Sinkers or Floaters… A Matzah Ball Soup Challenge!

Matzah ball soup

Sinker and Floater Matzah Balls together.

As with all great cooking adventures you just can’t make one recipe of anything. Matzo Balls may seem simple but like a fine ballerina that make dancing look easy, a perfectly weighted and flavored matzah ball can be heaven. From selecting which classic brand of of Matzo meal to use or how to making a rich broth, each component makes for one of the best all time favorite comfort foods. Hard to imagine a good Jewish deli or attending a Passover Seder without a delish bowl of matzah ball soup. Here I have included three different tried and true recipes along with some of the ingredient and technique tips I discovered.

The big personal distinction in Matzah Ball soups seems to be what type of Matzah ball one prefers, light and fluffy floaters or satisfying and chewy sinkers. Broadway Panhandler in New York City had invited me to do a demonstration of making Matza Ball Soup in earthenware Chicken Pot from Colombia and it offered a great opportunity to have a large group express which type of Matzah balls was their favorite. I made two different types of Matzah balls for each public judge to try, all served in the same homemade Chicken broth (except for the vegetarian matzo balls). It was a very close between Nathalie’s Floaters and Rich’s Sinkers… out of 70 judges the winner by 4 votes was the floaters. So it was close to a tie and I recommend doing both types of matzah balls to do your own taste test, since both types are marvelous. This is also a very fun project for children too. I included a recipe for vegetarian Matzah balls, which is really satisfying option in a vegetable broth.

Nathalie’s Floating Matzo Balls

Type: Floaters

Flavor: Parsley, Onion powder

Lightening agent: Seltzer

Matzoh Brand: Streits


4 eggs, beaten

¼ cup chicken fat

¼ cup Seltzer

1 Tbl chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 cup matzo meal

Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll into eight or nine 2″ tight balls and drop into boiling UNsalted water and cook for 45 minutes. Simmer in chicken soup before serving.

Rich’s Flavorful Matzo Balls

Special thanks to Rich for sharing his Matzo Ball making tips and recipe. He has perfected some of the most tasty Matzo Balls I have ever enjoyed!

Type: Sinkers

Flavor: Parsley, Onion powder, Chicken Stock

Matzoh Brand: Streits


4 eggs, beaten

¼ cup chicken fat

¼ cup Chicken Broth

1 Tbl chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 cup matzo meal

Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll into eight or nine 2″ tight balls and drop into boiling UNsalted water and cook for 45 minutes. Simmer in chicken soup before serving.

Vegetarian Matzo Balls

Type: Sinkers

Flavor: Dill, Onion

Matzoh Brand: Manischewitz


4 eggs, beaten

¼ cup Olive Oil

¼ cup Vegetarian Broth (vegeta)

1 Tbl chopped fresh dill

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 T minced onion

1 cup matzo meal

Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll into eight or nine 2″ tight balls and drop into boiling UNsalted water and cook for 45 minutes. Simmer in chicken soup before serving.

I did try the recipe found on the web for the classic Second Ave Matzah Ball Soup and I found all three of the above recipes far superior.


1. Rendered your own Chicken fat. I collected fat from chickens I prepared by saving the scraps in the freezer just to use for this purpose. It is a hard to beat flavor enhancer.

2. Make the chicken broth from scratch and you will have a world class Matzah Ball experience.

3. Use the freshest Matzah meal you can find. I like buying my Matzah in Jewish neighborhoods delis in Brooklyn right particularly around Passover and freezing a couple of extra boxes.

A cute Matzah Video about 20 things to do with Matzah Bread after Passover… I suggest a 21st thing to do… grind fine or coarse and make some Matzah Balls!

A post-Passover musical greeting!
Song composed by William Levin
Lyrics by William Levin and Michelle Citrin
Performed by Michelle Citrin and William Levin.

Ajiaco Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup

Ajiaco Soup in a Traditional La Chamba Chicken pot

Ajiaco soup made in a Chamba clay pot

Columbians love soups, every region with its various natural resources has a unique comfort food type of soup. Ajiaco is a delicious classic you would find in the country’s capital city Bogota. It is very simple to make, wonderfully addictive but requires at least one special ingredient to separate it out from most chicken and potato soups, it the herb Guascas. A delightful kind of citrus herb, that grows like a weed, and is sometime called the Valient Soldier!  You can buy it online* or if you are in a Columbian neighborhood any where in the world ask for it in the local stores and delis. They will usually have it.  I also recommend using all the garnishes when serving your soup. The capers, cilantro and cream really offer a fabulous taste treat.

