Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Matzo brei with bananas, courtesy of Jeff Segall

I find that I generally make more matzo brei after Pesach that during the holiday.  During I may get around to it once or twice, but after you have to use up all that matzo.  Last year I found myself eating Sri Lankan style matzo brei several times a week until our home was matzo-free. So I was very happy when Jeff Segall, language teacher, sailor and musician, emailed around the variation that he makes which contains mashed bananas.  It makes a nice weekend breakfast, and will make it easier for me to finish the final boxes.

Matzo brei is a very personal thing, of the same order as pizza or bagels.  Just like it is hard to argue with people's taste in pizza and bagels, it is pointless to dispute their taste in matzo brei.  Some like it like a single cake, others scrambled.  Some like it soft, some crunchy.  Some salty, some sweet.  And some all of the above. For the record I am a scrambled crunchy person who likes his matzo brei with salt, pepper and something sweet.  Jeff uses a different soaking method than I do, and makes his like a large kugel.   His recipe is included at the end.  I tried to soak the matzos following his instructions, but I just couldn't do it.  I fell into default mode. So I don't expect you to follow my directions either.  But do try adding the bananas -- it is a real treat.

Banana Matzo Brei --Basic Recipe

  • 5 matzos
  • 4-6 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1-4 tablespoons of butter
  • cinnamon

  1. Soak matzos according to your preferred method.  Mine is to break them into more or less equal quarters and put them in a large bowl.  Fill the bowl with cold water, and let the matzos sit about 30 seconds.  Drain them while they are still crunchy,  cover them, and let them sit aside to absorb the water and soften.  It takes about 5-10 minutes, and they will soften further when you add the eggs.  I find that this way you don't have to squeeze out the excess moisture, because there is none.  However, as I said above, matzo brei is a very personal thing, and I don't expect anyone to change their preferred method on my account.  
  2. Beat the eggs, add a pinch of salt (or a bit more if you are like me), and mix into the matzos.  If they have not softened all the way, let them sit for a few minutes more until they do.  
  3. Slice, then mash the bananas, and mix them into the matzo and eggs.
  4. To make like a single cake:  Heat a 10 inch nonstick skillet, add as much butter as your conscience, your cholesterol and your spouse allows, and pour in the mixture.  Spread it out and cook on medium heat until well browned.  Flip and cook until well browned on the other side.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with honey, date honey, or maple syrup. 
  5. To cook as pancakes:  Heat a 12 inch or larger nonstick skillet or griddle and add butter.  Drop about 1/2-3/4 cup of batter to make large pancakes.  Cook until brown, turn and brown on the other side, and serve as above.
  6. Serves 3-4, depending on appetite. 

Middle eastern variation:  Omit the cinnamon. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom to the batter.  This is best served with date honey.

For the kid in all of us:  Mix in up to a cup of chocolate chips. Serve this with whipped cream. 

Jeff Segall's recipe in his own words:

Fill a large bowl about 1/3 of the way with lukewarm water. Take about 4-5 sheets of matza and break them along the natural fault lines. Each piece should be about three or four fault lines wide and be about 1/3 the length of a matza. Break them into the bowl. Soak them for at least a minute. Be sure they're completely soaked and soft. Then holding the matza with one hand, pour the water out. Press the matza gently to squeeze out the excess water. Into the matza pour 4-6 eggs that you have already completely beaten so that the yolks and whites are thoroughly mixed. (For a lower cholesterol version, use 4 eggs and 2/3 cup of liquid egg whites). This serves 3-4.  With a fork, pick up the slices of matza so that both sides of every piece are infused with the eggs. 
To this mixture add two thoroughly mashed sliced bananas. Stir the mixture together. Pour this mixture into a hot pan greased with butter or margarine. Let it sit and fry for less than a minute. Then Flip. Cook 2 minutes. If using a smaller diameter pan, flip once more, let sit as it bubbles away, and flip yet one more time.  Serve with cinnamon sprinkled lovingly and sparingly from above. If you want it even sweeter, add maple syrup to your portion.  Invite your friends.  They'll love you.

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