The Ingredients You Need For Traditional Matzo Balls

Similar in color and shape to a turkey meatball, matzo balls are a comforting dumpling found in soup that is both hearty and oh-so-satisfying. Typically consumed during Passover, this soup can be made and enjoyed year-round. In fact, Thrillist asked three generations of Jewish women what their favorite traditional dishes were, and matzo ball soup was the clear winner. But why is this Jewish traditional dish so popular?

According to NPR, Passover is a meal that honors Jewish history, with the food symbolizing different events. Matzo is an important staple, as it remembers the Jews eating unleavened bread while fleeing Egypt. Before the 19th century, matzo balls were made by using the leftover crumbs from matzo bread, and believe it or not, they were once called knoedel. By the 1930s, companies started mass producing them due to their high demand. Now, you have the option to buy them pre-made and simply toss them into a broth, or make them yourself like grandma used to. You can even make it your own with unique recipes like Kale Matzo Ball Soup, or Matzo Ball Posole

While we know that unleavened bread is a clue, what exactly makes up the rest of a matzo ball?

Matzo meal, fat, and eggs

According to allrecipes, matzo balls consist of three key ingredients, including matzo meal, eggs, and fat. Matzo meal is simply matzo crackers ground up into a powder. Matzo crackers can be found in grocery stores, as can matzo ball mix, which usually is a mix of matzo meal, spices, and preservatives. From there, it's time to choose your fat. Traditionally in Jewish cultures, chicken fat is most often used, but butter and margarine are great alternatives. From there, it's time to crack in your eggs and get to mixing. Additionally, Delighted Cooking states that a fourth key component can be adding your favorite seasonings to the dough. And, from there, it's tradition to form the dough with wet hands to prevent it from sticking and add the balls into boiling water or broth to cook.

One last tip before serving up your soup, according to Jamie Geller, is to check for doneness. While you should wait at least 30 minutes before opening the lid, as matzo balls take that long to cook, you should then cut one in half to test if it has completed cooking. If it's done, the color and texture will be consistent throughout.