or 2TBSP Oil & Onion Powder
Add water or seltzer to eggs, thicken with matzoh meal. Add fat or oil and crumbled matzoh. Mix well! Chill thoroughly for at least an hour.
Have a bowl of ice water beside you when you make the balls. I use a rounded tbsp measure as a scoop. Keep dipping your hands in ice water to keep the mixture from sticking as you make the balls. Cook immediately in boiling salted water (balls will float to the top when they are cooked!) or freeze and cook them later.
This is a great recipe to do with your kids.
I had help from my 8 year old son making these matzoh balls. He really did the whole recipe. I could feel my grandmother smiling down as he broke the eggs and mushed the matzoh and stirred in the meal.
Rather than cook these right up I placed them on waxed paper on a tray and froze them. Freezing them on a tray ensures they don’t stick together. As soon as they were hard I moved to a freezer bag. They are ready to go for our Passover Seder. When it’s time to cook, I will pop them into boiling salted water.
Yes you can cook them right in the soup. But your soup will be cloudy.
And we can’t have cloudy soup, can we!?
Next up: My Grandma’s recipe for Chicken Soup aka Jewish Penicillin.