Everyone has their way to make matzah ball soup, but what’s best? I tested them all, and came up with 10 Tips For the Best Matzah Ball Soup Ever!
This post doesn’t need much of an introduction, really. Matzah ball soup should be simple. Matzah meal, eggs, schmaltz (please use schmaltz), broth, seasonings. Boom- you’ve got balls in soup. But slight tweaks can result in an entirely different ball game. Literally. (Hehe.)
First, there is the whole sinkers vs. floaters debate for the ages. “Floaters” are just that. Light, and fluffy and literally float in the broth, and yet not mushy. While “sinkers,” on the other hand, are denser, yet not capable of breaking a tooth. Personally, since you asked, I like mine in between. Light and fluffy, but with a bit of a bite.
It isn’t Passover without matzah ball soup (and Bubbe nagging you why you aren’t married yet, and your little cousin sneaking too much Manischewitz). But mostly, it’s about the soup. You can argue how to spell it (matzah, matzoh, matzo, matza), but everyone agrees Jewish penicillin has a special place on the Seder table.
Just as everyone has a specific way to make this classic soup, everyone has a secret to the perfect matzah ball. So I did what any Bubbe-fearing Passover-food-loving Jew would do. I tested them all.
1. Only the best will do. Matzah ball soup is a simple creature. Broth, veggies, matzah dumplings. So don’t skimp on ingredients. Get the best organic/kosher chicken you can afford, and take the time to pick beautiful vegetables. And speaking of skimping …
2. Make your own broth for goodness sake! If you can boil water, and then remember to turn it down a bit, then you can make chicken broth. Mine is pretty basic, but you can always add thyme, leeks, or other seasonings to spice things up. However, I always cook the matzah balls in salt water. They soak up a lot of the broth if you cook in the broth and it makes it cloudy. Cooking them in salt water still adds flavor but saves your precious broth! And you still get the broth flavor when serving. But up to you!
3. The best balls ever. For you, I tested all the theories. Baking powder, whipped egg whites, freezing the batter, seltzer. Baking powder, when paired with whipped egg whites, led to the lightest, fluffiest balls. But the perfect texture was a mix of baking powder and seltzer I think!
4. Whip it good. There are kosher for Passover baking powders, but if you don’t feel comfortable using it, the whipped egg whites on their own led to pretty light balls.
5. Schmaltz! Just do it. If you don’t make your own, kosher markets often sell it frozen. The flavor just can’t be beat.
6. Time to get crafty. I always add onions into my matzo balls for extra flavor, but you can get creative with dill, parsley, garlic, even saffron.
7. Don’t overwork your balls. The key to fluffy balls is not to overwork the mixture when mixing or making the balls. I think golf ball size makes the best balls!
8. Float to the top! When cooking, your balls will puff up and float to the top when they are done. Test one by cutting it in half- the color should be uniform all the way through. And no peeking as your matzo balls are cooking! Just let them go…
9. Plan ahead. You can totally make matzah ball soup ahead of time. Either freeze the whole shebang together in plastic bags for up to three months, or refrigerate the balls separated from the broth (so they don’t get mushy).
10. What about vegetarians? As much as I want to say no soup for you, because it’s so fun to pretend to be a Seinfeld character, you can still make it work! Make your own broth with vegetables only, and use oil in place of schmaltz.
Twists on matzah ball soup:
These tips originally appeared on The Jewish Week.