These fluffy dumplings traditionally eaten by Iranian Jews for Friday night Shabbat dinner. They are virtually foolproof, with a texture that’s tender but firm, and a taste brimming with warm Middle Eastern flavors.
Though similar to matzo balls, which are eastern European in origin and made primarily from eggs and matzo meal, aromatic gondi are shaped from a thick puree of ground chicken and toasted chickpea flour, a staple ingredient of the Middle East, and seasoned with turmeric and cardamom. Luckily, they're less labor intensive, too, and gluten-free.
To make the dumplings, puree the onions in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk in the egg, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and several grinds of pepper. Mix in the chickpea flour and chicken to form a thick paste. Cover and store the dough in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours, to firm up.
Wet your hands with cold water and break off whole walnut- or golf ball-size pieces of the dough, whichever size you prefer. Roll them into balls, making a total of 30. Refrigerate for 1 hour. In a large stockpot, bring the 12 cups stock and 2 teaspoons sea salt to a rapid boil.
Carefully drop the dumplings into the stock. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes without opening the pot. When ready, the gondi will be firm in the center. Remove them with a slotted spoon. The cooking stock can be strained and used for the soup broth, or reserved for another use.
In a second stockpot, combine the 8 cups stock, carrot, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Pierce the limes with a fork and add them to the stock. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice just before serving. Divide the gondi among soup bowls, ladle the broth over the top, and serve.
I love how food connects us with different times, places, the environment, and each other. I'm the author of two cookbooks: The New Persian Kitchen, and Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life. Magpie Cookshop is my sustainable kitchen goods company.