Persian Chicken Soup With Chickpea Dumplings

Gundi, adapted from Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan

1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
6 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 green peppers, sliced
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 ounces roasted chickpea flour, available at Middle Eastern markets
1/2 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

1. Place the chicken pieces in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove any froth that accumulates.

2. Add 2 of the onions, the green peppers, salt and pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric, and the garlic. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender. When the chicken is cool, remove it. Skim the fat from the broth and set the broth aside.

3. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

4. To make the dumplings, grate the 4 remaining onions. Add the onions to the chickpea flour and mix well. Add the ground chicken, salt and pepper to taste, the remaining turmeric, and the cardamom. Mix well, using your hands. Add enough water, about ¼ cup, to make a sticky dough about the consistency of meatballs. You should be able to stick your finger though the mixture easily.
Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours until the mixture is easier to handle.

5. Dip your hands in cold water and form the mixture into dumplings about 2 inches in diameter.

6. Pour the reserved chicken broth into a soup pot. Bring to a boil, correct the seasonings, and add the dumplings. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes.

7. Serve as a soup, or serve the gundi alone as an appetizer, sprinkled with fresh herbs like basil and mint and accompanied by pickled vegetables and flatbread.

Yield: 8 servings

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