Gondi_Iranian Jewish Food
Updated: Feb 12
By Nahid Gerstein:
One Friday night, many years ago, I invited my father-in-law for dinner. I made him a distinctly Shirazi Jewish food called Abgusht Choghondar, which has cubes of beef, kidney beans, and a lot of beets plus the beet leaves. When I served him dinner, my father-in-law, whose parents were from Kiev in today’s Ukraine, said: "Oh, you've made Borscht!"
When I made "Gondi", another Shirazi Jewish food, my Iraqi friends told me that the "kube" was good, but where was the meat inside it? My father-in-law said that I had made good matzah balls just like his wife used to make!
To me, though, Gondi brings back memories of my home in Shiraz and my mother's fabulous cooking. When I make this dish, I have my mother in mind. I seek to create the flavors of her Gondi, first made over a coal-burning stove in Shiraz and later in Holon, Israel.
When the smell of the the bubbling balls of Gondi fills my own kitchen, I remember Friday nights of my childhood in Shiraz. I smell the Jewish holidays, but, above all, I see my mother laboring in the kitchen to create this and many other scrumptious dishes for us.
*1 medium onion, grated fine or made into paste
*1 pound ground turkey, chicken or beef
*1 cup roasted chickpea(coarse) flour
* pepper, salt, cumin, cardamon, to taste
* clear chicken soup
* 1 cup whole chickpeas (optional)
In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, onion paste, chickpea powder and spices. The mix must be loose, if hard, add a little water. Make a small ball and cook for about 10 minutes, and then taste it for flavor. Add more spices to the mixture if needed.
Wet your hands, and roll about two tablespoons of the mixture into a ball, and drop it into the boiling chicken soup. Repeat until the mixture is finished. Make sure the soup is simmering during this process. If not, wait until it comes to boil again before adding more balls. Simmer for about 30 minutes. You can also add whole cooked chickpeas to the soup.
Many families like to combine the mix with cooked rice. Gondi with rice, Gondi Berengi, is also delicious and has a different flavor.
By Farideh Goldin: