This wonderfully simple version of an iconic Jewish recipe - traditionally enjoyed at Passover but actually enjoyed all year round - originates from Melbourne’s well known Balaclava Deli, famous for its wonderful soup and matzo balls.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (70 votes)

If you can’t find coarse matzo meal, you can crush matzo sheets in the food processor to make your own. You can find matzo in the kosher aisle at major supermarkets


Chicken soup

  • 2 chicken frames (about 1 kg)
  • ½ chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 chicken wings
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and halved
  • 1-2 sprigs dill
  • 1-2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 tsp salt, plus extra to season
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

Matzo balls

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 125 g coarse matzo meal
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) neutral-flavoured oil such as safflower
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • pinch ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe needs to be started 1 day in advance.

Resting time: 1 hour

  1. For the chicken soup, wash the chicken frames and pieces under cold running water. Put them in a stockpot (at least 5 litres in size) and pour in enough cold water to just cover, around 2 litres (8 cups). Bring to the boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and skim off the scum that rises to the surface.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, turn the heat to high and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover and continue to cook at a light boil for 1½-2 hours. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the bones and straining the soup, discarding everything except the carrot (and any chicken meat for you to enjoy later). Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool completely, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off the fat. Makes about 1½ litres.
  3. For the matzo balls, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and mix with the matzo meal, oil, 80 ml (⅓ cup) water, salt and pepper. Add this mixture spoon by spoon into the whites, whisking gently after each addition. Taste and season generously. Set aside for 15-30 minutes, giving it a light fold through after 10 minutes.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Using wet hands, and without pressing too firmly, lightly roll the matzo meal mixture into smooth walnut-sized balls and drop into the boiling water. You should have around 12 matzo balls. After the last ball has been dropped in, bring to the boil, cover and continue to cook at a rolling light boil for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the balls to cool in the water. If not using immediately, store the matzo balls in the cooled cooking water in the fridge.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the matzo balls from the cooking water with a slotted spoon. Pour the chicken soup into a saucepan, tasting for seasoning and flavour. If the flavour is not strong enough, bring to a boil and reduce to reach the desired taste, and if the flavour is too strong, add some water. Add the matzo balls and reserved carrot and simmer gently until heated through. Serve.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.