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Killing the Matzoh Ball

Because my sister is non-gebrokts for Pesach and it breaks our collective heart over not having Dad's (a"h) matzoh balls for quite sometime now, my mother was determined to make a non-gebrokts matzoh ball.

What my mother has found has basically killed the matzoh ball for me. There is a recipe for a mock matzoh ball in Enlitened Kosher Cooking by Nechama Cohen, that uses raw ground chicken meat as the base for the dumpling. My 4 kids and my sisters 4 kids basically ate this at each lunch and dinner over the 3 day Yom Tov. Repetitive? Yes, (adults had a more varied menu) but they did not seem to mind and it was so much healthier, and while it was not exactly a matzoh, it was close enough to convince me never to do matzoh balls again.

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  1. Not as good as having it for all of yom tov, but why don't you at least have your dad's matzah balls for the eighth day?

    How is the recipe you described different than a meatball?

    1. echoing queenscook - how is that different from a meat (or chicken) ball?

      2 Replies
      1. re: brooklynkoshereater

        No matzah binder, but in reality -- a chicken meat ball. And just to make life easier, we do the matzah ball for Shabbos Thanksgiving

        1. re: brooklynkoshereater

          Meatballs have flour, breadcrumbs, and/or bread as binding agents.

        2. I'm wondering if what your mother made was a variation on Gondi, which are Persian-Jewish chicken meatballs that look just like firm matzoh balls and are traditionally served in Abgusht (chicken broth) every Erev Shabbat.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Arthur

            My grandmother, A"H, used to make these too. She was Polish/Austrian (Galytzianer) and this is what they did at home because they did not eat gebrokts. Last night of Pesach, though, we bust out the Matza Meal and the schmaltz and make some mean lead-like Gebrokt, Shmurah matza balls. Unbelievably delicious!

            1. re: Arthur

              Gondi are kitniyos (made out of chickpeas) but falshe fish is made out of chicken/veal and potatoes. Maybe they'd work in soup?

              1. re: arifree

                You are absolutely correct that chickpeas are a key ingredient of Gondi, which is why I said "a variation on...". Basically, I'm wondering if the matzoh balls in question tasted like Gondi with something (e.g., potatoes) substituting for the chickpeas.

                1. re: arifree

                  Yes. falshe fish is what she called it. I miss her.

                1. In the past, I've tried to recreate old family traditions. Some work, while others don't due to new minhagim and tastes. How about trying your father's gebrokts matzo balls for the last day as something special to look forward to. On the other days, there are so many other soups to make besides chicken soup with matzo balls. I've found that my grandchildren love some of my grandmother's dishes, but now some of mine have become part of their tradition as well.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: sharonlebewohl

                    Sometimes I go to a chasidic friend's family for Chol hamoed Pesach. They served homemade grape juice and borscht. They served the falshe fish, chicken soup (no dumplings though), chicken, fried potatoes and also a cole slaw made with kohlrabi instead of cabbage (they don't eat anything that can't be peeled) And a honey sweetened applesauce for dessert. It is simple but you feel good when you eat it since everything was made from scratch.

