Kneidlach, or matzah balls, are traditionally eaten with soup on Passover. At this time, noodles and other soup nuts or dumplings that are made of flour are forbidden. Kneidlach are a good soup accompaniment, delicious all year round.
1. The basic recipe that makes about 8 kneidlach is called 2, 2 and 2. It uses 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons oil, melted margarine, or chicken fat. Mix these ingredients together into a small ball, with some salt and white pepper.
2. Matzah meal is added as the next step. Kneidlach work best if they are made with coarse matzah meal. This is available in general stores and supermarkets around Passover time, and in kosher supermarkets all year round. You will need to add ¾ -1 cup of coarse matzah meal, and stir until you have a thick mixture.
3. Cover the mixture and let it stand in the fridge or on the bench for about 20 minutes. This will give the matzah meal a chance to absorb the liquid, and the mixture will firm up.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, or heat a large pot of soup. Covering the pot will allow the water to boil earlier.
5. When the water or soup is boiling, begin making balls out of the mixture and drop them in. Use your hands to do this. It is a good idea to wet your hands, as this makes the mixture easier to shape and prevents it from sticking.
6. The size of kneidlach is a matter of personal preference, but about the size of a ping pong ball is good. Drop the balls into the boiling water or soup and watch them rise to the top. Cook the kneidlach for about 20 minutes, depending on size.
7. The longer you cook kneidlach, the softer they will get. The quicker you cook them, the more likely they are to be hard and raw in the middle. A good kneidlach is often one that is cooked ‘al-dente’: soft, but with some bite to it.
8. If all of this is too difficult for you, just go and buy a packet of kneidlach mix from a kosher deli or the kosher section of a supermarket. (You can tell people it’s a special Israeli recipe!)
Serve one or two kneidlach per bowl of soup. Experiment by cooking the kneidlach mixture in different types of soup, such as vegetable or tomato.
As Marilyn Monroe quipped, “Isn’t there another part of the matzah we can eat?” as she was handed a bowl of matzah ball soup.
Related Pages on the BJE Website
Bedikat Chametz (the Search for Leaven)
How to Host a Passover Seder