<i>Gundi</i> can be served as a soup or as an appetizer.

Gundi can be served as a soup or as an appetizer. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Active work time: 25 minutes

Total preparation time: 3 1/2 hours

Gundi is to Iranian Jewish cooking what the matzo ball is to Eastern and Central European Jewish food. The dumplings may be served in soup, as Nathan does in this recipe from her cookbook, or as an appetizer, wrapped in flatbread (taftan or lavash) and sprinkled with fresh herbs (mint, tarragon, cilantro, basil) and vinegar-pickled vegetables. Chickpea flour is available at Middle Eastern and Indian markets.

Soup

1 (3-pound) chicken, cut in 8 pieces

12 cups water

2 onions, quartered

2 green bell peppers, sliced

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 clove garlic, crushed

* Bring chicken and water to boil, skimming off any foam that forms on top.

* Add onions, peppers, salt and pepper to taste, turmeric and garlic. Simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Cool and strain, reserving chicken and about 10 cups broth.

* Remove and discard chicken skin and bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces.

Dumplings

4 onions, quartered

2 to 2 1/4 cups chickpea flour

1/2 pound ground turkey or chicken grind (special for gundi)