What is Matzoh Brei?
If you are not Jewish than you probably have no idea what matzoh brei (rhymes with fry) is, which is very fair. Matzoh brei (also spelled matzo brei or matzah brei or even matzah brie, which I find odd) is, is essentially matzoh fried with eggs, or–looking at it slightly differently–scrambled eggs with matzoh.
It is often eaten during Passover, which is the Jewish holiday that requires observant Jews to stay away from any leavened breads of any kinds. The only permitted wheat product is Matzah (and matzah meal). To get the whole scoop on the fleeing and the desert and why bread is off limits click here.
How Do You Make Matzoh Brei?
First, you usually soak the matzoh in water or milk before draining it. Then the matzoh is broken up and combined with the eggs. I like to give it a very fast soak, slightly more than a dunk, and then drain it cnd break it into pieces. The sizes of the pieces don’t matter so much, but I prefer to break the matzoh into about 1-inch pieces (and there are also plenty of little chards and crumbs that end up being part of the mix), and then adding it to the beaten eggs.
Some people break up the matzoh and soak it directly in the beaten eggs, without dipping them in any other liquid first, but I like them to be a touch softened first, and also I don’t want them to absorb too much of the eggs themselves.
Ratio of Eggs to Matzoh for Matzoh Brei
The ratio of matzoh to eggs differs radically from recipe to recipe. Some people use 1 sheet of matzoh per egg, resulting in a very matzoh sense matzoh brei. I’ve eaten and made it in many ways, and I like the 2 eggs to every sheet of matzoh ratio. You can play with it and decide for yourself. The good news is that you can’t mess it up, you’ll only have varying consistencies as a result of changing up the matzoh to egg proportion.
I also add a bit of minced red onion to mine. My version is savory and in other savory versions you might find things like cabbage or sauerkraut and mushrooms, and possibly sour cream to serve. You can make a sweet version of matzoh brei by adding other ingredients like apples and honey and cinnamon, and maybe serve it with maple syrup.
How to Cook Matzoh Brei
Brei means “fry” in contemporary Yiddish, and it also means “mash” in German. Some people let the egg and matzoh mixture cook until brown on the bottom, then kind of flip it, like a pancake, or a frittata or Spanish tortilla. I just roughly scramble the mixture, not trying to make it fluffy or too consistently broken up, but like super chunky dense matzoh-studded scrambled eggs.
To stay within kosher guidelines, if there happens to be any meat as part of the meal, many people will opt for oil instead of butter. On the converse side, sometimes people will go for chicken fat (schmaltz) if that is on hand, and fits within the dietary guidelines of the meal. I’m a butter gal.
A Great Way to Use Up Leftover Matzoh
And in the end, it’s one of the tastiest and easiest ways to have a solid breakfast during Passover, not to mention using up leftover matzoh after the holiday has ended. I don’t observe the Passover holiday strictly—after the first two nights of Seder, I’m kind of off the unleavened bread bandwagon, but I always have boxes of matzoh hanging around, and everyone in my family is always very happy to see this on the breakfast table. Is it the prettiest dish you will see? Nah. But truly, yum.
More Passover Recipes:
- Chicken Marbella for Passover – You know this dish, right? If you don’t, I so envy you, trying it for the first time.
- Chicken Thighs with Onions and Green Olives – Tender and definitely hitting all those high notes of Mediterranean deliciousness.
- Beef Brisket with Wild Mushrooms – Just when you thought brisket couldn’t get more depth of flavor, along comes a slew of mushrooms.
Other Egg-Based Breakfast Recipes (Not all for Passover!):
- Migas: A madcap scramble of eggs, tortilla chips, peppers, onions and cheese is the kind of breakfast that make a whole lot of people a whole lot of happy. (This is quite like a Tex Mex or Latino version of matzoh brei, or matzoh brei is like the Jewish version of migas!)
- Shakshuka with Swiss Chard
- Swiss Chard Frittata
- Breakfast Challah, Smoked Cheddar and Sausage Bread Pudding
- Open Faced Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 sheets matzoh
- 4 large eggs
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 4 minutes, until softened.
- Meanwhile break the matzohs into pieces about 1-inch in size and place them in a bowl. Have a strainer ready. Fill the bowl with hot water so that the matzoh is covered. Let sit for 30 second, then drain the matzoh in a strainer.
- Beat the eggs in the same bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the matzoh and stir to combine. Transfer the egg and matzoh mixture to the pan with the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are as firmly cooked as you like them, breaking up the mixture (or let it cook until the bottom is firm and browned and use a spatula to flip the mixture as a single entity, then allow the scone side to brown). Transfer to a plate and serve hot.
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