The story goes like this: My mum’s (Isabel’s) matzo balls were never as tender as she wished until she made a batch of matzo balls, turned off the heat and left them in the poaching liquid while we went to services at the synagogue. When we returned to eat dinner, the balls, sitting in the warm water for an hour or two, softened and plumped up. Her, and now my, cooking method was changed forever. I find that the perfect balance is poaching for 30 minutes, then letting the matzo balls rest in the poaching liquid, covered, for a further 30 minutes.
The centres of the balls become a little chewy and the exteriors are soft and fluffy, just the way I like them.
- 2 tbsp rendered chicken fat or olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) matzo meal
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.9 liters (64 fl oz/8 cups) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped dill, to garnish
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.
Chilling time: 30 mins
Standing time: 30 mins
1. Place the chicken fat or olive oil, eggs, matzo meal, water and salt in a large bowl and stir until completely combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of very well salted water to a simmer. Scoop the batter into soft but not packed golf-ball-sized balls, then lightly drop into the simmering water, partially cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand, still covered with a lid, for 30 minutes.
3. Gently heat the stock until hot, season with salt and ladle into serving bowls with 2 matzo balls each. Garnish with dill.
• Like a perfectly cooked steak or a favourite style of eggs for breakfast, everyone will have their ideal. Considerations of size include aesthetic (how the balls fit in the bowl), managing ball to broth ratio, and when one is gone, will you have another left to enjoy?
• Texture is the question of the century. You like what you like, just as with anything else. Some like it pillowy and tender, others prefer tender on the outside with a little chew in the inside. Dense matzo balls show novice skill.
• Use matzo or matzo meal? Matzo meal will provide the same consistency every time; if you grind your own, you may have variation.
Recipe and image from The Chicken Soup Manifesto by Jenn Louis, Published by Hardie Grant (RRP $45.00)