How Can Ben Miller, Registered Jew, Not Have Heard Of Matzoh Brei?

By Spencer Ackerman

I’m stunned! Ben Miller is the IFA’s most knowledgeable foodie and one of its Jewwiest Jews, and he doesn’t know what to eat for breakfast on Passover! That sound you hear is me tearing my garment.

Matzoh brei, my Hebrew, matzoh brei. It’s unleavened french toast. Crumble some matzohs in beaten eggs and let soak. Salt and pepper it. Fry in butter in the morning. Jesus! I spent last night with fellow IFA’er Ben Adler at the Yanks-O’s game, and I’m currently at a Busboys & Poets writing a story while eating a crabcake sandwich and right now you are a worse Jew than I am.


17 responses to “How Can Ben Miller, Registered Jew, Not Have Heard Of Matzoh Brei?

  1. kasha varnishka

    “that sound you hear is me tearing my garment…”

    or…. on the ifa….”tearing one’s kishkas!!!”

    kishka ~ eastern european sausage made of intestine, grain stuffing and animal blood.
    cuisine that is not for the fainthearted… kishka, chopped liver, gefilte fish, pickled herring….oy.

  2. this is truly a stunning development. Even jews like me who aren’t even going to a Seder (I am even making homemade pizza tonight!) are well acquainted with Matzah Brei.

  3. In Ben’s defense, he was talking about “weekday” breakfasts less work-intensive than scrambling an egg. Matzoh brei, while delicious, doesn’t really suit that criterion.

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  5. Can someone help me out here? My wife thinks you’re supposed to soak the matzoh in water before you cook it as to make is softer. Has anyone else heard of that for matzoh brei? This is a serious riff in our relationship. Please. Any help would be appreciated.

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  7. @Mark I soaked it once, it got nasty. But then again, I’m not a big Matzo Brei fan anyway.

  8. What Dara said, although I’m quite enjoying the Jew vs. Jew vs. Jew battle here. I want to see a scoreboard.

    @Spencer: A crabcake sandwich?? You’ve broken two rules of kashrut right there. I’m telling on you! (But G-d sees all.)

    @Mark: Yes, you soak it first.

  9. What do you mean “Yes, you soak it first.”? I need a recipe. I need a source. I need a history/origin of matzoh brei here. This is a serious issue.

  10. I’m with Andrea. You soak it first.

    This is what I’m talkin’ about. Brei wars!

  11. You don’t really want to soak it in water first. What you want to do is pour boiling water over it (into the sink; not onto your hands). That softens the matzah pretty much instantly, so it absorbs the milk/egg/salt/pepper mixture more quickly.

  12. Breakfast is the worst meal during Passover, no question about that.

    But if you have time to cook a hot breakfast, I prefer pancakes made with matzo meal to matzo brei.

    1/2 cup matzo meal
    a little salt and sugar
    3/4 cup milk
    1-2 Tbsp oil

    Stir and let stand for 5-10 minutes, because it will thicken up. Cook like you would cook regular pancakes and eat with syrup, jam, yogurt, sour cream, applesauce, whatever. I always eat them with maple syrup.

  13. Sorry, forgot to mention two beaten eggs in the pancake recipe! Don’t try to make them with no eggs…

  14. Serious Matzo brei recipe, from someone whose friends demand a matzo brei brunch every year:

    For each serving, you’ll need 2 1/2 “boards” of matzoh and one egg. Multiply by the number of servings desired. You’ll also need cooking fat (more about that later), salt and pepper, and yes, boiling water.

    Break the matzos into a mixing bowl, into pieces about 1 or 2″ square. Pour boiling water over them, enough to come about halfway up the matzo pieces, and cover the bowl. Allow to steam for a few minutes, stir, and cover again for another few minutes. At this point the matzo pieces should no longer be crisp and the water should all be absorbed. If not, drain off any excess, allow to cool slightly and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.

    In a large frying pan or skillet, heat a generous tablespoon of cooking fat. The traditional choice was Rokeach onion-flavored Nyafat (a kosher, pareve shortening) but it’s not made any more. In it’s absence, I suggest adding a couple of tablespoons of pureed sweet onion to the matzo mixture and using any kind of vegetable oil or solid shortening. I don’t use butter, partly because it’s not the flavor I’m trying to achieve, and partly because foods cooked in oil or shortening come out crisper (because they tolerate higher cooking temperatures than butter).

    Add enough of the matzo mixture to cover about 3/4 of the pan, and allow to cook until the bottom is crispy and browned. Then break it up with a fork or spoon, stir and allow the other surfaces to get browned, more or less. It’s done when you have a nice mixture of soft-and savory pieces and crispy browned pieces. Serve and eat immediately !

  15. Sorry, forgot to mention “repeat with remaining matzo mixture” – but you knew that anyway.

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