Also known as "matzoh and egg" and "fried matzoh".
Matzoh (many spellings) is a Biblical food, a form of unleavened ritual bread eaten in memory of the Israelites' slavery in Egypt. Although known as "the bread of affliction" and central to the Passover meal, it has become a staple starch in European Jewish cooking.
Brei is German and Yiddish for "mash" or "porridge".
This dish has been described as "Jewish French toast", but in my family we don't eat it with maple syrup, so I don't care much for that description. And there is more egg than matzoh in it the way we eat it, whereas french toast is mostly bread with only a little egg. My learned friend Eve Jochnowitz, a high gastronomic authority and linguist, says the name is
"matzo braa, called matzo bray in standard Yiddish and commonly spelled matzo brei in the press, perhaps because that looks more German."
You wanted options? Pay your taxes and take your choice. There is a more philosophical discussion of this food under matzoh toast
, but it seems to me that matzoh brei
is the most common name.
Matzoh brei is made by breaking matzoh into cracker-sized pieces, soaking in a batter of eggs and milk (or water), and then scrambling the mixture in a frying pan. Eat lightly salted to taste. Ah, but you said you wanted options. Numerous variations can be found on the Internet. My grandparents had a running rivalry over their respective methods of cooking it - mainly in that my grandmother made it a little softer - and if you were asked which way you liked it better you were expected to side loudly with whomever had asked you. Actually, both ways were good.
I knew my Taiwanese wife had successfully integrated herself into the family when she came up with her own version. Here it is as it has evolved to date:
Matzoh brei "Everything" à la formose
- Manischewitz's "Everything" matzoh (with seeds), one large square (or a little less) per person served
- eggs, beaten, two per person
- a little milk or water to thin the beaten eggs (note using milk will prevent an observant Jew from eating meat or fowl with this dish)
- scallion (green onion), one per person (note that observant Taiwanese bonzes are not allowed to eat scallion or related forms of Allium)
- olive oil, butter, or other cooking fat (using butter will prevent an observant Jew from eating meat or fowl with this dish)
- salt to taste
- furikake to taste - kosher forms of norigoma furikake (shrdded nori with sesame seeds) will not contain shrimp or non-kosher varieties of shaved fish, but egg is all right; try furikake made from shiso leaf (perilla) if you want to know true happiness
Beat the eggs and mix in the milk or water. Break the matzoh into irregularly shaped pieces no larger than 1-1/2 inches in any one dimension. Soak the matzoh pieces in the egg mixture - not so long that it becomes mushy, but it should no longer be hard, either. This is where my grandparents parted ways.
Chop the scallion finely and stir-fry in the fat till bright green but not soft. Stir in the egg-matzoh mixture and scramble. I like it a little brown. Add a little salt to taste. Serve onto plates, and sprinkle with furikake.
Eat with fork or chopsticks.