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Shared by Orly Elyashar

Hamadani Gondi Berenji (Meatballs With Rice and Prunes)

Yield: 10-12 servingsTime: 1 h and 45 min

Hamadani Gondi Berenji (Meatballs With Rice and Prunes)

Yield: 10-12 servingsTime: 1 h and 45 min

Family Journey

Hamadan, IranTehranJerusalem
Los Angeles


For the gondi

  • ¾ cup basmati rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 pitted prunes
  • 3-4 teaspoons water, or as needed 

For the soup

  • ¼ cup avocado oil 
  • 3 skinless whole chicken legs 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 14 cups water or broth of choice
  • 4 eggs in their shells (optional) 
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 prunes
  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
Cooking ProjectsSoups & StewsMeat Middle East


  • Step 1

    Make the gondi: In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the rice, ground beef, avocado oil, cumin seeds, garlic powder, coriander powder, salt, and pepper. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Hollow out the middle of each portion and nestle a prune in the center. Wet your hands, and form each portion into a round ball, sealing the prune inside. Transfer to a plate, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you make the soup.

  • Step 2

    Make the soup: In an extra large pot on a medium-high heat, heat the avocado oil. Add the chicken legs, season with salt and pepper. Sear until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate, and add the sliced onions to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent, then add in the turmeric and saute 1 more minute. Add the chicken legs back into the pot, along with the water or broth, prunes and eggs in their shells (if using). Stir to combine. 

  • Step 3

    Add the garbanzo and cannellini beans, prunes, potatoes, and lemon juice. Cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. 

  • Step 4

    Add the chilled gondi to the broth, and gently simmer for 45-55 minutes. Your gondi will begin to float, which is an indication that they are cooking properly. Once they are fully cooked, remove from the heat and skim any excess oil off the surface. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the chicken and eggs from the soup. Peel the eggs and serve with the chicken on the side. Serve hot.