Just-Right Matzah Balls

Matzah ball soup hero.jpg

Writing a recipe for matzah balls is asking for trouble. Not because they are difficult to make, but because everyone thinks their's are the best. I have no idea what theirs (or yours) taste like, I can only say that these are my best. And I say that after testing dozens-with seltzer water, almonds, fresh herbs, baking powder and messing around with all the ingredients.

Some matzah balls are so light and fluffy they are known as floaters. Others are so dense and heavy, they are clunkers. I call these Just-Right because they are somewhere right in the middle. They have their own identity when cut into but are infused with just enough moisture and brothy flavor to keep them from being heavy.

After all my testing, I believe that the ingredient that makes the most difference is baking powder. I prefer 1 teaspoon for Just-Right balls, but if you prefer clunkers, you can reduce the baking powder to 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon or omit it altogether.

About schmaltz. I actually bought a jar from Amazon. (It is said you can get anything there.) I tested with schmaltz and again with vegetable oil and the difference is minimal.I don't add any seasonings to the balls, because I like the soup to carry the flavor. 

If you don't think that yours are just right, then perhaps you'll give mine a try. Whichever you decide to make, I hope your erev Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur dinner is the beginning of a blessed and delicious year ahead. 

Just-Right Matzah Balls

4 large eggs
1/4 cup schmaltz or neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil
1 cup matzo meal              
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher sal,
A few grindings of pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon onion powder, optional
½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
Chicken broth, for serving

 A wet meatball scoop and wet hands make shaping easy.

A wet meatball scoop and wet hands make shaping easy.

 Don't crowd the balls. They need room to expand.

Don't crowd the balls. They need room to expand.

 After they are cooked, the water is cloudy. That explains the poor photo.

After they are cooked, the water is cloudy. That explains the poor photo.

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs with schmaltz or oil. In a small bowl, stir together matzo meal with baking powder. salt, and pepper. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a fork to combine. Do not over mix. Refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes to 24 hours. .

  2. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using a 1 ½ tablespoon ice cream scoop and wet hands, form matzo-ball mixture into 1-inch balls. You should have 18.

  3. Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with salted water and bring to a boil. With wet hands, gently lower each ball into the water. They should not be crowded, because they will double in size. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. (no need to turn them). You can cut a matzo ball open to check for doneness—the color should be light throughout, with no raw-looking dough in the center—or you can insert a toothpick into the center; if it slides in and out without resistance, they’re done.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to soup.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Marzah balls can be refrigerated in the soup for 3 days or frozen.

Makes 18

 

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