Dinner in 20 minutes Metroplus

Lessons in humility

The authentic Matzah or Matzo balls are made with Matzah meal (made using unleavened bread, eggs and chicken stock), and soaked in a thin, light soup.  

Ever tried Jewish cuisine that reeks of Italian elements, tasting like something familiar, but far more delicious? We couldn’t think of a better description for our Vegan Matzo balls bathed in a rustic Italian soup. The authentic Matzah or Matzo balls are made with Matzah meal (made using unleavened bread, eggs and chicken stock), and soaked in a thin, light soup.

This is traditionally eaten during the Passover break by Jews, and is imbued with layers of religious and philosophical meaning. One, which particularly stands out, is the idea that unleavened bread redeems you and rescues you from the bane of swelling pride, represented by rising or puffed bread. Our version of the Matzo balls has no such profound basis, but was inspired by our pleasurable interactions with Jewish friends, and we can only hope our attempt reminds us of lessons in humility.

The main ingredient we use for the ball is tofu, which is rather Asian and lends itself to being rolled into well-rounded balls. We use salt biscuits, shredded carrots and dill leaves to form the texture and heighten the flavour. To offset the Eastern emphasis, we decide to make a rustic Italian soup much like the minestrone, bursting with celery pesto, light tones of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. The results are stunning, and with the healthy mix of beans we added to the soup, we get mouthfuls of healthy Matzo balls drowned in an effervescent soup.

This version of the soup is not just vegetarian, but vegan. As we take in wholesome mouthfuls, we give our thanks, for the sheer variety of food this world has and the limitless boundaries for re-imagining them.

Vegan matzo balls in a rustic Italian soup

Serves 5-6

Ingredients for soup:

Boiled mixed lentils (red kidney, lobia, chickpeas) – 1 cup

Carrots coarsely chopped – 1 cup

Onion slices – 1 cup

Celery – 2 stalks finely chopped

Celery leaves – 1 small bunch

Garlic – 2 cloves

Celery pesto – 2 tbsp (recipe below)

Olive oil – 4 tbsp

Freshly ground pepper – 2 tsp

Salt – to taste

Water – 4 – 5 cups

Ingredients for vegan matzo ball:

Cotton tofu – 200 gm

Salt biscuits / cream cracker biscuits – 4-5

Grated carrot – 1 big

Freshly ground whole pepper – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Dill leaves finely chopped – 2 tbsp

Method — Soup:

1 Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Once they turn translucent, add vegetables, boiled lentils, celery pesto, pepper and salt and sauté.

2 Add water and let it boil till the vegetables are tender.

3 Check for salt and garnish with fresh chopped dill leaves.

Method —

Vegan matzo balls:

1 Crumble the tofu to a fine mash. Powder the cream cracker biscuits and add it to the tofu mash.

2 Add the grated carrots, dill leaves, pepper powder, salt to the mixture.

3 Make small balls the size of a lemon and flatten the balls between your palms to make small patties.

4 Shallow fry these patties on a skillet using olive oil until they turn golden brown on both sides.


Pour the hot soup into a shallow bowl. 

Place the vegan matzo balls in the centre of the soup and garnish with fresh dill leaves. Drizzle a spoon of olive oil on the soup before serving.

The consistency of the soup is very watery.

The importance is given to the flavour and the various textures you experience when you bite into the vegetables and beans. Enjoy this rustic Italian soup with a nice whole wheat bread or garlic toast!

Celery Pesto

Ingredients: Celery leaves – 2 cups, garlic – 2-3 cloves, Salt – 1 tsp, freshly ground whole pepper – 1 tsp, olive oil – 2 tbsp


1 Steam the celery leaves for 2 minutes till it turns a rich green. Set aside to cool.

2 In a blender, add the other contents mentioned under ingredients along with the steamed celery leaves.

3 Grind to a fine paste and store in the refrigerator/ freezer in an airtight container.

While we didn’t add pistachios or walnuts to the pesto, feel free to add some if you wish. Add a spoonful of this while making a white/béchamel sauce for pasta to create that extra zing!

Preeti Mohan is a lawyer and writes on food, the arts and culture. Rakesh Raghunathan is a food entrepreneur, photographer and hosts his own cookery show on tv. They blog together on Puliyogare Travels facebook.com/Puliyogaretravel

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 6:18:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/a-vegan-version-of-matzo-balls-a-jewish-passover-favourite/article6990351.ece

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