Monday, April 9, 2012

How to make old fashioned matzo balls

I am the family matzo baller. For the last 15 years it seems I've been at least helping out with this part of the meal. Every year we have been working from the same recipe passed down from my great grandmother. Unfortunately, we make a lot of changes to the matzoh-to-egg ratio and never write them down. Sometimes the changes work, but there have been some years where things have been a bit heavy.  This year, I have decided to record the recipe so there will no longer be any issues.

Ingredients for 12 large balls:

4 matzos
3 large eggs
2 tbs matzo meal to make a loose dough + extra for rolling
1 cup of seltzer water
1/2 cup of  melted butter, marrow if you're kosher
2 Tbs of chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
(1 tsp baking powder) not during passover though

1 quart of chicken broth for cooking
1 quart of water

chicken soup for serving

This will take 2.5 hours including resting time.

Put the matzos in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. My recipe was tripled, so you may notice my pictures show more of all the ingredients.

When you're finished, you should have pieces about this big, none larger than a penny.

Pour the matzo into a mixing bowl with plenty of extra room. Pour the seltzer over the matzo and let it soak in. Stir if it is not evenly distributed. Chop your parsley and melt your butter as the moistened matzo begins to soften.

Add the matzo meal, salt, pepper, ginger, and parsley to the matzos. pour on the butter and mix everything well.

Separate the eggs, whites in one bowl, and yolks in another. Add the yolks into the matzo mixture and mix them in.

Beat the whites until they make stiff peaks.

They should look like this.

Add the fluffy whites to the matzo mixture and fold them in. Do not stir them.

Put the bowl in the fridge covered with saran wrap. It needs to sit for an hour or more.

After an hour, everything will be more like a dough. If it is more like an oozing goo, fold in some more matzo meal to make a shapeable yet still wet batter.

Pour out some matzo meal on a clean surface, and take a scoop of batter from the mixing bowl. Put it on the matzo meal and cover it to keep it from sticking to your hands and falling apart.  Roll the scoop into a ball without smushing it. I made this video of how I do mine because it is an important step. If it isn't passover and you added the baking powder, you can worry less about smushing the air out, but your balls will still be more tender if you treat them gently.

It might take some practice, and don't worry if it isn't exactly like I showed.

When all your balls are rolled, let them sit as you bring your chicken broth and water to a rolling boil in a large pot. this is not the soup that you will serve the balls in. After cooking it is very starchy with a lot of bits in it.

When the balls are done resting and your broth/water mix is very hot you can add the balls. If the liquid is not boiling vigorously, the balls will fall apart, so don't rush things.

The balls will need ten minutes to cook, but cannot really be overcooked. You can leave them on the stove until ten minutes from the time the last ball went in.

I had to remove my balls and pack them for transportation. They're a bit fragile.

We served them in hot chicken soup right after the gefilte fish. They will last about 4 days in the fridge.

Have a happy passover and try making your own balls from scratch, no mixes and less matzo meal tastes a lot better.

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