Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Passover Cooking, Do You Matzah Brei?

Since I've been living on a low carbohydrate diet for the past couple of years, about two and a half years already, I don't eat much matzah brei.  It's not the end of the world.  If I have to choose between matzah brei and weighing 15 kilo or 30 plus pounds more, there's no real choice.  I don't want that weight back.

My kids don't consider it Passover without my matzah brei, or more correctly, my version of their savta's matzah brei.  My late mother-in-law served a version of matzah brei which should be a great "snack" in a training camp for sumo wrestlers.

I posted the recipe and a description of how I make my own very traditional matzah brei a couple of years ago.  Here's the link.

And for those of you who hate "clicking links," I'm recopying the recipes and I'll be posting this on Real Food Holidays Blog Carnival – Passover 2011. Check it out!

Here are the recipes, slightly edited from the previous posting:
Standard matzah brei is like a "French Toast" using matzah.
  • You soak broken matzah in eggs with some milk. The milk is optional, so those lactose intolerant can eat it.
  • Then you fry the mush in a frying pan, using either Passover margarine or olive oil (or butter) until fully cooked,
  • then turn over to crisp the other side.
It comes out really thick when I make it, so I use a cover. Start on a high flame and quickly lower it. You'll see a "cooked dry texture" on top, then you'll know to turn it over. It is usually served with honey or jam, but you can use sour cream, nothing or whatever you want.

Savta Brei is different. You still need the big frying pan and oil. On Passover I use olive oil or special Passover margarine, but any margarine will do.
You have to grate (I use a blender) potatoes and onions, like for potato latkes, the fried potato pancakes served on Chanukah.
  • Use two potatoes per onion and an egg, can be doubled, tripled etc.
  • Either hand-grate, or shred in food processor or blend.
  • Add some salt, pepper and enough matzah meal, so it's not watery; it has to "stick."
The "mush" is used to "coat" the matzah before frying.

  • Heat the oil or margarine in the frying pan.
  • Break off a piece of the matzah and coat one side with the mush
  • put mush side down, and coat the other (not too thick)
  • when cooked side cooked, turn over to cook the other
  • have paper towels waiting on plate to absorb extra oil
  • when second side is cooked, place on towel
Serve with apple sauce or sour cream or plain yogurt.


Tzivia said...

Never heard of that latke-brei combination before! We don't eat gebrochts, but DO go through a lot of matzah during the year... so, some years, Pesach has been our family's time AWAY from matzah brei! My mother's family for some reason called it "matzah BRA" like the undergarment. I refused to call it that, under any circumstances!

Tzivia said...

p.s. My father's mother never made matzah brei, but made a "treat" called "bubbeleh" - basically a bit fat eggy matzah-meal pancake. It's really quite awful, but nice enough if you're starved for gluten... we sometimes eat it on the last day.

Batya said...

Jennifer, great stories.
I guess you eat dry matza ahd lots of potatoes.

Risa Tzohar said...

I bet that Savta Brei tastes good. But what a patchke!
In my family, it was my father who made the matza brei. My mother was very happy to leave it to him! (Besides hamburgers, that is the only thing I remember him cooking.)
Thank heavens we eat gebrochts.

Hadassa said...

My husband sometimes puts onions in his matza brie (and black pepper on it), and we all like our matza brie thick around here. If it's not going to be thick, you might as well eat a plain matza. Sephardim seem to have more non-sweet matza brie type recipes than the Ashkenazim.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

the latke mixture sounds delicious, but also a lot of work! I will be happy to visit you while *you* make it. :) (as I tell my sister, a gourmet cook, when she shares recipes.)

I usually go with the "standard" matza brie, but omit the milk, using just water, even though we usually serve it as a breakfast food. maybe this time I'll try it with milk.

in any event, a word about Pesach margarine - if you can't have kitniyot (and we can't, we're both Ashkenazim) then the only margarine without kitniyot is made of palm oil - which is an extremely saturated oil, very dangerous to your health. so for Pesach we don't use it at all. if I fry, I use olive oil. as a spread, we use avocado or low-fat white cheese.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

also while on the topic of Pesach recipes - here is one that I read in the Jerusalem Post about 30 years ago. it's very versatile - sort of like Pesach blintzes but you can make them with any kind of filling.

