Just because I’m a Jewish chef doesn’t mean I was born with a natural talent for matzo balls. Early on in my career, I was hired to cater an upscale Passover meal, and I put foie gras matzo balls on the menu. I cooked hundreds of dollars’ worth of foie gras, using the rendered fat in the matzo ball mix and then stuffing each ball with a little nugget of the liver. The matzo balls fell apart and ended up in the garbage can.
There are a lot of theories on how to produce fluffy matzo balls, from folding in whipped egg whites to lightening the mix with seltzer. For my money, a little bit of baking powder does the trick nicely. Matzo balls are comfort food, and there is something warm and comforting about black garlic. Like soy sauce, its fermented taste both elevates and deepens the broth. Like tamarind, it has a rich sweetness balanced by enough acidity to keep it in the savory realm. Fortified with the black garlic, this soup is how I always imagine Passover in Southeast Asia would taste.
From Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, ©2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Combine the eggs and schmaltz in a medium bowl and stir until blended. Add the matzo meal, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix well. Using wet hands, tear off golf ball-size pieces of the dough and shape into rounds.
Bring a lightly salted pot of water to a boil and cook the matzo balls for 30 minutes, or until cooked through (cut one open to be sure).