Kneidlach are little dumplings made with matzah meal, usually eaten at Passover. They are normally made with chicken fat and then cooked in chicken soup, so I haven’t eaten them since I went veggie about 13 years ago. The basic recipe is pretty simple (matzah meal, fat, egg, water) so I decided to attempt to make vegetarian dumplings.
They were pretty much a disaster, but I think I’ve figured out why. Below is what I did, alongside what I think I should have done. You don’t have to make your own stock, but I find stock cubes very salty and I had the time, so I did.
For the stock:
Three garlic gloves
Two bay leaves
For the kneidlach:
1/2 cup matzah meal
1 tblsp melted butter or olive oil
1 clove garlic
I tblsp water
For the soup:
3 gloves garlic
Make the stock, by chopping the carrot and onion and sweating in a tiny bit of oil for 10 mins. Add all of the herbs/seasoning and the smashed garlic cloves. Pour over about a litre and half of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 40mins. Strain, and you’ve got stock.
For the dumplings, you really need matzah meal, which is apparently available from Waitrose, just not the Waitrose in Bath, and definitely not the Morrisons. We made our own by blitzing matzah in the blender, which sort-of worked. I think the bits (which were about the size of oats) were too big, and soaked up too much liquid. Beat the egg, and add the water and oil or butter, and the crushed garlic glove. Add about 1/2-3/4 cup matzah meal, and mix thoroughly. Leave the mix to stand for about half an hour, and then form into balls. About ping-pong ball size will work, but the mix should be very sticky – mine was dry which I think is why they disintegrated in the stock. Drop them into boiling stock, and cook gently for about 15-20mins.
For the soup: cut crosses in the bottom of the tomatoes, and drop into boiling water and then iced water. Peel. (This is optional, but means no skin in the soup.) Roughly chop the peeled tomatoes, and pop them in a pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil, the herbs and crushed garlic, and god slug of red wine. Bring to the boil too cook off the alcohol, and then simmer. Blend, and add enough stock to make it the consistency you want. Scoop the dumplings out of the stock with a slotted spoon, and serve the soup with two or three dumplings per person.
My dumplings disintegrated in the stock and looked like frogspawn (hence no photo!) but still tasted good…