Monday, March 22, 2010

Matzo-Ball Soup

Happy Spring!! We are not Jewish, not keeping a kosher kitchen and not celebrating Passover, but we love Matzo-ball soup, and I tend to make it a lot in the spring-time, possibly because I see all the little supermarket displays with matzo meal and other interesting-sounding ingredients readily available.
At any rate, I figured it was time to share this recipe, regardless of what day it is.
Matzo-Ball soup has long been a favorite with my kids, they tend to like anything with balls of dumpling-like-things floating around in it. And they especially loved the soup I used to make, which traditionally needs eggs to make nice fluffy matzo-balls. Granted, these are a bit different. I wondered if their randomly persnickety palates would notice a difference - apparently not, as this recipe seems to be just as much of a hit.

I've really struggled with veganizing the recipe and still getting the matzo (matzoh? matzah? lots of different spellings out there to confuse me) -balls to turn out anything CLOSE to the "original" but I think we're getting there, finally. (Of course, even more traditionally those matzo-balls are cooked in chicken-broth, but obviously THAT part is easy enough to veganize).

Let me also point out that while I am not Jewish, but I do have several friends who are. I was discussing my matzo-ball-veganization trials and mentioned using tofu. Well, evidently for Ashkenazi members, keeping Kosher at Holidays means no legumes... including tofu. (I've since learned that some rabbis allow tofu for those following vegan and Kosher but I don't really profess to know how all that works exactly.) At any rate, to make things more difficult or maybe just in the interest of a challenge, I decided to try making vegan AND soy-free matzo-balls! Like I don't have enough to do?

However..... Finally, with a lot of gooey, crumbly, sticky, gummy trial-and-errors, I think we have a winner. Or maybe at least a fair substitute for those of you who also love all things Matzo. (Don't be put off by my photo. They actually hold together better than what I have pictured!)

Soy-free, Dairy-free VEGAN Matzo Balls

  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 2 Tbsp potato starch (or 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten flour if that works for you.)
  • 2/3 cup water (minus about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • pinch (literally JUST a pinch) of baking soda (optional if you want to leave out any leavening, though the balls will be more dense)
  • pinch of onion powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of parsley

Mix all the above ingredients together until almost the consistency for rolling into balls.

It should be like a soft, slightly sticky play-dough, but it can be quite a bit softer, as the dough will absorb liquid as it sits. Add a little more matzoh or liquid if needed for the right texture - and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Roll into about 16 small balls and drop into gently boiling vegetable or vegetarian-"chicken" broth or your own choice of homemade broth or any salty, seasoned water.

Turn down heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Remove from water with slotted spoon and bake on an oiled rack (over a cookie sheet) for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees until they start to dry out. This extra step keeps them holding their shape nicely!!!

Refrigerate if you're not ready to use.

When ready to use, warm in the oven covered with foil (or in the microwave *gasp*). Add to soup of your choice and serve.

My actual "soup" is nothing fancy - I usually throw a bunch of plain old frozen mixed veggies in some simple vegetarian "chik-flavored" broth and add the matzo balls. If you leave the matzo balls in the broth a bit they start to soften which can be good, but too long and they fall apart, (as you can see in my photo) but the broth thickens up nicely too. So do whatever you like, and enjoy!!!!


Vegan Deluxe said...

Looks great! I've actually never tried matzoh ball soup, but the way you describe it, it kind of sounds like a different version of chicken and dumplings. I'll have to give it a try!!

T said...

Just in time for passover! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

OMG--thank you! My mom used to make the BEST matzo ball soup growing up, and I can't wait to try your veganized recipe! yum!


Valen said...

I love matzo balls, so comforting!

VivaciousVegan said...

Tofu mom, you and I have very similar cooking styles! I am also not afraid to cook with oil or vegan butter!!! Your food looks very appetizing too!

Kiki said...

Oh, looks good :). I have never had matzo ball soup....will try this sometime!