In this picture the Ajiaco is served with the garnishes, rice and some Farmers Cheese Fritters. A very filling meal.

Ajiaco Chicken, Potato, Corn traditional Colombian Soup

2 chicken breasts and 3 large legs – skin removed

3 large cloves of garlic chopped

1 large onion chopped

3 -4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

12 sm yellow potatoes – I like the finger potoatos

3 medium yukon gold cut up in one inch cubes

8 small red potatoes cut in half

Chopped bunch of cilantro plus 1/4 cup of leaves for garnish

8 T of dried Guascas

2 T of salt

1 T of Pepper

3 Ears of Corn cut in wheels

10 Cups of a Chicken Broth.

1 Cup of Sour Cream or Mexican Crema if available.

1 Avocado Sliced

1 cut up lime

1/8 cup of capers

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. A classic La Chamba, Colombian clay pot would be idea but any dutch oven or large soup pot will work. Saute the chopped onion and garlic until golden. Remove the onions and save to the side. Next saute and cook the in the same oil/liquid as the onions.  When cooked through re add the cooked onion mixture, chicken broth, spices and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 mins. Add the cut up potatoes simmer for about 40 min. Add in the wheels of corn. Colombian corn would be added earlier since the traditional corn from this are for this dish would have larger slightly tougher kennels than the tender yellow typically found in the US. Cook the corn in the broth for about 12 – 15 min.

Serve the soup with bowls of the condiments, capers, sour cream, cilantro leaves and the sliced avocado.

Bowl of Ajiaco Columbian Soup in a clay bowl from Colombia


* Online Source for Guascas   cool website for all kinds of special ingredients.

Here is a classic bowl of Ajiaco I was served in Bogota, Colombia. It looks way different than the way I make Ajiaco, more potato and less brothy. Another highly recommended way to make ajiaco. Ajiaco is often served in a clay Chamba bowl. This bowl design originated over 2000 years ago and still being produced in the same region.

Classic Ajiaco served in Bogota, Colombia

Cold Avocado Vichyssoise Potato Soup or Sopa de Aguacate y Papas – Recipe

Cold Avocado Potatoe Soup

Refreshing Cool Avocado Potatoe Soup with a latin twist to a classic Vichyssoise. Paried with Cheese Olive Crackers.

Cold Avocado Vichyssoise Potato Soup 3 large leeks3 T of butter or olive oil1 small chopped onion4 C vegetable broth1 lb of potatoes2 ripe avocados1 T White Pepper

2 T Fresh or 1 t of dried chives

  Saute leeks in butter blackware cookware 
Clean well and slice 3 large leeks, including a little way up the green. Chop the onion. Saute the leeks and onion until soft and transparent. 15 to 20 min. This will be blended later so they do not need to be chopped too fine.  Add 4 cups of quality vegetable or chicken stock. I prefer vegetable broth since it brings in other subtle vegetable flavors such as celery and carrots. Heat over a low to medium heat source.
Peal potatoes and chop into smallish pieces. I prefer red potatoes for their buttery flavor but use a potato of your choice. Potatoes such as purple potatoes are an interesting choice but can affect the end color of the soup. Each type of potato adds a nice flavor variety. Cook potatoes in broth until tender 15 to 20 min. Cool slightly.  Add 1 T of white pepper (black in a pinch) and chives. Season to taste.

Take warm potato mixture and blend until smooth. Warm the milk to somewhat match the temperature of the potato mixture. Add milk to the mixture and blend again. Chill the potato mixture until cold. Avocados will develop a bitter flavor if you add them to the hot or warm mixture. Cut and blend in the avocados to the potato mixture, chill for a couple of hours or better overnight.

Chill clay soup bowls – Ideal for keeping the soup nicely cool. Garnish with fresh chives and piece of avocado and accompany with a spicy cracker…  

Olive Cheese Cracker recipe

1 C whole wheat flour½ C sliced green olives4 T soften butter½ C graded sharp cheddar cheese1/4 t Cayenne PepperPre heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together all ingredients. Spray non stick or grease cookie sheet.  Put a spoonful of batter on sheet, flatten batter with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 min. Will look oily when you are removing from sheet with a spatula. Harden slightly as they cool. Good chewy texture with for pairing with the Avocado Potato Soup.


Please share your favorite recipes and experience cooking with clay cookware from around the world.