I’ve had a number of friends come calling recently with questions about how to make light and fluffy matzah balls for chicken soup: a pretty important tool in a Jewish cook’s arsenal. I love making matzah balls, and I actually believe that it’s my Italian heritage that is the secret to my fluffy matzah balls. How so? I believe its all in the rolling technique, and I roll my matzah balls the same way I roll my meatballs.
I know there a lot of people who believe the secret to light matzah balls is seltzer, and I can say, this is not a bad way to go. But I advocate for a few simple steps to ensure the matzah balls of your dreams:
1) Cold water: Keep a bowl of cold water nearby as you prepare to roll your balls. In between rolling each ball, dip your hands in the water to keep your hands pliable and clear from getting sticky with matzo meal.
2) Chicken fat, not just for your bubbe: for me, chicken fat (or duck fat) is an essential kitchen item and I assure you, a little goes a long way. Whatever matzo ball recipe you use, substitute half the oil for chicken fat, and I am sure you will be delighted by the results.
3) The roll: How can I put this, um, delicately – balls should be handled with care and attention. When rolling the balls, please don’t pack down the suckers, or aggressively roll them together. Very lightly roll them in the palm of your hands until they are well formed into a ball and then leave them. A nice delicate touch goes a long way.