The Right Way to Make Passover Matzo Ball Soup
Here is my considered judgment: No Jewish dish—not one—is as comforting or iconic as the matzo ball.
With neither the heat of spicy Szechuan dumplings nor the delicacy of Italian gnocchi, there is no ambrosia quite like matzo balls, floating in homemade chicken broth, when you are sick or celebrating a Jewish holiday.
Matzo balls began as the German Knödel, a bready dumpling. Jewish cooks in the Middle Ages first adapted the dumplings to add to Sabbath soups, using broken matzo with some kind of fat like chicken or beef marrow, eggs, onions, ginger, and nutmeg. As Jews moved eastward from Germanic lands to Poland and the Pale of Settlement in Russia, they brought kneidlach (Yiddish for Knödel) with them. In Lithuania, kneidlach were filled with special bonuses like cinnamon or meat for the Sabbath. Though kneidlach arrived in America under different guises, the B. Manischewitz Company started packaging ground matzo meal like bread crumbs and marketed the dumplings in a box as “feather balls Alsatian style” in their Tempting Kosher Dishes cookbook of 1933.