1/4 cup melted chicken fat or vegetable oil
4 scallions, white and half the green part, thinly sliced
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, finely chopped (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
1 envelope matzo ball mix, such as Manischewitz
1/2 cup matzo meal
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder (see Notes)
2 tablespoons club soda, chicken broth, or water
From Judy Bart Kancigor
Neither of my daughters-in-law ever liked matzo balls until I came up with this recipe. I doctored up plain old matzo ball mix—and a fine product it is!—with shiitake mushrooms and scallions for a shtetl favorite with an Asian twist. (Not surprising. Jews have had a long love affair with Chinese food!) Go ahead and double or even triple the recipe (and you may have to!), but be careful not to crowd the pot when you are cooking them.
- Heat the chicken fat in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Combine the matzo ball mix with the matzo meal in a medium-size bowl. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the mushroom mixture (with the oil), parsley, salt, white pepper, and baking powder. Add the club soda and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it.
- Form the mixture into balls that are a little larger than a marble, wetting your hands if necessary to keep them from sticking. Drop the balls into the boiling water and cook, covered, at a slow, steady boil (not a hard boil) until tender, about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the balls).
- Carefully remove the matzo balls with a slotted spoon, and serve in soup.
For Passover use kosher-for-Passover baking powder, or if unavailable, it may be omitted.
You will find that after cooking these matzo balls, the cooking liquid is so flavorful, it is almost a soup in itself, particularly if you have used chicken fat. I use this broth instead of water in soups and stews and for cooking rice.
Alternate serving suggestion: Allow the matzo balls to cool somewhat. Cut into bite-size pieces to be eaten by hand. Offer several whole for throwing. Serve my mother’s Chicken Soup, lukewarm on the side in a sippy cup.