“Zizen Pesach” A goyim goes to Seder… Matzoh Ball Soup Recipe-

The first time is tasted matzoh ball soup was a Seder, which my next door neighbor invited me to. The Sands lived next door. They along with a large segment of the neighborhood families were Jewish. I was brought up Catholic and had never had an opportunity to witness other religious observances first hand. I must say I was really taken by the experience. I remember the seriousness of it, the sense of connection that the ritual had which stretched through oceans of time. I really admire the beauty of Judaism, it’s very comforting or at least that was my impression.

Although I was 12, I was allowed to drink the wine. These days they would probably get arrested for plying me with wine but It was part of the evening and I went with it. Mrs. Sands was an excellent cook. She could make some mean Italian food as well, but tonight I was in for a treat. They brought out the soup, that magic matzoh ball soup. I have to tell you I was hooked. I was fortunate to get some of the best matzoh ball soup I have ever eaten, to this day. In years after I would ask her from time to time for a batch. So thanks to the Sands for sharing a beautiful evening with me. I never expressed to you the impression that night I spent at your seder had on me. And of course you hooked me on Matzoh ball soup.

The word matzo means “unleavened bread”. The history of the matzoh can be traced back to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. If you have ever seen the movie the “Ten Commandments”, you get the picture.

It is believed that there was not enough time for the bread to rise as people escaped their bondage. The bread, made without yeast, was cooked in the desert most likely on hot rocks baked in the sun.

Passover is one of the holiest holiday’s in the Jewish culture, also known as the “Seven Day Feast of Unleavened Bread”, it is a celebration of deliverance. It’s purpose is to remember and learn from this period of Jewish history. Eating matzoh is a reminder of poverty and humility.

Since the bread is relatively tasteless inventive ways to add flavor were incorporated. Grinding the matzoh into meal, adding eggs, oil, seltzer and seasoning created wonderful results. Basically a dumpling, the matzoh ball is boiled in broth. The result matzoh ball soup. You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it and it’s fun to make. It does require a bit skill the get the matzoh balls just right.


3 Tbsp.  Chicken fat (olive oil can be substituted)
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. seltzer water
1½ cups matzoh ground
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 scallion, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
½ tsp. salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 quarts chicken stock (canned or home made)
2 cloves garlic, cut and pressed
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
oil and water

Separate eggs. Add egg yolks, olive oil, and seltzer water, blend. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and combine the egg yolk mixture slowly.Add the matzoh, herbs, salt, and pepper. Chill for 2 hours.

In a large saucepan, combine chicken stock, carrot, garlic, onion, celery and bay leaves, bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover.

Wet hands with a bit of oil or water and form small balls out of the matzoh mixture.
Roll one golf ball-size matzo ball. Place matzo ball in the simmering stock to test the mixture. If the ball falls apart add more matzoh. When desired consistency is reached,
roll all of mixture into golf ball size spheres.

Gently add them to the simmering stock and cover. Cook for approximately 45 minutes. Keep pot covered. Remove bay leaves when done and serve.

The key is not to add too much or too little matzoh. Too much and the balls will be too heavy too little they will fall apart.

About Bill Brady Food Photographer

I am an accomplished food and beverage photographer. Having managed to combine my 2 great passions food and photography into a career has been an absolute joy. I spend my time creating food images not only for a living but for my audience. It's a labor of love for me. Recently I have teamed up with a group of very talented people to launch an online Magazine called Heat Magazine. A magazine about all foods spicy. Enjoy
This entry was posted in Food Photography, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Zizen Pesach” A goyim goes to Seder… Matzoh Ball Soup Recipe-

  1. Steve2inLA says:

    As a matzoh ball eater since I was a kleine, let me suggest that for absolute authenticity, you swap that olive oil for an equal amount of “schmaltz”, aka “chicken fat.” Seriously. I wouldn’t kid you. It’ll make all the difference. Trust me. Would I lie?

  2. Kaitlin says:

    Haha – I just got back from eating some rather disappointing matzoh ball soup in the dorm cafeteria. I should have known just by looking at it (or perhaps by my location?) to know it was going to suck.

    This, on the other hand, looks delicious. Such a beautiful photo, but I suppose that’s really no surprise!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. mim says:

    That’s how my mother made matzo balls before she discovered matzo ball mix–with seltzer, thoroughly chilled, and opened just before using! Mmm–I’m getting hungry just looking at the picture.

    I’m glad you took Steve’s advice and replaced the olive oil with chicken fat. And you don’t have to grind the matzoh yourself unless you really want to–matzoh meal is sold in boxes.

    But what’s with “a goyim goes to Seder”? That’s like saying “a gentiles goes to Seder” or “a Jews goes to Midnight Mass.” The singular is “goy.” (It’s actually a back-formation, but that’s another story.)

  4. Mmmmm matzoh ball soup is probably of my favourite soups of all time. I love how matzoh absorbs all the flavours around it.

  5. Lynda says:


    I adore matzoh ball soup but put a little spin on the matzoh balls themselves. I add some freshly chopped dill, a bit of grated carrot for color, a little grated garlic and onion and blend in with the matzoh ball mixture. A little goes a long way re: garlic/onion, but you will not believe the results!!! Sometimes I leave out the carrot and add grated lemon rind. People rave about them.

  6. mim says:

    Garlic in matzo balls? Some of the NYC diners do that,but I object! (On this blog, anyway.)

    Dill is a nice touch, tho.

  7. Lynda says:

    I notice that Bill serves his soup with the veggies included. I make the stock from scratch and serve my matzoh balls in clear broth. I sorta deconstruct the soup by adding the finely minced dill, carrot, just a bit of grated onion/garlic to the matzoh balls themselves. When you take a bite of the matzoh ball surrounded by that clear, super infused broth, you get a flavor explosion in your mouth. You only get the bare essence of garlic which compliments the broth. Hope this helps explain my method.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s