Matzo Ball Trade Secrets

Famous Eateries Share Tips, Recipes for the Chicken Soup Staple

By Devra Ferst

Published March 26, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

If matzo is the bread of affliction, certainly the rock-hard matzo balls that grace seder tables everywhere are a modern affliction for many seder-goers. Making light and flavorful matzo balls often eludes even talented cooks. Perfect execution comes from the right combination of ingredients and techniques. Here, three of the most sought-after matzo ball makers in New York — Katz’s Deli, 2nd Avenue Deli and Zabar’s — offer up their wisdom and recipes for light and delicious matzo balls.

Cooking Tips

Katz’s Delicatessen, Alan Dell, Co-owner “The secret to a great matzo ball is a combination of things. Some people say seltzer, but it’s really getting the right amount of oil to get the fluffiness. If you have the right amount of oil and matzo meal, you’ll get fluffy matzo balls.”

2nd Avenue Deli, Jack Lebewohl, father of current owners “If you follow the recipe that’ll do the trick. It’s the right mix of everything. And a little bit of baking powder seems to work. Nice and fluffy. And, as my brother used to say ‘A matzo ball without shmaltz is an assimilated matzo ball.’”

Zabar’s, Andrea Watman, Zabar’s catering manager “There is a secret ingredient to light matzo balls — you have to add seltzer. The truth of the matter is: You have to cook the matzo balls long enough, past when they float to the top. If you don’t, the center stays hard and that weighs them down. So taste them, cook them long enough to cook all the way through, and use seltzer.”


Recipes

Katz’s Deli Matzo Balls
Courtesy of Ken Kohn, Executive Chef

Makes Approximately 12 matzo balls

4 eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cold chicken stock
1 cup matzo meal
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

  1. Beat eggs with oil in large bowl, mix in the stock, then incorporate the other ingredients till well blended.

  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, gently form matzo balls to about 1-inch diameter with wet hands. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Cut one open to make sure they are cooked through.


2nd Avenue Deli Matzo Balls Reprinted with permission from “The 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook”

Makes 12 to 14

1 tablespoon salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup schmaltz
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/3 cup matzo meal

  1. Fill a large, wide stockpot three-quarters full of water, add tablespoon of salt, and bring to a rapid boil.

  2. While water is boiling, crack eggs into a large bowl and beat thoroughly. Beat in schmaltz, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and baking powder. Slowly fold in matzo meal, mixing vigorously until completely blended. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.

  3. Wet hands, and folding the mixture in your palms, shape perfect balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter (they will double in size when cooked).

  4. Gently place the matzo balls in the boiling water, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place one or two in each bowl of soup. Serve immediately.


Zabar’s Matzo Balls Courtesy of Andrea Watman

Should make 12 matzo balls

4 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup old fashion seltzer
1 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

  1. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, add oil, salt, pepper and matzo meal then and only then stir in seltzer. Do not over mix.

  2. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (can be made the night before).

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

  4. Make sure to wet your hands with cold water and form the balls by rolling the mixture in your hand.

  5. Drop into boiling water, reduce heat and cook for approx. 20-30 minutes. The balls will double in size and begin to float to the top. Remove when done and add to your soup.

  • Note: Some people add finely chopped parsley for color or another holiday bitter herb, still others add finely minced onions for a bit of added flavor — but Grandma Bertha was a purest no additions.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.