Matzo Ball Ramen

September 13, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Joe Baur
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Joe was wildly incompetent in the kitchen until he started connecting with his Jewish heritage through food. That meant exploring family recipes and stories, and finding out what other Jews were whipping up in their kitchens. Exploring his Yiddishkeit through food led him to the doors of Shalom Japan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a bowl of matzo ball ramen soup, a dish he first learned about in a YIVO Institute course on Jewish food. The seamless combination of cultures is something that Joe continues to search for and experiment with in his ongoing exploration of the evolution of Jewish cuisine.

The beauty of this dish is how easy it is for amateur home cooks to experiment with. You're not messing with baking ratios, so go ahead and throw in that spice you like, make your own broth, or use your family's cherished matzo ball recipe (or just buy the mix, like my aunt—no shame). Like every soup that's ever been made, this bowl of matzo ball ramen gets better after a night or two in the fridge. Whenever you do eat it, don't forget to slurp! —Joe Baur

What You'll Need
  • Vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 cup cup olive oil
  • 3 large onions, quartered
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Eggs, Matzo Balls & Assembly
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup (125 grams) matzo meal
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter or schmaltz
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup seltzer water
  • Kosher salt
  • 300 to 400 grams dried ramen
  • Toppings, such as corn, scallions, nori, menma, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, spinach, mushrooms, narutomaki, and/or garlic-chile oil
  1. Vegetable Broth
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until softened and slightly browned.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and parsnip (you're going to reuse them later and chop them into bite-size portions, so make sure the chunks are large enough that they’re easy to pull out of the broth later on). Add the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and turmeric. Tie the dill and parsley together with kitchen twine and add to the pot along with the bay leaves. Add 12 cups of water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 90 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about one-third.
  4. When the broth is ready, transfer the celery, carrots, and parsnip to a cutting board. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard the solids. Wipe out the pot. Return the broth to the pot; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Chop the carrots, parsnip, and celery into bite-size pieces and return to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Do Ahead: The broth can be made up to 1 week ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  1. Eggs, Matzo Balls & Assembly
  2. Marinate the eggs: Bring a small pot of water to a gentle bowl over medium-high heat. Lower 2 eggs into the pot and cook for 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool for 2 minutes (you can also immediately run them under cold water). Peel the eggs.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the garlic, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, red pepper flakes, paprika, and ⅔ cup of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the marinade to a heatproof bowl. Add the eggs and let marinate for at least 1 hour. You can also cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator for later use.
  5. Do Ahead: The eggs can be marinated up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
  6. Make the matzo balls: In a medium bowl, mix the matzo meal, butter, dill, and remaining 3 eggs until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the seltzer water and continue to mix until incorporated. The mixture should look like a batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until chilled.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wet your hands and scoop out some of the chilled matzo ball mixture. Roll to the size of about a golf ball until smooth. Wet your hands quickly each time to stop the mixture from sticking to your hands. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the balls into the boiling water. (This recipe makes 7 or 8 matzo balls, and my large pot could fit them all.) Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour, until cooked through and fluffy.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and keep covered. Let the matzo balls rest for another 10 minutes.
  9. Assemble: If you're making this all at once, bring another large pot of water to a boil. Cook the ramen according to the package directions, then drain.
  10. Take about a cup or a ladle's worth of the salted matzo ball water, pour into the broth, and stir to combine. Fill a serving bowl with the broth, making sure to scoop in a good mix of veggies. Add one of the matzo balls and a handful of ramen.
  11. At this point, you can be creative with the toppings or keep it simple. I included some corn, sliced scallions, and a small sheet of nori to mirror what I remember from Shalom Japan. Cut the soy-marinated eggs in half and place on top. Sprinkle with chopped dill, season with salt, and drizzle with some garlic-chile oil or the spicy soy marinade.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gloria Rohmann
    Gloria Rohmann
  • Joe Baur
    Joe Baur
  • ck
  • brushjl

8 Reviews

ck October 22, 2022
This is a pretty crazy recipe. "Easy for amateur home cooks?" Sure, if you've got 6 burners and unlimited pots. Following the recipe carefully (and no, I didn't cook days in advance), this takes far longer than 2 and a half hours. Make the broth: over an hour plus prep. Make the matzo balls: batter sits in the fridge for an hour, then make the balls, then cook for an hour. Make the TWO?? eggs, sit in the fridge for an hour. (I did read the note on the eggs for two - yes, romantic, but not practical directions for a recipe that says it serves 6 to 8.) Got two big pots with the broth and the matzo balls going? Get out another big pot and make the noodles. Hmm. This is Thanksgiving-level cooking for a bowl of what I hope is the most terrific soup ever.
brushjl October 10, 2021
A lot of work, but kind of bland. The best part was the eggs. Next time will use chicken broth.
maggie R. September 21, 2021
i'm a little confused. You only have two marinated eggs for 6 to 8 people? I'm imagining a brawl over the eggs.
Joe B. September 21, 2021
Thanks for writing! For better or worse, I wrote this recipe with my wife and me in mind. We prepare two eggs at a time and save the rest of the soup for later, which comes out to 6-8 bowls total. If we know we'll want another egg with leftovers, we'll boil it in the morning, leave it in the marinade, so it's ready by lunch. Or we just eat the leftovers without the egg if we're feeling particularly lazy.

That said, the marinade does make enough if you do want to serve all 6-8 bowls at once and include an egg with each bowl.

Thanks, Maggie, and happy to answer any other questions! Cheers!
maggie R. September 21, 2021
i absolutely adore this romantic and practical reply. Thanks.
Joe B. September 21, 2021
Haha, my pleasure.
Gloria R. September 17, 2021
Good idea. I opened a pack of instant ramen and prepared the broth with the flavor packet. Added 2C of boxed chicken broth, 2 boneless chicken thighs. Added 6 mini matzo balls, some arugula and bean sprouts. Delicious!
Joe B. September 18, 2021
Nice! Glad it worked out!