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Halkes / Knaidlach / Knaidel / Matzo / Matza / Matzoh balls

Like American fried chicken, there are a lot of good variations on these lovely dumplings. From golf ball to baseball size, light or heavy, seasoned or resolutely plain, each variation has its devotees. Even ingredients vary: the Alsatian or southern German way is to use crushed matzoh crackers rather than matzoh meal.

No matter what you call them, when you cook matzoh balls, you have to chill the dough, bring the broth to a steady simmer, wet hands or spoons lightly to keep balls from sticking to hands. When you put them into the water or broth to simmer, gently nudge any balls which stick to the bottom of the pot* with a wooden spoon, to release them so they can float on surface. Then cover them and do NOT peek for at least 20 minutes- better yet use a glass lid- if you want them to be tender and good.

* Use a large enough pot! Matzoh balls expand to twice their original size while simmering and needs to cook for a total of about 40 minutes if made in the traditional 2 inch size. 25 minutes in water or stock (they may be stored after this cooking) and 15-20 minutes in the finished soup. Each half cup of meal makes about 6 balls.

Kosher preparation is particularly strict at Passover. Soda or leavening canít be used, thatís when folks beat those egg whites stiff. You might enjoy this little online hunt for Chometz or leaven. Or you might like to learn more about kosher / kashruth.

Here is a collection of good recipes.

Amy's Matzoh Balls

Well written recipe, traditional, feathery light and adapted for lower cholesterol

Traditional matzoh balls

Well written traditional firm texture with schmaltz, onions and grebenes (chicken cracklings). This Ashkenazi (middle European) recipe is delicious.

Simple traditional Passover matzoh balls

Traditional, firm and plain.

Carol's Prize winning matzoh balls

Variation on tradition, a light textured prize winner from New York- club soda and vodka

Gluten-free matzoh balls

For celiac diet and wheat allergy, gluten-free matzoh balls from Beth Hillson, with potato starch and ground almonds

Cajun fusion matzoh balls

OK, nontraditional but delicious, cajun matzoh balls with green onions and cayenne.

"How to" Matzoh Balls, Illustrated

Great photos accompany Robertís traditional, light textured recipe.

Stuffed veggie matza balls

New age inspiration in this variation of vegetable-stuffed matzoh balls- I shred some snow peas too- and this site has kosher links [internet, not hot dogs].

Matzoh balls Nd Unchicken soup

Vegetarian unchicken soup and other vegetarian passover recipes, and some good matzoh balls.

Many matzoh balls

The Jewish food mailing list archive recipe section has both modern and traditional recipes, including ones made with a food processor, lowfat, shitake mushroom, light potato, and no-fail freezable matzo balls.

I began to make matzo balls from the Ratner's cookbook in 1967. Here is that old, traditional recipe just as I originally learned it.

Ratner's Traditional New York deli matzo balls

6 large eggs
1 1/2tsp salt
1/2 cup clarified butter, schmaltz or oil>/td>
1 1/2cup matzoh meal
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup water

  1. Beat eggs, add salt. While beating, add butter.
  2. Add matzoh meal and baking powder and continue to beat until well mixed.
  3. Gradually beat in the water. Chill for at least two hours.
  4. Moisten hands and form into balls the size of large walnuts.
  5. Drop into simmering salted water and cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Reheat in soup for 10-15 minutes.
  7. It's also traditional to saute in butter with some sauteed sliced onions and served as a side dish.