Matzo balls

All night we listened to the winds howling, feeling very grateful that we were tucked up in a warm and cozy house.

weather March 2014

Soup is the perfect antidote to wintry weather. I have previously written about the queen of soups, chicken soup in this post and now share the recipe I use for matzo balls.

In the old country we called them kneidlach קניידלעך with the anglicized usage being “How many knaidels do you want in your soup”. In America they prefer to say matzo balls although I am unsure if the correct term is matzah or matzo balls.

ingredients title

Mix the dry ingredients.

mix dry ingredients

Separately combine the wet ingredients.

mix wet ingredients

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just mixed, the goal is not to over handle the mixture. I like to do this all in a food processor – the mixing is completed in the time it takes to pour in the wet ingredients.

The matzo ball mix is allowed to rest for 20 mins at room temperature.

resting mixture

Spoonfuls of matzo ball mix are rolled and dropped into salted boiling water.

partially cooked

Simmer until done, about 20 mins. This recipe makes a large quantity! They freeze really well.

fully cooked

Serve with chicken soup. This soup is the same recipe as described in here, changing out the carrot juice for lots and lots of finely chopped carrots.

chicken soup with matzo ball

Ready for the taste test……

Gary taste test

A satisfied husband!


Zero Chicken Soup Recipe

At some point, every Jewish parent has to tackle the classics and interpret them for a new generation.

Here is a modern take on chicken soup with some novel innovations.

The recipe is named Zero Chicken Soup for the following reasons:

1) Zero waste – uses every scrap of the ingredients, nothing goes to waste. Plus using a pressure cooker greatly increases fuel efficiency.

2) Zero fat – no fiddling around with skimming the soup and other tedious steps associated with fat removal in traditional recipes.

3) Almost zero time – 20 mins from raw ingredients to finished soup, no kidding and no compromise on flavor. There are two secrets to making chicken soup so fast. The first is the use of bottled carrot juice. You get the carrot essence and save on prep time. The second is to use a pressure cooker. IMO the pressure cooker is a key kitchen gadget and thanks to the recent $40 Aldi’s deal these are popping up in kitchens all over Ithaca.

Aldi pressure cooker

4) Practically zero cleaning up. A one pot meal, as minimal washing up as you can get for such a delicious hearty meal.

5) Zero degrees – especially good in the extreme cold weather we’re experiencing. Also helpful in the case of inner frigidity.

Zero Chicken Soup recipe

Ingredients (quantities are not absolute and can be varied, what is suggested below will make a hefty quantity, approx 5 QTs, more than enough for a hungry family and set of guests. Aside from the seasonings, all ingredients are from Wegmans)

  • 3-4 onions
  • 1 large bunch celery
  • 1 large bunch parsley (curly or flat leaf)
  • 1 pkg boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bottle carrot juice (anywhere from about half to a nearly full 32 oz bottle)
  • ~3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp tumeric
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

ingredient montage image


Heat olive oil in the pan and add the onions coarsely chopped. Stir from time to time while you’re preparing the other ingredients.

Wash and slice celery cross-rib. Add to pot. Use the entire bunch of celery, including the tougher outer stems but omit the leaves.

Take the bunch of parsley. Chop off and discard only a very tiny bit at the base of the stem, keeping as much of the stem as possible. Now wash the bunch and arrange on the cutting board so the stems are fairly aligned at one end. Chop thinly starting from the stem end upwards into the leafy portion. Add the chopped stems and about half of the chopped leafy portion into the pot. A picture is helpful here.

chop parsley

Preparing the parsley

What is left should be just the parsley leaves. Reserve these to finish off the soup at the very end. The tougher parsley stems are usually discarded but they are edible and give great vegetable body and bite to the soup.

Now add all the other ingredients except for the chicken and the reserved parsley. Stir and add water. The amount of water depends a little bit on the capacity of the pot, you can always cook the soup and dilute just prior to serving. If you have a big bottle of carrot juice you may not need much water.

Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces and add to the pot.

Give the soup one last stir, close the lid and allow the pot to rise to cooking pressure. When it reaches cooking pressure, turn off the heat under the cooker and time 5 mins.

pressure cooking indicator

pressure cooking indicator at cooking pressure

Release the pressure, throw in the reserved chopped parsley leaf, taste to make sure the soup is adequately seasoned with salt and pepper and YOU ARE DONE!!

Serve with your favorite carbohydrate accompaniment. DELICIOUS!

chicken soup with fluffy floating kneidle

zero chicken soup with matzoh ball


The traditional accompaniment is kneidlach aka matzoh balls. These take considerably more than 20 mins to make but they freeze well so can be made in big batches ahead of time.

Noodles – Quick and easy. We prepare noodles separately and combine to individual taste.

Rice – A Maurice Sendak favorite.

Each month is gay,
each season nice,
when eating
chicken soup
with rice.

chicken soup with rice