Sunday, November 3, 2019

Recipe: Fried Matzah and/or Matzah Brei, the Chicago way.

Most people don't know this dish even exists. And just to be clear, for any food snobs, don’t pronounce this “bree” as in brie cheese; it’s not nearly that sophisticated. It’s pronounced “bry” as in “bribe” or, more relevantly, “fry.”

Matzah Brei, in Hebrew and in Yiddish, literally means “fried matzah” (var. matzoh, matzah or matzo).

The development of Fried Matzah, in which crumbled pieces of matzah and beaten egg is combined before cooking, is attributed to the influence of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to New York and Chicago. The introduction of the first matzah–baking machine in 1857, produced slightly thicker and flakier matzah than those made by hand. It is the ideal type of matzah to use for this dish.
Fried Matzah is scrambled in the pan.
Matzah Brei as a fried matzah-and-egg dish originated in North America. Egg-based recipes began to be published in early Jewish-American cookbooks, including Aunt Babette's (1889 edition) and The Settlement Cook Book (1901). These early recipes called for whole matzahs or large, broken pieces of matzah to be dipped in beaten egg and then fried (like today's French toast). 
Matzah Brei is baked and served pancake-style.
Decide which style of this recipe you wish to serve:
    Fried Matzah or Matzah Brei

Ingredients for one or two servings:
    3 matzah sheets (for each additional matzah sheet - ADD one egg)
    4 large eggs 
    Salt - to taste
    White Pepper - to taste
    Oil / Butter / Chicken schmaltz (you choose)
    Example: (Serves 4 people - use 6 matzah and 7 eggs)

Fried Matzah Directions:
    1) Wet both sides of the matzah sheets completely, under the running faucet.
    2) Pat the excess water from the wet matzah (lay flat on a kitchen towel or paper towel).
    3) beat eggs.
    4) break up the matzah sheets into medium-sized pieces.
    5) combine matzah and eggs in a bowl and stir lightly to coat all the matzah.
    6) In a frying pan, coat lightly with oil.
    7) Pour the mixture into a hot frying pan on medium heat.
    8) Fry and gently stir until the eggs are not runny any longer (soft) or to the desired
        consistency.

Matzah Brei Directions:
    1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2) Follow above directions #1 to #5.
    3) Pour the mixture into buttered glass bakeware, size depending upon serving size.
    4) Bake uncovered for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

Traditional: Serve with grape jelly (or your choice of jam, jelly or preserves)

Variation: Serve with Sour Cream or Apple Sauce or both
Variation: Serve with Honey
Variation: Serve with natural Maple Syrup
Variation: Use Onion Matzah or Egg Matzah
Variation: Add onions
Variation: Add Apples & Cinnamon
Variation: Add Nuts

Recipe by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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