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Perfect Matzo Balls – What the Winners of the Annual Matzah Bowl Know

April 13th, 2011 · 5 Comments

There was no floating or sinking about the matzo balls served at the Second Annual Matzah Bowl at Forest Trace retirement community in Fort Lauderdale. “These are all sinkers,” said Jay Tabachnick – the “soup” man. Tabachnick and I shared notes and comments at the judging table where he clued me in on what top quality a matzo ball is made with. “Love is No. 1,” he said.

He explained why they’re all too big, too: “The matzo ball will get cold by the time you get to it all. They need to be smaller.”

We were judging the professional caterers who brought in their matzo balls for tasting – Ally’s won of the three who showed. The matzo balls were light and fluffy and nicely formed. A better soup was in Ben’s; the matzos were good, but could have used more flavor. Lasko’s Deli also had a good matzo ball, but only one could win. Rabbis, a priest, food writers and food pros judged the event, which drew the whole residency to witness the party surrounding the contest – cantors singing and much tasting going on.

Karla Goldstein

Chefs and others judged the winners of the amateur contest. Karla Goldstein, 81, originally of Romania and now a resident of Forest Trace, said she’s thrilled her recipe was being carried on, as she has no children.

“It was meant to be,” she said of the win. “I didn’t submit the recipe till the last minute!” It’s one of several recipes she has – all good, she maintains.

“I’ve been making matzo ball soup since we’ve been married in 1967,” she said. Her husband Stanley cheered her on. This will be the first year she won’t make them for Seder – she’ll be eating at Forest Trace. She says she’ll miss the tradition – “I put my heart into what I do.”

She won $100 for her synagogue in Hallandale.

The tie winner, Alice Levy of Wellington, was unable to attend the awards. Both recipes are below.


Karla Goldstein’s Perfect Matzo Balls

(Begin night before)

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 cups matzo meal
  • Salt for soup water

Beat eggs with salt and white pepper. Add  oil, 1/2 cup of water and 1-1/4 cups matzo meal. Mix until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings; refrigerate overnight. Fill a large soup pot halfway with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Using a tablespoon, scoop up matzo meal mixture and form into 12 balls. Drop the balls into the boiling water. Cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add to chicken soup before serving.

Makes 12 matzo balls.


Alice Levy’s Best Matzo Balls

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher for Passover baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch sugar
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, fresh chopped dill, fresh chopped parsley

In small bowl, beat together eggs and vegetable oil. In a large bowl, stir together matzo meal,  kosher for Passover baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste) and sugar. If desired, add white pepper, fresh dill or parsley.  Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. With wet hands, shape dough into 8 to 10 balls. Add matzo balls to a large pot of boiling water and boil for 6 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and cover pot; let stand for 20 minutes.

Add matzo balls to soup before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 matzo balls.

Tags: Holiday cooking · Recipes: What's Cooking!

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Terri Turner // Apr 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Club Soda!!! Don’ t know how much, I just know that I add a little and they’re so light and fluffy!!!

  • 2 Jan Norris // Apr 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Someone else told me that you must grease your hands and use vegetable oil in them, too…I think a bit of chicken fat (schmaltz) would give them flavor. My biggest complaint: nobody uses herbs or anything in them.

  • 3 Jan Norris // Apr 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Someone else told me that you must grease your hands and use vegetable oil in them, too…I think a bit of chicken fat (schmaltz) would give them flavor. My biggest complaint: nobody uses herbs or anything in them. Then again – what do I know? I’m a goyishakopf.

  • 4 Terri Turner // Apr 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Yes you are. LOL!!! Ok, NO, NO, NO!!!!!! NO HERBS IN MATZAH BALLS!!!!! Meatballs, yes, matzah balls NO! Wolfgang Puck says “a liddle salt and pebble”…that’s all!! The schmaltz part might be ok for taste, but then will add a little grease slick in your bowl, great taste though. Kinda like the “deli’s” down here with their whitefish salad. They put celery and carrots in it. NO!!!! Whitefish and mayo! That’s it!!!! Stick with me kiddo, I’ll “edjewmacate” you! (as if) LOL!!!

  • 5 Karen Dennis // May 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I add fresh dill to mine and cook them in boiling water seasoned with consomme. What I learned from this contest is that is you want fluffier matzah balls, when you take them off the flame, leave them covered in the pot for an additional ten minutes.

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