Sinkers or floaters? That was the question always asked of Grandma Minnie's kneidels [matzah balls] at the first seder. Would her always delicious matzah balls sink to the bottom of her wonderfully rich chicken soup, or would they float delicately over the surface. The answer to the question was never certain; some years they sank with a slightly chewy texture and other years they floated with a melt-in-your-mouth lightness. What causes the difference? It comes from the ratio of eggs to matzah meal and the amount of air whipped into the eggs. Too much oil added to the mix will make them sink, as will removing the cover while they cook.

Some of you may like "floaters" and others may like "sinkers." Below you will find some of my favorite matzah ball recipes and some that have been sent or given to me over the years.

My Favorite Matzah Balls (Pareve or Meat)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 1-1/2 hours
Boiling Time: 30-40 minutes

 


4 jumbo egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp. parsley
1 tbsp. grated onion
2 tbsp. vegetable oil (or melted chicken fat, if desired)
1/2 tsp. pareve chicken soup mix (optional)
4 jumbo egg whites, beaten stiffly
3/4 cup matzah meal

Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside. Beat the egg yolks, salt, parsley, onion, oil, pepper, and soup mix until creamy. Fold the egg whites into the egg mixture. Gradually fold in the matzah meal. Cover and chill for 1-1/2 hours.

Bring a very large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.

With well oiled hands, make small balls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Drop them into the boiling water. Cover the pot tightly and boil for about 30-40 minutes. Don't peek!! Makes about 20.

Matzah Balls With A Twist (Meat)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 hour

1/2 cup pareve margarine
4 jumbo eggs
1/4 cup chicken soup
pinch salt
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1/4 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. grated onion
1/2 tsp. sage
pinch tarragon
1 cup matzah meal
pinch white pepper

Beat the eggs well. Add all the other ingredients EXCEPT the matzah meal. Mix well. Add the matzah meal gradually, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt. With well greased hands, make small balls, about an inch in diameter, and drop them into the water. Cover and simmer for an hour.

No Fat, No Cholesterol, Great Flavor Matzah Balls (Pareve)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: at least an hour (no more than two)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup matzah meal
3/4 tsp. salt
pinch white pepper
1 tbsp. grated onion
1 tsp. pareve instant chicken broth
pinch onion powder
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tbsp. parsley
3 jumbo or 4 extra large egg whites
3 tbsp. club soda or seltzer

Mix the matzah meal and the dry ingredients together. Beat the egg whites until just barely at the soft peak stage.

Add the onions and club soda to the dry ingredients and fold in the egg whites.

Add the matzah meal slowly and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Boil a large pot of water with one teaspoon salt. With wet hands, make small balls and drop in the water. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. This makes about 10 matzah balls. Double the recipe if needed.

 

Potato Matzah Balls (Pareve)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

2 jumbo eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. grated onion
1/3 cup potato flour
3 tbsp. matzah meal
4 cups grated, drained raw potatoes

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a teaspoon of salt.

Beat the eggs, salt, and onions together. Add the potato flour, matzah meal, and potatoes. With well greased hands, shape into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Cook until they rise to the top, about 20-30 minutes.

Fluffy, Soft Matzah Balls (Pareve or Meat)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time; 1-several hours
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

4 jumbo eggs
2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
1/2 cup seltzer
2 tsp. grated onion
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. parsley (optional)
pinch white pepper
1 cup matzah meal

Mix the eggs well. Add the fat or oil, seltzer, herbs, spices, onion, and matzah meal. Mix thoroughly. Cover and chill for several hours, even overnight.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Dip your hands in cold water and make about 12 matzah balls. Drop them into the boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

MATZAH BALL HINTS:
* Use well oiled or wet hands to form the balls. This (usually) ensures a matzah ball with a definite shape that doesn't fall apart.

* Unless otherwise stated, cover the matzah balls as they simmer. DON'T PEEK! Somehow, peeking causes the matzah balls to fall.

* Add some of your favorite herbs or spices to any of these recipes. Some common additions are cayenne pepper, parsley, chopped chives, grated onion, grated garlic, and ground ginger. These all add a delicious flavor to your matzah balls.

Reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

Joni Schockett

Joni Schockett is a freelance food writer.