I have to admit: The first time that I had matzo balls, I was disappointed. Before my first Jewish family dinner with R and his family, everybody kept talking about "motza ball" soup and how it was a staple at the dinner table at just about every holiday. Not knowing anything about Jewish food or about kosher laws at this point, I was expecting mozzarella balls in my soup! When I got a fluffy ball of what tasted like bread, I was confused. You can't blame me, can you?
I soon learned that matzo is the substitute for bread during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating chametz - ie, bread and leavened products—is forbidden. Matzo balls are made from matzo meal, which is used in place of flour and other grains during Passover. Matzo meal is definitely not a replacement for flour, though. It resembles bread crumbs more than anything. I actually used a mix of matzo meal and bread crumbs in my last recipe for cauliflower latkes, and they could easily be made kosher for passover by using all matzo instead of doing a half-and-half mix.
Matzo balls, once you know what to expect, are fantastic. They make their way into Jewish dinners all year round - Not just on Passover. They're a good substitute for noodles, although I sometimes put both in my chicken soup because I just love carbs that much. Everybody likes their matzo balls a different way. R's brother's mother-in-law likes to make hers so fluffy that they fall apart before your spoon even touches them. R likes his so dense and firm that they weigh as much as my little sister and you'd need a chisel to break them apart.
This recipe yeilds matzo balls that are kind of in the middle. Not too hard, not too soft. Just the way that Goldilocks would make hers.
I got the recipe from the back of the Streit's Mazto Meal box. Why mess with a classic?
1 cup Streit's Passover Matzo Meal
4 large eggs
1/4 cup oil or melted margarine (I used oil)
1/4 cup of water of seltzer (I used water)
1 tsp salt, or to taste (I added about 1 1/2 tsp in the end)
Pinch of ground pepper.
- Beat eggs. Add water, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add matzo meal and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.
- Partially fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Moisten palms with cold water.
- Form mixture into balls about 1 inch diameter, drop matzo balls into boiling water. When all the matzo balls are in the pot, reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until done. Remove with slotted spoon to a large bowl. Store in a cool dry place. Close spout after use to keep product fresh.
Serve these in chicken soup with egg noodles and garnish with fresh dill. I can't think of a better winter-time lunch than this! It's the ultimate comfort food.