                    1. re: arifree

                      Forgive me the following diatribe, but I am homesick for my youth. Because we lived with my grandmother, we ate by her rules. With her Chasidic background in Europe, that meant everything home made and very simple. Homemade gefilte, soup, homemade egg noodles (eggs with potato starch are fried with a touch of oil like a crepe and then cut into strips--my job as a kid was to cut these strips as evenly as possible), potted chicken and potted meat and potatoes (we didn't roast anything on Pesach), potted potato kugel (ridiculously good and oilier than the usual potato kugel), kohlrabi cole slaw and for dessert...just apple sauce or stewed pears, every night. She would use an old-fashioned strainer to strain the cooked apples. She did not allow help for that--might ruin the consistency. Jars and jars of homemade borsht were made and stored under the sink. I could not stand the smell. For breakfasts (served cold on the Yom Tov, hot during Chol Hamoed), we were given salmon croquettes and cheese latkes, and of course Matzah and butter--lots of that. I remember sitting in the kitchen peeling pounds and pounds of potatoes and even grating them for the kugel with hand graters that were about 50 years old at the time (no food processors for us). Right before the start of the Yom Tov, she would rinse off those old graters and break out the real horseradish. She would then sit herself by a window and grate the horseradish into a container, sealing it up as soon as possible to keep the sharpness from escaping. My grandmother allowed us to eat other vegies, but she said that--as you mentioned--they were not supposed to eat green pepper or tomatoes because they could not be peeled. She made her famous nut cake (which I did not like at all) and then on the afternoon right before the last days, she would "treif up" the kitchen with gebrukts. She made a matza meal cake that cousins traveled for miles to get and those black shmura matza and shmaltz kneidlach that I mentioned above. If family members who had married in were there for the Yom Tov, she would make them eat on plastic plates with plastic utensils if they were raised with gebrokts. She didn't trust them. The funny thing is that my mother does the same thing to my husband ( I intermarried into a non-Chasidic rooted family with a Russian/Lithuanian background). My husband laughs every year when he sits down with his plastic plate and fork and he doesn't get insulted because he will put his coleslaw on the same plate as his Matzah and he will even--G-d forbid--occasionally forget and drop a matza piece into his chicken soup. He knows he can't be trusted. Even though he never got to meet my grandmother, I know he knows she is smiling.

                      1. re: cappucino

                        Thanks for your memories, Cappucino.

                        I will point out one thing. My semichasidish (Modern Chasidishe?) family does in fact eat peppers and tomatoes. The trick is to roast the veggies over an open fire for a little bit till the peel starts to blister. Then you can flake it off with a fork. We just put it down on the stovetop burner.

                        Interestingly, I saw Iron Chef Morimoto use this technique on Battle Chiles vs Tim Love just the other week (so happy to have the Food Channel back again).

                        My wife's family, even less Chasidish than mine, do not eat gebrokts, but even they laugh at my matzah-in-a-Ziplock-baggie antics.

                        1. re: The Cameraman

                          Yes, yes. The matzah in the bag. Love it.

                          1. re: cappucino

                            Our first Pesach at the out-laws, my shver addressed the table and said "Can you believe our grandchildren will be sitting at our table one day and be eating matzah out of plastic bags?"

                            And my wife's aunt said "Well, that's what my parents do, and all my brothers..."

                            1. re: The Cameraman

                              It is so funny. Many people have never heard of a scene like you are describing. BTW, that's why my mother finds it so odd when she hears that others have guests over on Pesach for meals. We weren't even allowed to go over to someone's house for potato chips on Yom Tov afternoon. She finds all this mixing to be weird.

                              1. re: cappucino

                                Well, we didn't "mish" either, but my in laws' level of Yiddishkeit is close enough for government work, so I really have no problem eating there. My MIL makes only a single dish with that I can't eat (it involves peppers and she insists on keeping the skin on, she says the smokey flavor of a roasted pepper ruins it), and she keeps it seperate.

                                I am a little paranoid about matzah crumbs in my plate, but as the don't eat gebrukts they are pretty careful also, keeping a plate on the table just for matzah.

                                I can't eat the pickles, of course, but that's about it.

                                My brother decided that he does eat in fact eat gebrokts, so he has no problem eating at his in laws.

                  2. There are non-gebroks knaidel mixes from potato starch sold in the kosher stores. I have used Liebers, most people assumed they were the real thing when I served them!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: EvanM

                      I'm just saying that the chicken meat ball must be healthier than any matzah or potato bomb.

                      1. re: vallevin

                        It seems to me that it would be simple to come up with a potato-based dumpling recipe for a non-gebroks household. In addition to eggs and potatoes, I think I would brown a lot of finely-diced onions in chicken or duck fat, and probably minced parsley. I would have some pesadic "instant mashed" potato flakes on hand to add if the mixture didn't seem firm enough.

                        But, there are a lot of things to eat on Pesach besides matzo balls. And the world is full of wonderful vegetables that are not kitniyot.

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          Um...we don't roll without matza balls (every shabbos btw).

                          1. re: cappucino

                            Very funny. We're pretty traditional, just not that way. I get bored and need to try and invent A Tunesian couccous is the main course tonight. A hamim from cochin for tomorrow. And a New England apple pie, sweetened with Grade B maple syrup. Grade B gives you a more richly-flavored syrup. So you get apple-maple pie. I love when products like this get a kof K.