Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Is This Matzo Ball Made Of?

I have been taking care of my Jewish Grandmother the last few weeks. We just had Matzo Ball Soup. I was rather excited because I don't think I actually ever had a bowl. As I sat there eating it, I couldn't stop paying attention to the texture of this Matzo Ball. It was squishy and spongy, almost like tofu. Made me think, "What the hell am I really eating?"
Matzo aka Matzoh aka Matza aka Matzah Balls

The main ingredient in Matzo Balls is Matzo Meal. Again, I said to myself, "What the hell am I really eating?" So after doing some research, I discovered that Matzo Meal is pretty much ground up Matzo Crackers. AND, Matzo Crackers - according to the box at my Gram's house - consist of Unbleached Wheat Flour, Water, Canola Oil, and Malt. The sidekicks of the ground Matzo Crackers are Water, Eggs, and Oil. Together, they form Team Balls (I made this term up).
You need this for the base of a cracker dumpling.

Then, there are special techniques and styles: adding schmaltz (rendered fat, typically chicken) to give the balls a meatier, tender flavor; flavoring the cooking water with plenty of salt because cracker balls soak up liquid, and if your water is bland, your balls are going to be bland; adding herbs and whatnot to the middle for a fun surprise; wetting your hands to form these sticky balls; forming little balls, medium balls, or big balls; creating sinker balls (sink in the soup) or floating balls (float in the soup); etc; etc; etc.
Matzos Unsalted Crackers with Cream Cheese

Once, you got the balls formed and cooking, you've got to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Just remember this: Is it the same color throughout? Are they tender? If not, cook a bit longer.

So, do I want to make a big bowl of Matzo Ball soup now? Nope. Seems like a lot of work. Could I just eat a Matzos Cracker with Cream Cheese like I have been doing since I was a kid? Maybe my mom is lazy as well. Hmmm. Is that why I never had Matzo Ball soup at home? Aw, well. Eventually, I will make it and post it, but don't rush me; however, if you know me by now, I DO love soup.So it might be sooner, rather than later. Mazel Tov! - Sarah Sparks