Lest you think that Passover cooking was over after my big at-home feast, don’t be silly. I volunteered, again, to make matzo balls to put in the soup for the community seder for our congregation. That’s about 210 matzo balls. So I spent Saturday morning with two giant pots boiling away, instead of sleeping in.
My mother and her sisters used to argue about whose matzo balls were the most feathery and light (there are some people who like them firm and chewy – a shondana as mother would have said. Aren’t you ashamed to have made such leaden matzo balls!) So I learned the secret of fluffy matzo balls – seltzer. But I wanted matzo balls that were not only light, as in fluffy, but light as in low fat. So a few years ago, I began tinkering with the family recipe. First I switched the melted chicken fat to canola oil. This also made them vegetarian, which was a handy improvement. Then I reduced the amount of oil to 1 tablespoon. Next, I replaced 3 of the eggs with egg substitute. Now the matzo balls are light nutritionally as well as in the sense my mother demanded.
One of the reasons to lighten up the matzo balls was that, although the traditional way of serving them is in soup, I like leftover matzo balls for breakfast, cut in half and heated in a frying pan coated with cooking spray. Drenched with maple syrup, they’re so good. And they’re not too shabby if you cut them in half and sprinkle them with some garlic power and/or other seasonings before you reheat them. They make a good side dish. They are, after all, a form of dumplings.
I realize this is too late for Passover this year, but save the recipe for next year. Or just make them for the heck of it – they’re good any time of year. Why restrict them to a holiday.
1Tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg
¾ cup egg substitute
1 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup seltzer
Mix oil, egg, egg substitute and salt together in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the matzo meal and beat with the mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently fold in the seltzer until everything is well incorporated. Be sure your seltzer is reasonably fresh and has some bubble to it. Flat seltzer makes for lead matzo balls. The batter will foam up as you mix it. Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Reduce to a medium boil. Form matzo batter into balls a bit smaller than golf balls. I do this by scooping up a bit of the batter with the tips of my fingers and rolling it in my palms so there won’t be raggedy edges. This often requires occasional hand washing to keep your hands from getting too gooey. But homemade matzo balls don’t need to be perfectly shaped, so don’t over roll them. Your matzo balls may look a bit small, but here is where the fluffy happens. Drop the matzo balls in boiling water as you make them. They will sink to the bottom of the pot and in a few moments they will rise to the surface of the water, doubled in size. Fluffy! Cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the matzo balls from the pot with a slotted spoon. This makes about 16 matzo balls with one gram of fat each.
See, they’re a little rough around the edges, but they’re fluffy.
I almost always make a double recipe so I have leftovers – Even when I’m making a large quantity, I never make more than a double recipe. I’m not sure the seltzer would work well in a bigger batch and, besides, 32 is about the maximum my big pot can hold at any one time. So I just make repeated batches.
If you are going to store them for a day or so, drain them on the counter and let them cool:
Matzo Ball Production Zone
They actually keep well for a day or two in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container. I also have been told that you can freeze them, but I’ve never tried it. The traditional way to serve matzo balls in chicken soup (or vegetarian broth). To serve, bring your soup to a boil, reduce the heat, and put the matzo balls into the soup to reheat for about 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with one or two matzo balls in each bowl of soup.