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Originally published March 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 28, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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With these matzo-ball tips, they'll be as light as clouds

Passover begins Monday at sundown, and it wouldn't be the same for many Jewish families without matzo-ball soup. Golf-ball or baseball size...

The Miami Herald

Passover begins Monday at sundown, and it wouldn't be the same for many Jewish families without matzo-ball soup. Golf-ball or baseball size, light or heavy, seasoned or plain, each variation of this dumpling has its devotees.

I think they're best floating in the soup, light and fluffy all the way through. Here are pointers:

• Don't add more matzo to a loose, just-mixed dough; that's a prescription for heavy matzo balls.

• Instead, let the dough sit in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking. The matzo will absorb liquid, firming the dough.

• Flavor the dough if you wish with a few teaspoons minced carrot, chives, dill or parsley or a pinch of minced ginger or nutmeg.

• Keep your hands wet when forming the balls and use a light touch; packing it will make them dense and heavy.

• Use a big pot. Matzo balls expand to twice their original size while simmering and need to cook for about 40 minutes if made in the traditional size.

• If you want your soup to be clear, cook the matzo balls separately in water. If you don't mind a cloudy broth, cook the matzo balls directly in it; they will absorb the flavor of the soup.

• As you add the uncooked balls to the simmering water, use a wooden spoon to gently nudge any that stick to the bottom so they float freely.

• To ensure tender matzo balls, do not uncover the pot, even to peek, for at least the first 20 minutes.

• At the end of the cooking time, remove a ball and cut it in half. It's done if it has an even texture throughout. A yellowish center means more cooking is needed.

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