This past weekend was Passover and I spent some of the time with my “chosen” (see what I did there) family at Vegan Seder. I learned a lot of things about parsley and salty tears, plagues, parting the sea and being pardoned by the angel of death. I might have missed a few things, but to be fair we went through like 200 pages of content in about 30 minutes. My greatest achievement for the evening however was mastering a vegan matzoh ball.
Now if you are like me you are probably thinking, hm that won’t be too hard to make. I’ll just throw one of the gajillion binder-type egg replacers in there. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, your matzohs could just disintegrate as soon as you put them in the pot.
Guess there is something to that whole “egg congealing as it cooks” thing that upholds the structural integrity of matzoh.
I used flax. Nope. My friend used aquafaba. Double nope.
Luckily with some fast thinking, I figured out a vegan life hack that will keep your matzoh in tact.
Here’s what I did:
Vegan Matzoh Balls
Makes about 30 Tablespoonish-sized matzoh balls
- 10 oz (about 2 cups) Matzoh meal (my understanding is that this is crushed matzoh and some spices)
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 ¼ c water
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour
Mix everything but the chickpea flour in a medium mixing bowl. Let set in the fridge for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, get a big pot of water boiling. Remove and use a tablespoon to scoop out batter and form into balls with hands. Spread out the chickpea flour on a small plate. Coat each of the balls in chickpea flour. Place half the balls in a colander and submerge into the boiling water to cook. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until the balls are no longer mealy inside.
Cool slightly and serve.
Yep, I don’t know what magic resides in chickpea flour, but it has an interesting congealing property much like polenta when mixed with water and fried. I’ve actually made chickpea “omelets” a number of times (can talk about that some other time). Surprisingly enough, coating the balls in the chickpea flour was enough to let the ball hold it’s shape (for the most part—there will always be come crumbs that slip through the cracks) long enough to cook thoroughly.
If the secret ingredient is chickpea magic, maybe you are wondering why the aquafaba didn’t work. I’m not a scientist and am a tiny bit stumped on this, but my understanding is that aquafaba traps air and provides structure as it dries out via baking. Since you are boiling here, it is not drying out, so can’t do its thing. Chickpea flour just needs water and heat to do congeal, apparently, and by coating the balls you are trapping all those yummy unleavened crumbs in a tiny shell for cooking. If anyone gets this food science (missed opportunity when I didn’t major in this in college after one class) I’d love to hear it. For now I am satisfied with the fact that something works without the “why??”!