Gondi is a Persian stew consisting of dumplings made from chicken and chickpeas which are served in chicken broth or soup. To make the dumplings, chickpea flour or ground chickpeas, ground chicken, onions and spices are mixed into a dough. The dough is allowed to rest while the broth is prepared. The dough is divided and rolled into golf ball sized rounds which are cooked in the broth for several minutes.
The chicken and chickpea dumplings are the Gondi, though the word is used to refer to the entire dish. Gondi dumplings are also considered meatballs. Besides chicken they can be made from veal and lamb meat. The liquid portion of the dish is called Abgoosht, which means meat water and is used to describe any Persian meat broth, stew or soup.
Matzah balls look very similar and are related to Gondi but they are not the same. Matzah balls contain chicken fat but no actual meat. Its main ingredient is matzo meal. Matzo meal is ground up matzah flatbread which is made from flour and water. Gondi does not contain any flour.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Gondi originated from the Iranian Jewish community where it is still significant. It is a staple of Shabbat dinners. Shabbat is the day of celebration, holiness and rest. It is observed on the Saturday of every week. Gondi is also reserved for special occasions such as holidays. It is eaten as a side dish, appetizer or entrée and served with flat bread and raw greens like mint.
Persian Gondi Recipe
- Ground chicken – 1 lb
- Chicken legs - 4
- Chickpea flour – 6 oz.
- Yellow onion grated - 1
- Yellow onion peeled, quartered - 1
- Flavorless oil like canola – ¼ cup
- Breadcrumbs – 1 tbsp
- Canned chickpeas, rinsed – 16 oz.
- Bay leaves - 2
- Cumin – ½ tsp
- Turmeric – ½ tsp
- Cumin seed – 1 tsp
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Bring 6 cups of water and the chicken legs to boil. As foam builds, skim the top with a slotted spoon.
- Lower the heat to a simmer then add the cumin seed, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, bay leaves, and the quartered onion.
- Let the chicken simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes discard the bay leaves and the quartered onion.
- In the meantime, mix the ground chicken, grated onion, ½ cup water, ¼ cup oil, breacrumbs, ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, salt, pepper, and chickpea powder.
- Mix thoroughly without over-mixing. The mixture should be soft and elastic.
- When the chicken broth is ready, remove the chicken from the pot. Bring the water back to a rolling boil.
- Make golf ball sized balls from the ground chicken mixture.
- Add them to the boiling broth.
- Add the chickpeas to the broth.
- Bring back to a boil.
- Add the chicken back to the pot.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 778Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 299mgSodium: 489mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 71g
Photo credit: amimqj