Persian "Matzah Balls" with Chickpeas and Chicken | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Persian "Matzah Balls" with Chickpeas and Chicken

Persian "Matzah Balls" with Chickpeas and Chicken

Persian "Matzoh Balls" with Chickpeas and Chicken (Sara Remington)

Makes 30 matzah balls, and serves 6 to 8

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Gondi—the word is a bawdy Persian expression for a certain part of the male anatomy— is a favorite food in many Iranian Jewish homes. These light, cardamom-scented dumplings look like matzah balls, but instead of matzah meal, they’re made from ground chicken or turkey and chickpea flour. To get a clear, unclouded soup broth, cook the gondi in a separate pot of chicken stock, and then add them to the soup broth when serving. For a more casual presentation, cook the gondi in the same pot with the other soup ingredients. You can make the gondi dough the day before, and store it in the refrigerator.

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Matzah Balls:

2 yellow onions

1 egg

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chickpea flour

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

12 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Soup Broth:

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 large carrot, thinly sliced

2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

4 dried limes, soaked in hot water to cover for 15 minutes

2 cups loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh dill, flat-leaf parsley, or cilantro

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. To make the matzah balls, 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.
  2. Wet your hands with cold water and break off walnut-size pieces of the dough. Roll them into smooth balls, to make a total of 30 balls.
  3. In a large stockpot, bring the 12 cups stock and 2 teaspoons sea salt to a rapid boil.
  4. 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.
  5. In a second stockpot, combine the 8 cups stock, carrot, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Pierce the limes several times with a fork and add them to the stock along with their soaking water. 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.

Reprinted with permission from by Louisa Shafia. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.