Recipe: Gundi (Chickpea-and-Chicken-Dumpling Soup)

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.


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

12 cups water

2 onions, quartered

2 green bell peppers, sliced


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.


4 onions, quartered

2 to 2 1/4 cups chickpea flour

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

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cardamom


1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

* Shred onions with grating blade in food processor.

* Combine onions and 2 cups chickpea flour and mix well. Add turkey, salt, pepper, turmeric and cardamom and mix well with hands. Add enough water, about 1/4 cup, to make sticky dough with consistency of meatballs. You should be able to stick your finger through it. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

* Dip hands in cold water and form 1 dumpling 2 inches in diameter for testing.

* Bring reserved chicken broth to boil. Adjust seasoning. Add test dumpling and simmer gently, 15 to 20 minutes. Let test dumpling cool, then taste for seasoning and texture. If too soft, add more chickpea flour; adjust seasoning if necessary.

* Form remaining dough into dumplings 2 inches in diameter. Add dumplings and simmer gently, covered, until cooked through and floating, 15 to 20 minutes. Add chickpeas and reserved chicken pieces and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes.

* Serve dumplings in soup or wrap in flatbread as described in recipe introduction.

8 servings. Each serving with soup, chicken and chickpeas: 261 calories; 1,506 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 6.30 grams fiber.

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