With Passover just around the corner, Forest Trace retirement community in Lauderhill hosted their Third Annual Golden Matzah Bowl which is a much anticipated, three-part competition including the Best Matzah Ball Mix from the Box and Best Homemade recipes. This year featured eight South Florida restaurateurs duking it out to win over the judges in the matzah ball taste test.
All attendees donated a Passover item for WECARE, the Broward food pantry.
The first portion of the bowl was a Facebook competition where close to 100 people debated whether they preferred Manischewitz or Streit’s Matzah Ball Mix.
Manischewitz Matzah Ball Mix was hands-down winner.
Judges tested, then voted that the best store-bought matzah balls came from Ben’s Deli in Boca, who won $500 for his charity with the other contenders from Miami-Dade and Broward County getting high marks for their submissions.
Here are the list of awards and restaurants that participated:
Best All-Around Matzah Ball-Ben’s Kosher Deli (Boca)
Choice – Pastrami Club (Inverrary)
Most Like Mom’s – Ally’s Comfort Café (Davie)
Best Floater – Mo’s Bagel’s and Deli (Aventura)
OOH IT’S SO GOOD!! – Zinger’s Deli (Boca)
Knock Out: Best Out of the Box Award – Josh’s Deli (Surfside, opening April 2012)
Best of Broward – TooJay’s
People’s Choice – Sage Deli (Hallandale)
The following are Winners for Best Homemade Recipes
Winner: Best Matzah Ball Recipe from Scratch
Matzah Balls with an Asian Flair
Joshua Marcus, Owner, Chow Down Grill SoBe
My paternal grandmother used to make matzah balls with me when I was young. My grandfather, who worked in the NYC garment district, would walk home every Friday so he would pass the local kosher bakery and buy freshly baked matzah. The matzahs were, so big that he carried them home in pizza boxes. By Sunday, the matzah would be stale. But my grandmother, who would never waste anything, would crush up the remaining pieces and put them in a jar in order to save them till the following Friday where she would use them to make that matzah balls. I adapted what I remembered from the process… my grandmother would use Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda instead of seltzer that everyone used and of course she used chicken schmaltz fat. But I own an Asian restaurant so the ginger beer and duck schmaltz seemed apropos.
Recipe – Matzah Balls with an Asian Flair
5 pieces of whole matzo (unsalted), broken to smaller pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup ginger beer
1/4 cup rendered duck fat ( can substitute chicken fat or canola oil)
1 shallot, diced
6 egg whites, beaten until foamy
1 cup matzo meal
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauté pan, place the duck fat and shallots, sauté till soft. Let cool but do not refrigerate. You do not want the fat to solidify.
In one large bowl, place the broken pieces of matzo, the chicken stock, ginger beer and whipped egg whites.
When the onion/duck fat mixture is ready, add this to the pot as well.
Mix thoroughly. Then slowly add your matzo meal, letting the meal incorporate slowly.
Finally add the salt and pepper to taste.
Cover this mixture and place in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
In a pot big enough to hold your future matzo balls, add 3 parts water to 1 part chicken stock, and salt. Let water come to a rolling boil.
Form your matzo balls to any size you like, I prefer something between a golf ball and a tennis ball.
Add matzah balls to the water, and cook on a slow simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve in your preferred form of soup broth and be happy.
Winner: Best Matzah Ball Recipe From the Box
Cinnamon Matzah Balls
I know what you’re thinking…this is an abomination! Deciding whether to have floaters or sinkers has been a big enough issue over the years. The solution to that is really easy enough. Sinkers? Opening the soup pot to check on the matzah balls makes them sink. Leave the lid closed for the allotted cooking time and your matzah balls will always float! But, sweet-flavored matzah balls? NO WAY!
When I first became a member of my ex-husband’s family, my mother-in-law made a separate batch of matzah balls for a holiday meal according to the package directions, removed them from the water when they were done, rubbed them with cooking oil, rolled them in cinnamon and sugar, baked them off until they dried up some, (forming somewhat of a glaze), and served them with dinner. The concept was rather strange to me but I figured that it was a family tradition and I shouldn’t turn my nose up so quickly. But, when my father-in-law actually put them in his chicken soup……well, that was it!
Twenty-some years later, I have changed the recipe slightly to be a bit healthier than the original recipe, but my family demands them for every occasion and friends constantly ask for the recipe.
Recipe – Cinnamon Matzah Balls
1. Prepare the matzah balls according to the package directions. I prefer Manischewitz brand, as it seems less salty.
2. Drain the matzah balls and allow to cool until manageable to the touch.
3. While still moist, roll the matzah balls in a bowl of a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
4. Place the coated matzah balls on a baking sheet or aluminum tin, lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until glazed and somewhat dried out.
6. May be served hot or at room temperature…in or out of your soup!
B’tayavon (Hebrew for: with a hearty appetite)
Winner: Best Traditional Matzah Ball Recipe
My Catholic friend received this recipe from a Jewish delicatessen owner many years ago. She invited my family over for dinner and the first thing she served us was delicious chicken soup with matzo balls, the last thing I thought I would eat in a Catholic home. The matzo balls were so outstanding that it replaced my Jewish grandmother’s recipe!
The Recipe – Best Traditional Matzah Ball Recipe
1. Lightly beat 2 large eggs with ¼ cup of melted butter or canola oil.
2. In separate bowl, mix 2/3 cup of matzah meal, 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Accent, a small amount of parsley and chives for color and a pinch of garlic powder. Add to eggs mixture and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. Remove chilled matzah ball mixture from the refrigerator. Wet hands and form batter into balls, approximately 1 inch in diameter.
4. Add the matzah balls to the boiling water. Cover tightly and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon.