Fish Soup with Matzo Balls by chef Eitan Vanunu. Photography: Anatoly Michaello
Fish Soup with Matzo Balls by chef Eitan Vanunu. Photography: Anatoly Michaello
Recipe

Fish Soup with Matzah Balls

Chef Eitan Vanunu revamps the standard Seder soup. Up your game with his fish soup with airy matzah balls, just like grandma used to make

Fish soup with matzah balls is an instant upgrade from your traditional chicken soup at Seder. This is a quick and easy recipe for a fresh, well seasoned soup served with classic matzah balls.

The Yiddish word “kneidel” comes from the German word “knodel” which means dumpling, usually referring to a bread or potato based boiled dumpling. Every Eastern European country has its own version. Dumplings were already popular in German, Czech and Austrian cuisine during the Middle Ages and it was through this influence that it entered into the Jewish culinary canon as well.

Dumplings are another ingenious, satisfying food of peasants and lower economic classes in general, served in soup or as a side dish with sauce. The Jewish version, kneidlach, made of crushed matzo and egg, was conceived as a Passover dish but has become a beloved and year round dish in many homes. Matzah ball soup is a traditional first course served as a first course for Seder.

Ingredients for Fish Soup with Matzah Balls

For the soup:

  • 5 onions medium, coarsely chopped
  • 5 carrots medium, coarsely chopped
  • 5 celery stalks and leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 8 each allspice
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 dried hot red peppers
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cloves whole
  • 4 teaspoons (8 grams) fennel seed
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • grated lemon peel from one lemon
  • 4 lbs 6 oz (2 kilograms) fish bones and heads cleaned completely (preferably white fish)

For the matzah balls:

  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) matzo meal
  • 2 eggs large
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt fine
  • a pinch ground black pepper
  • 1⅓ cups (330 ml) boiling water

Instructions

Prepare the soup:

  • 1. In a large pot, lightly heat the canola oil, add the vegetables, spices and lemon zest and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Add the fish bones and heads and mix vigorously for 5 minutes. Add water until the bones are covered and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Lower the heat and cook at a gentle bubble for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.

Prepare the matzah balls:

  • 2. In a bowl, mix the flour, eggs, canola oil, salt, pepper and boiling water. Cool in the refrigerator for two hours. Take out the mixture and, with slightly damp hands, form balls of the preferred size.

  • 3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and gently place the matzah balls in the water. The matzo balls are ready when they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the prepared broth.

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