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Shared by Sogol Somekh Mesznik and Akhtar Somekh

Gondi (Persian Dumplings) in Abgoosht Soup

Yield: 8 servingsTime: Overnight soaking + 3 h

Shared by Sogol Somekh Mesznik and Akhtar Somekh

Gondi in white bowl atop gold platter with cocktail, olives and fresh vegetables.
Photographer: Lauren Volo. Food Stylist: Mariana Velasquez.

Gondi (Persian Dumplings) in Abgoosht Soup

Yield: 8 servingsTime: Overnight soaking + 3 h

Family Journey

Isfahan, IranTehran
Great Neck, NY

Abgoosht is a Jewish Persian chicken soup made with chickpeas. Sogol Somekh Mesznik’s family serves theirs with gondi, a meatball made here with chickpea flour and ground turkey. Her family cooks their gondi in the abgoosht, but you can also simmer them in water or store-bought chicken broth if you plan to eat them on their own as an appetizer.

Read more about Sogol's family in "A Persian Shabbat Tradition Simmers on Long Island."

Ingredients

For the gondi meatballs

  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast or ground chicken breast
  • ½ pound ground turkey (dark meat)
  • 1 ½ cups chickpea flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
  • ¼ teaspoons ground white or black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

For the abgoosht soup

  • 3 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and drained 
  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds or ground
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and left whole

For the chicken stuffing

  • ⅓ cup basmati rice, washed 
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried Persian lime 

Special equipment

  • Food processor
  • Sewing needle and thread
Cooking ProjectsMeat Gluten Free

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Make the gondi mixture: Place the onions into a food processor with an “S” blade. Pulse about 10 times until the onion is finely ground. Add the chicken and grind until the chicken is finely ground (if starting with whole chicken breasts), about 2 minutes. If using ground chicken, pulse a few times until the chicken is incorporated with the onions. Add the turkey and pulse until combined, about 10 times. Add the chickpea flour, oil, salt, pepper, cardamom, water and turmeric into the mixture. Grind until the mixture is combined and unified, about 2 minutes. Once combined, the mixture should not be too dry or too wet and sticky. If it is, add chickpea flour and/or water 1 teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Put the mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigeration for 2 hours.

  • Step 2

    Make the abgoosht: Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Carefully place the chicken into the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Transfer the pot off the heat. Drain the water. Rinse the pot and rinse the chicken and set it aside on a plate. This process will help result in a clear broth. Fill the pot halfway with water. Add the chickpeas, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper, and whole onion. Place the pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook over a simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, stuff, sew and cook the chicken: Place the rice, turmeric, salt, pepper, cumin and lime in a small bowl and mix well until the rice is evenly coated. Using a spoon carefully stuff all the rice into the cavity of the chicken. Use your hand to hold together the 2 edges of the chicken cavity. Using a needle and thread, start at the top of the cavity, placing the needle into one edge and sewing it through the other edge of the cavity to create a horizontal loop with the thread. Continue threading down the cavity to seal the cavity. Once you reach the end of the cavity and it is sealed, remove the needle from the thread and use the extra thread to tie the two drumsticks together. Do what you can to close up the chicken cavity completely. Gently place the chicken into the simmering pot of water, spices and chickpeas. Cook the chicken with the pot covered for about 1 hour or until it is completely cooked. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the whole chicken from the broth. Reserve the chicken on a plate. 

  • Step 4

    Cook the gondi: Transfer the gondi mixture from the refrigerator. Dip your hands into some water and take 2 teaspoons of the mixture, shaping it into a ball. Gently place the gondi ball into the simmering pot of abgoosht with chickpeas. Continue shaping the rest of the mixture into gondi balls and placing them into the simmering abgoosht, increasing the heat of the abgoosht if needed to keep a simmer. The gondi will expand during cooking. Cook the gondi balls in the water for 1-2 hours or until the balls are fully cooked and tender. 

  • Step 5

    Serve the gondi hot as an hor d'oeuvre with a side of cilantro, parsley and watercress.

  • Step 6

    Fifteen minutes before serving the abgoosht soup and chicken. Place the chicken into the abgoosht and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes. To serve, transfer the chicken out of the soup and cut the thread and pull the thread out of the chicken. To serve, put the whole chicken on a serving plate. Serve the abgoosht soup in a separate bowl over a bit of white rice.