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cuban matzah ball soup recipe

Cuban Chicken Soup: Jewban Penicillin

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For the matzah balls:

  • 1 cup matzah meal
  • ½ cup club soda
  • 4 eggs
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

For the soup:

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 whole allspice berry
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 medium malangas*, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of bijol powder (optional)*
  • 6 culantro leaves*
  • ½ Kabocha squash, peeled and coarsely diced
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 baby bok choy, cut into quarters, lengthwise
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch slices
  • 1 Lime, sliced


To make the matzah balls: 

  1. Combine all ingredients until just mixed, careful not to over mix.
  2. Cover the mixture, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Boil water with salt (or chicken broth). Oil hands, then make small balls (1 inch in diameter), and add them to boiling water.
  4. Cover, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  5. Transfer the matzo balls to the soup.

To make the soup: 

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium/high heat.
  2. Using a piece of cheesecloth and kitchen twine, tightly secure the 15 allspice berries and the bay leaves together in a small pouch.
  3. Place onions, carrots, chicken pieces and the spice pouch in the stock pot, and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and chicken has slightly browned, mixing frequently.
  4. Add the garlic, the malangas, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the bijol powder, the culantro, kabocha squash, salt and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces, set aside until cool to the touch, shred them, and then return to the soup.
  7. Add the bok choy and zucchini, and cook 10 more minutes, or until bok choy softens, and zucchini are cooked through.
  8. Remove the culantro leaves and the spice pouch.
  9. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Garnish with slices of lime.


Some of the ingredients may be hard to find. Here is a list of acceptable substitutions:
Malangas – yuca or potatoes
Bijol powder – saffron powder, achiote powder, or omit from recipe, as it is optional.
Cilantro leaves – 1 bundle of cilantro, secured in cheesecloth, so that it won’t dissolve into the soup and can easily be removed.

  • Author: Jennifer Stempel
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Soup
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi