pati jinich mushroom jalapeno matzo ball soup


Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup

My grandfather on my mother’s side, Francisco, whom we called “Yeye,” was wild about chiles. Not very common in his native Bratislava, I guess. He used to say that what he loved the most about his new country was the predictable weather (especially the bright sunny winters), the colorful markets, and most of all, the chiles. All of them.

He was oh so very crazy about them, that my grandmother used to hide them from him. She complained that he had no boundaries, no sense of measure, when eating chiles. He simply would not stop.

But he knew all her tricks, discover all her hiding spots, and when he found the prized chiles, he would stuff them in his pockets. Not only fresh jalapeños or serranos but also wet pickled jalapeños... Those must have been some messy pockets to wash…

My “Lali,” liked to please him though. She had Austrian training in the kitchen and made exquisite and elegant foods. Once in Mexico, she fell in love with the cuisine and learned how to combine the two culinary traditions. She became a master at it.

She created a classic dish out of her Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup.

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 1

See? Just because you add a chile to something does not mean it becomes Mexican. You have to know how to add it, how much of it, and most importantly, when to not add….not every dish that is Mexican has a chile in it.

Lali made a mushroom base with a traditional Mexican treatment. Gently cooked onion, garlic and chopped jalapeños (with the seeds please) until the edges begging to brown. Then, she added the mushrooms and covered them, so they would steam in the mix. Once their liquids came out, she would open the pot again and let them dry, and begin to brown.

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 2

Of the thousands of ways to use chiles, steaming them with other ingredients brings out their flavor in such a subtle way.

Then she poured her home made chicken broth on top.

Her Matzo balls were fluffy, round and simply seasoned with parsley (which has been growing so happily in my garden).

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 3

Grated nutmeg is also added to the matzo ball mix. No need to add freshly ground black pepper.

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 4

The eggs are the glue that holds the matzo balls together, combined with a bit of oil…

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 5

Then she had a trick to make the matzo balls fluffy. That is, if you like them fluffy. Which most of my family does.

It seems that the main division in the matzo ball world, is between those that like the matzo balls hard and those that like them fluffy. Cooks debate all the time on how to make them fluffy or hard: more egg or less egg, more oil or less oil, matzo meal or matzo mix…

My grandmother’s trick to make them fluffy was to add sparkling water. But just a tablespoon for a full recipe. I always separate a bit of the mix without any, because I am the only one around here that likes the matzo balls hard.

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 6

As much as my grandfather begged, my grandmother added little jalapeños. She argued that one needs to taste everything else, which in principle sounds right. But if he were here, I would make him an extra batch, with as many jalapeños I could find in my backyard. And there are oh so many…

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup 7

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup

Sopa de Bolas de Matzo con Hongos y Jalapeño

Recipe Yield

6 to 8 servings

Cooking time

40 minutes

Rate this recipe

4 from 6 votes


  • 1 cup matzo ball mix
  • 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sparkling water optional, to make the matzo balls fluffy
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chiles finely chopped, seeded optional, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms wiped clean with cloth, sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth

To Prepare

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the matzo ball mix, parsley, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 6 tablespoons the of vegetable oil and the sesame oil. Fold in the beaten eggs to the matzo ball mixture with a spatula. Add the sparkling water if you want the matzo balls fluffy, and mix well until well combine. Cover the mix and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  • Bring about 12 cups of salted water to a rolling boil in a large soup pot. Bring heat down to medium and keep at a steady simmer. With wet hands, make about 1 inch balls out of the matzo ball mix and gently drop them into the water. Cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large cooking pot. Add the onion, garlic and chiles and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until they have softened. Incorporate the sliced mushrooms. sprinkle the salt, stir and cover with a lid. Steam the mushrooms for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Take off the lid and pour the chicken broth over the mushroom base. Once it is simmering, incorporate the already cooked matzo balls, without their cooking liquid, and serve.


56comments inMushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup

  1. Goldyn Glass

    Oct 16

    I made this vegetarian with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and I tell you, this is delicious!! Like amazing delicious. 10 out of 10. Thank you for sharing the magic.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03

      Great idea and thanks for the amazing review Goldyn 😉

  2. Sarah F

    Sep 13

    Looks amazing! *runs to get more jalopenos* Shaba Tova!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 20

      Hahaha, yay!

  3. Cherie

    Apr 08

    Fantastic recipe. Unexpected. Didn’t realize Jewish heritage. Especially interesting for Passover.
    Love your show and your travels!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 12

      Thanks Cherie, so glad you liked it!

  4. Kathy

    Dec 17

    Dearest Pati, I adore matzo ball soup, & your version looks like it ROCKS! 🎶🎶🎶🎵🎶🎵 🎸 I was hoping that you can help me find the recipe for Ranchero Sauce that is medium orange in colour, & is thick & glossy. I have had it at many Mexican restaurants. The only chunks in it are of a bit of onion, celery, and/or carrot. Just a piece here & there, not loaded. Thank you so much. Love you & your recipes! 💜🌺🌿

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 07

      Hey Kathy, here is my version of Salsa Rachera, which is very chunky Maybe you are looking for something more like my Salsa Callejera, you may want to try it out, here the recipe for you!

  5. Brushjl

    Apr 27

    Delicious matzo ball soup, much lighter than the usual version cooked with a whole chicken

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 07

      So glad you liked it, yay!

  6. Claire

    Apr 16

    Patio, thanks to your Lali, we just had the best matzo ball soup I’ve ever made! Thank you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 19

      So happy to read this Claire, yay!

  7. Lars

    Sep 06

    I love matzo ball soup, and I make both hard and soft balls, but mine tend to be soft most of the time.
    This recipe sounds good to me (and I would like to be able to make new variations of matzo balls), but I will have to omit the nutmeg. Is there something I could use instead?
    I would rather use achiote than nutmeg, and I think it would taste better with the mushrooms, but I could just leave it out and not substitute anything. I’ve never put nutmeg in my matzo balls. What about using fresh thyme instead of nutmeg?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      You can go with thyme if you like it better, but if you just don’t care for nutmeg, leave it out Lars 😉

  8. Elisse

    Sep 06

    LOVE this recipe and the story, too- it is JUST my thing! My background is Eastern European, as well, but your YeYe and I have the same crazy passion for harif peppers! Shana Tovah!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      Thanks so much Elisse, one big hug!

  9. Gina

    Sep 01

    Pati, I love this recipe. It’s the best of both worlds. Thanks for sharing your stories!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 19

      My pleasure Gina, very happy that you liked the soup 🙂

  10. Martha E Munguia

    Sep 01

    This a wonderful flavorful soup. The matzo dumplings melt in your mouth. I don’t eat spicy so I cut back a little but my husband asked why I haven’t made his mushroom dumplings.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 19

      Yay! So glad you guys liked my version of Matzo, un abrazo to you guys!

  11. Anonymous

    Nov 27

    Don’t let anyone edit your reply or post. When I read this I heard you telling me your story -heritage. Love and happiness to you and your family. THANK YOU

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 27

      Thank you!

  12. Tom

    Apr 23

    I really like the recipe. I really love the story. Thanks for sharing Pati!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 23

      Oh thank you Tom!

      1. Tom Bartolomei

        Apr 25

        Pati: I’m like you in that I prefer a harder denser consistency to the Matzo Balls. Any trick to insure that they don’t get too fluffy? Muchas gracias!

        1. Pati Jinich

          May 23

          Oh I leave some matzo mixture aside for me…and I don’t add sparkling water to the mixture that is for me, so that I get nice dense matzo balls.

  13. @magda32omlas

    Apr 22

    Hola Patty !
    Te commente que nunca e comido matzo ball soup siempre e tenido la curiosidad ,pero despise de leerte me animo a querer hacerla y desde luego probabla aunque sera o puesto a tu querido abuelo ! La Mia sera muy poquito Chile y sabes porque?
    Porque cuando alguna comida o salsa esta pico’s me da hipo!!!😳 de igual manera estoy segura que siguiedo tu recentl esta sopa saluda deliciosa!!!
    Saludos y gracias por compartir tan bella historia❤

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 22

      Mil gracias, Magda!

  14. Sharon Escamilla

    Sep 10

    Oh Pati, This is just such a beautiful family story.
    A very delicious one for certain. It is filled with family heartfelt love. There is no substitute for that beautiful warm feeling.
    L’Shanah Tova!! With all my love,
    Sharon Escamilla

    1. Pati

      Sep 10

      Oh thank you so much Sharon 💙

  15. Sharon

    Sep 10

    Lovely recipe. Will have to make this on Passover. I have one Aunt who makes the matzoh balls hard, and another who makes them fluffy. I have the best of both worlds!

    1. Pati

      Sep 10

      That is the best of both worlds, Sharon!

      1. Cherie

        Apr 08

        Fantastic recipe. Unexpected. Didn’t realize Jewish heritage. Especially interesting for Passover.
        Love your show and your travels!

        1. Pati Jinich

          Jun 15

          Thanks so much Cherie, un abrazo!

  16. Patty

    Jul 09

    Dear Pati, I am TERRIBLE SORRY…. for haunting you ALL morning!lol. Every time I see see a new page your recipe just Blows me Away! I have Never made matzo balls, let alone soup. But I would love to try this!! I think it is SO WONDERFUL how much you adore your granddad. Thanks again

    1. Pati

      Jul 09

      Thanks, Patty! You can message me all you want, I love interacting!

  17. Larry Raifman

    Aug 27

    Hi Pati,
    My wife and I love your show (we love Mexican food).
    We tried your recipe for Jalapeno & Mushroom Matzoh Ball Soup and absolutely loved it. It was delicious both times. We have tried a few other of your recipes and loved them as well (Chicken Tinga). Keep up the great work! Do you have recipes that are come from the Huatulco area?

    1. Pati

      Aug 29

      Hola Larry, Thank you so much for your note & for watching! So happy you tried my matzoh ball soup. Give the amarillito mole a try: It’s common in Huatulco!

  18. Susie W.

    Apr 21

    Again another amazing soup. My family loves anything Mexican and this was another pleaser. You are such a good teacher and make it so easy to make. Was really great for Passover this year.

    1. Pati

      Apr 21

      Thank you, Susie!!!

  19. faye

    Apr 11

    thank you Patti, happy passover

  20. faye

    Apr 11

    do you have any other recipes for Passover?

    1. Pati

      Apr 11

      Yes! I like this chicken in a tomatillo, chipotle and brown sugar sauce for Passover:

  21. Dianne Green

    Mar 10

    Hola Pati,

    I am one of your PBS fans, but only heard of your recipe for mushroom and jalapeno chicken soup with matzo balls recently. I am going to make it this Passover. My family will love it. Just one question–what is the matzo ball mix that you refer to? Is this a pre-mixed blend, and if so, can you recommend a manufacturer? By the way, I will be teaching a class on unusual Passover recipes, and will be passing this recipe along to my synagogue friends.

    Many thanks,


    1. Pati

      Mar 10

      So glad to hear, Dianne! Yes, you can use any of the pre-mix blend, such as Mansichewitz or Streit’s. Hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do…

  22. Sarita Levy de Szajowitz

    Feb 06

    I am married to a guy that lived in Bratislava until 1946.We were married in D.F. in 1960. He also loves mexican cooking and hot dishes. My mother-in-law used to make matzo ball soup but mostly around Passover. Muchas gracias para las recetas.

    1. Pati

      Feb 07

      Sarita, This is so lovely! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  23. Keren

    Feb 24

    Hi Patti,
    I really enjoyed watching you cook at The Chew, you are an amaizing cook and a great TV host! I have to mention that I saw you using a cheese mix on the pepitos with cheddar cheese, I always thought that we don’t use cheddar cheese on mexican cuisine, am I wrong? It still look delicious an I can wait to try the recipe.
    Saludos 🙂

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 24

      Hola Keren, Thank you! I love using Mexican Manchego and Oaxaca cheeses, but Mozzarella, Monterey Jack or a light Cheddar work as well because they melt nicely.

  24. Suzi Guardia

    Oct 03

    I made the mushroom jalapeno matzoh ball soup and it was a huge hit! Going to add it to my regular repertoire for the holidays from now on. Any special ideas for break fast on Yom Kippur? Thank you and looking forward to your program at the Mexican Cultural Institute later this month.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      Hi Suzi, I am so glad you enjoyed the Mushroom Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup! I love making the Chicken with Tamarind, Apricots and Chipotle Sauce for break the fast. You can find the recipe here I am looking forward to seeing you at the Mexican Cultural Institute!

  25. Sam

    Oct 01

    Made this last night – it is really delicious. The leftovers will make this gloomy drizzly day more bearable. Thank you!

  26. Maribel Romero

    Sep 23

    Dear Pati:
    I have recently discovered you are on Public television in my home town of Chicago. I love, love, love, your show! For someone so young, your are an amazing cook and a wonderful teacher. Thank you for making these wonderful recipes available to us. Until recently, I did not realize the other various dried fruits and vegetables, herbs, and spices, one can use to spice up our own Mexican meals until I started to watch your show. Thank you for re-educating me and I promise to pass on your recipes to the next generation.
    With best regards,

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 23

      Hola Maribel,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! It is my pleasure, and please send along any requests you may have ; )

      1. Erik

        May 25

        Agree… I just made adobo sauce for the 1st time thanks to your teaching!… I live in Southern California next to several amazing markets! Best part of cooking is the amazing smell that perfumes my home! thank you again!

        1. Pati

          May 27

          Oh we love the aromas around here too Erik!

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