Mushroom-Stuffed Matzah Ball Fritters
In the spirit of fried filled Italian dumplings, here are deep-fried and mushroom-stuffed matzah balls, which work beautifully as an appetizer or side dish. These are firmer and delightfully crisper than their soup-borne cousin—and literally full of flavor thanks to the classic Italian mixture of mushrooms, garlic and parsley, with tomato paste for additional depth. Made without meat, these can be served with any meal. For a dairy option, you can add some Parmesan (1½ tablespoons) or other cheese to the filling for extra flavor and creaminess—but these matzah fritters are good either way.
If you are cooking with kids, they might enjoy helping you fill and roll the balls, and you can let them forage the kitchen for something they would like to try inside the matzah dough.
Note that the filling makes just enough to fill the balls; if you don’t like cutting it that close, throw in a few extra mushrooms. Also, different brands of matzah meal and matzah cake meal vary in their consistency, so you may need to adjust the amount of water added to the dough.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini or baby portabella mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 2½ cups)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste, preferably no salt added
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons matzah cake meal
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons matzah meal, plus another ½ cup for coating
- ¼ cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon kosher-for-Passover baking powder
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup lukewarm water plus more as needed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- About 1 quart of your preferred vegetable oil for frying
- To make the filling, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a layer of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and when hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly until it turns fragrant and pale golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Quickly stir in the mushrooms and turn the heat up a notch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook stirring frequently, until the mushrooms shed their juices and excess moisture evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and parsley (and cheese, if using) until well combined and remove from heat. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
- To make the fritters, in a medium bowl, stir together the matzah cake meal, matzah meal, potato starch, salt, pepper and baking powder. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the oil and water. Gradually stir the matzah mixture into the oil mixture to form a workable dough that you can gather in a ball. It it’s too crumbly, knead in more water ½ tablespoon at a time (and if it’s too wet, add a little more matzah cake meal).
- To form the balls, take about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten it in your hand to an approximate 3-inch circle (it doesn’t have to be perfect!). Spoon in about 1 teaspoon of mushroom filling and gently enclose it, pinching the dough to seal any cracks and rolling it into a ball. Set finished ball aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- In a Dutch oven or other large deep-sided pan for frying, begin heating 1 to 1½ inches of oil to about 360 degrees.
- Meanwhile, place the beaten egg in a small bowl and ½ cup regular matzah meal (not cake meal) in another bowl. Roll each ball in the beaten egg and then the matzah meal to coat. When the oil is heated, gently drop in as many balls as will fit without crowding the pan. Fry, turning frequently, about 4 minutes until golden brown and hot all the way through. Remove to a paper towel–lined plate. Finish with remaining balls.
- Let the matzah fritters rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. If you need to hold them longer before serving, place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven. The cooked fritters can also be frozen and reheated in a 350-degree oven. Place frozen fritters on a wire rack over a baking sheet, and bake about 20 minutes.