For the party, see Matzo Ball.

Matzah balls (Yiddish: קניידלעך kneydlekh pl., singular קניידל kneydl; with numerous other transliterations) are an Ashkenazi Jewish soup dumpling made from a mixture of matzah meal, eggs, water, and a fat, such as oil, margarine, or chicken fat. Matzah balls are traditionally served in chicken soup. For some they are a staple food on Passover.

Schmaltz (chicken fat) imparts a distinctive flavor, but modern cooks now prefer vegetable oils or margarine.[5][6] The balls are dropped into a pot of salted boiling water or chicken soup. Keeping one's hands wet is vital when handling the sticky balls. The balls swell during the boiling time of approximately 20 minutes.

The texture of matzah balls may be light or dense, depending on the recipe and the skill of the cook. Matzah balls enthusiasts classify them as "floaters" or "sinkers."


Although official transliterations, done by the YIVO Institute, of Yiddish words into English exist, many transliterations are commonly performed on a nonstandard basis.[7] Alternate transliterations of the Yiddish term for matzah ball, in the singular, include: knaidl,[8] knaidel,[7] kneidl,[9] and kneidel.[7] Transliterations in the plural include: knaidels,[10] knaidlach,[11] knaidelach,[12] kneidels,[13] kneidlach,[14] kneidelach,[4] kneydls,[15] kneydels,[16] and kneydlach.[3]

Spelling bee controversy

The various transliterations of the term gave rise to minor controversy in June 2013, when it was the winning word in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Thirteen-year-old Arvind Mahankali of New York spelled it correctly in accordance with Webster's Third New International Dictionary, the official dictionary of the Bee, to become the champion.[7] However, there was controversy whether that was indeed the definitive spelling of the term, with others preferring "knaydel", "kneydel", "knadel", or "kneidel".[7]

World records

According to the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating matzah balls; he ate 78 matzah balls in 8 minutes.[17]

In 2010, the world's largest matzah ball was prepared by Chef Jon Wirtis of Shlomo and Vito’s New York Delicatessen, located in Tucson, Arizona. Wirtis created a 426 pound matzah ball for New York's Jewish Food Festival. The ingredients were 125 pounds of matzo meal, 25 pounds of schmaltz, over 1,000 eggs and 20 pounds of potato starch.[18] This broke the previous record set by Chef Anthony Sylvestri of Noah's Ark Deli to raise awareness for a charity basketball game.,[19] which weighed 267 pounds (121 kg) and was 29.2 inches (74 cm) long and was made from "1000 eggs, 80 pounds of margarine, 200 pounds of matzah meal, and 20 pounds of chicken base."[20]

See also

Food portal



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