1. dip matzas in warm water; don't soak, just get them wet all over. you can even do this under the faucet. remove matzas from water and set them in a stack on a plate. cover the stack with a paper towel and let stand for a while (I forget if it takes 10, 20, or 30 min) until the water soaks in and the matzas are soft and flexible.

2. divide each matza into 3-4 strips along the "dotted lines".

3. set down a strip and spread a filling along the whole strip except for the last inch at the end. you can use: white cheese or cream cheese with sugar and cinnamon, like blintzes; white cheese with a savory seasoning instead of sweet; grated yellow cheese; tomato sauce and grated yellow cheese with pizza seasonings; tuna; or anything else you can think of.

4. roll up the strip like a jelly roll, started with the filled end. the empty last inch will be on the outside.

5. dip each roll in beaten eggs and fry on both sides till eggs on outside are cooked.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

in that last post, in step 3 I meant "white cheese or cottage cheese". and in step 4 that was supposed to be "starting" not "started". I tried to click "edit" and it went to "publish" instead.

Ed Greenberg said...

Here's a link to my father's Matzoh Brei recipe, which is how I make it too:


I remember bubbelas, but they don't seem fat and eggy to me. In my family, they were matzoh meal pancakes where the egg yolks and matzoh meal were folded into egg whites beaten stiff. It made about a 1/2 inch thick light fluffy pancake.

I could not live without gebrokts.

Batya said...

Risa, my father's cooking was limited to some sort of salmon "pancake" made with canned salmon, and the U.S. male barbeque.

Hadassa, my classic matza brei could keep an army, or some Bnai Akiva hikers going for days. Yes, very thick, folded over with jam or honey spread between the slices.

Leah, it's quite a ceremony. When will you be here?

I wonder if that blintz recipe isn't from the series/articles I had contributed to.

Ed, thanks for the recipe link.

And re gebrokts. Many years ago, over 4 decades at Stern College, I was a student of Rabbi David J Bleich who did his best to explain to us what it was all about. He made sense, by explaining how the custom makes no sense. As I remember, it's based on the premise that there's a problem with the matzah not being mixed or baked well.

Hadassa said...

Batya, this is what Rav Katz of Kosharot told us about "gebrokts" not making sense:
If the matza is prepared and baked properly then it is not hametz, and cannot become hametz. If the matza has not been prepared and baked properly then it is already hametz, without the addition of anything else. The belief that matza that has not been prepared and baked properly is not hametz but will become hametz when it comes into contact with liquid is erroneous.
A much more logical approach to the possibility that matza prepared for Pesah is, G-d forbid, hametz is the custom of some hassidishe groups to eat matza only when required for lehem mishne, on the days of Hag and Shabbat.
Hag kasher v'sameah! Have a kosher and happy Passover!
P.S. I had the greatest pizza on matza crust on in Jerusalem about 20 years ago. The matzot had been soaked in something in a method I haven't been able to duplicate that allowed them to bond into a proper crust. I make sort of a matza brie pizza in a frying pan as a substitute.

Batya said...

Hadassa, your explaination sounds like it's based on the same reasoning. Of course I'm trusting a memory longer than you've... been around.
Some people like to make things more difficult, but the Torah tells us neither to add nor subtract from mitzvot.

Ruth said...

Out family "bubbelehs" (aka matzoh latkes) are very thin, almost like little blinzes. An egg, water, matzoh meal, salt and pepper. Mix well, heat oil until very hot then drop in spoonfuls of the mixture. When done on one side, flip over and do the other.

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

Ed - I'm used to matza brei that is more like scrambled eggs than pancakes; but also doesn't have large amounts of eggs. one egg for every 1-2 matzas

Batya - the article was in the Jerusalem Post around 1980

Batya said...

Ruth, my daughter makes something similar for the kids, who spread sweet stuff on them and roll them up like a jelly roll and eat it all.

Leah, I remember those articles.

Anonymous said...

I stand up for the proposition that ever since 1948, words such as "we can't because we're ashkenazim" should be abolished.

family traditions are fine. elevating to the level of "rules" offers us the same probable fate as the Essenes.

I comprehend that Beit Shlishi still maintains a separate ashken and a sephar "Chief Rabbi". Well, that's a mistake which ought to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

-- US Navy Officer of Hebrew

Lorri M. said...

Yummy sounding on the Savta Brei.

Batya said...

It is.