Janna Gur's The Book of New Israeli Food includes a chapter devoted to foods that are traditionally eaten on the sabbath in Israel. Some are familiar (chopped liver and chicken noodle soup) while others are a bit more exotic. Gondi, an Iranian-Jewish take on matzo ball soup, falls somewhere in between. Chicken soup with big, fluffy matzo meal dumplings is a Passover classic that has potential for greatness but also a tendency to be a little bland depending on your seasoning strategy. Gondi, on the other hand, is all about big, bold flavors.
The chicken broth is beefed up with chunks of zucchini, onions, chickpeas, and a spoonful of turmeric for a burst of aromatic brightness. Ground chicken and chickpea flour works as the base for the dumplings. Similarly to matzo balls, these chickpea dumplings plump while they cook in the broth, nearly doubling in size by the time they're cooked through.
Matzo ball soup is all about comfort and familiarity but after testing out this Middle Eastern version I have to say that I'm going to have to consider replacing my Passover go-to with this Semetic interpretation.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Book of New Israeli Food to give away this week.
Reprinted with permission from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2007. Published by Schocken Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- The Broth:
- 2 chicken legs
- 1 cup chickpeas soaked in water overnight
- 2 onions, peeled
- 2 zucchinis cut into large chunks
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- The Gondi:
- 2 onions, grated and squeezed
- 1 pound 2 ounces (500 g) ground chicken, preferably deboned chicken thighs
- 1 cup dry powdered chickpeas (available in healthfood and spice shops)
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt and white pepper
- 1/4 cup oil
Place the chicken legs, zucchini and chickpeas in a large pot. Season with turmeric and salt, add 1 1/2 quarts (1 1/2 liters) water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam and cook over a low flame for about one hour.
Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings with 1/3 cup water. Wet your hands and form dumplings the size of an apricot (the dumplings will swell considerably during the cooking).
Add the dumplings to the boiling soup and bring again to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about an hour and a half with the pot half covered.