Gondi-Persian dumplings with roasted chickpea flour

by Sarah on February 23, 2011

persian gondi Gondi, Persian dumplings

Originating in south-east Turkey, chickpeas have become an integral part of the cuisine in Asia, the Middle East and a few areas in Europe. While whole dried chickpeas are the most common form used in the Middle East, India and Iran also process it into chickpea flour. This ingredient has also found its way to Liguria in Italy and parts of provincial France where it is incorporated into foods such as thin rustic pan bread. Traditionally it is baked in wood ovens, where high heat tinges the edges with a characteristic burnt smokiness, difficult to mimic in regular kitchens. The Italian farinata and the French socca, are usually made with regular unroasted chickpea flour which is pale yellow in color.

In India this flour is often made by first slightly roasting the chickpeas, creating flour known as besan, garbanzo or gram flour. The texture and flavor of chickpea flour changes when it is roasted and although similar, these two types of flours are not always interchangeable. Both are high in protein, dietary fiber and folate, an important part of a balanced vegetarian diet.

Roasted chickpea flour is preferred for making gondi, a traditional Persian dumpling made with a hint of cardamom and served in rich turmeric colored broth. Used in place of kneidlach, these dense and chewy dumplings are gluten free and an exotic addition to classic chicken soup. It can also be used in place of bread crumbs or flour in a variety of other meatballs which lends a lovely nutty flavor to the dish.

Although I read that falafel can be made with chickpea flour, in the Middle East it is usually made from dried chickpeas that are soaked and then ground to a sand-like consistency. In Israel chickpea flour is used mostly by the Indian and Persian communities to make traditional dishes like gondi, pakoras, cookies and flat breads.

gondi

Gondi

This recipe is from Iranian cooking by Gideon Kalimian. It is often garnished with boiled carrots and whole chickpeas.

150 roasted chickpea flour without salt, coarsely ground

1/2 kg ground chicken breast

2 onions, grated

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 vegetable oil

4 teaspoons rosewater

About 8 cups of chicken soup using your favorite recipe. This is my basic recipe:

I usually use an entire chicken, cut into eight or more pieces which I cover with water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to barely a simmer (vigorous boiling will cloud the soup). Remove scum with a slotted spoon. After about 1 1/2 hours add the vegetables;  a few whole peeled carrots, an onion and a couple of celery sticks.  Add peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and a teaspoon of turmeric (saffron can also be used here, a pinch is enough). Simmer, gently for another hour or until the vegetables are soft but not disintegrating. Strain the soup.

For the dumplings

Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken soup and mix well, kneading with your hands. Traditionally the mixture is rolled into a tennis size ball but I like smaller dumplings, the size of ping pongs. Bowling ball size are too big.

Add the meatballs to the soup and let them simmer for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through.

Here is Miriam Kresh’s Gondi Recipe

And if you have not already, please enjoy my silly Barilla video.

References:

Mediterranean Vegetables: A Cook’s ABC of Vegetables and Their Preparation By Clifford A. Wright

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Yael the Finn February 23, 2011 at 1:17 am

First got to know gondi from my Persian friend in Helsinki.Last year I made a vegan version,which was good too. Btw,last week I bought from an Ethiopian shop desi-chickpeas,which are really small,dark skinned.

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Sarah February 23, 2011 at 1:30 am

I also bought desi chickpeas in an Ethiopian grocery. They are also popular in India where they make kala chana curry with it. The bag I bought I think were old and they never softened. Let me know if you have better luck with your chickpeas

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Simcha February 23, 2011 at 2:27 am

You can buy chickpea flour here in some areas and it is sold as a hummus mix, but it is just the flour. FQuick way to make hummus and falafels though. Have to make these, recipe looks great.

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MarkC February 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Does roasted chickpea flour go by a particular name in Hebrew? Or just kemach chumusim klueem?

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Sarah February 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

exactly, my spice man grinds it up on the spot

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Liz February 27, 2011 at 5:44 am

Mark, I’ve made it by buying roasted chickpeas and grinding them in the food processor. Have I mentioned I love this recipe? I made vegan gondi a few months ago, and I’m sure the chicken makes them much softer.

Reply

OysterCulture March 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I am so intrigued by this recipe, I’ve not made anything with chickpea flour and this soup looks so special. Cannot wait to give it a try. Just in time for Noruz.

Reply

Faye Levy March 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm

This looks and sounds wonderful. I made these with canned chickpeas for people who couldn’t get chickpea flour. I am curious about the effect of the rosewater. Could you taste it?

Reply

Sarah March 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Thank you, Although I liked the idea of the rosewater once I cooked the Gondi in the soup it was hard to taste it. A few days ago I asked my Persian friends about it and they told me that it isn’t a traditional ingredient in Gondi, at least not theirs.

Reply

Michael February 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

You can’t make Abgoosht Gondi with out Limo Omanai. Otherwise its going to fall flat. Also I never heard of using rose water. They should be really peppery too.

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