Hye Thyme Cafe: Gundi (Persian Dumplings)

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gundi (Persian Dumplings)

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

I'm one of those people who always has a TV running somewhere in the background. It doesn't matter if I'm cooking, cleaning, working/playing on the computer - I always need that background noise for some reason ... possibly because of the tinnitus (constant ringing) in my left ear. Anyhow, I was working on the computer one night, not really paying attention to the TV, but I suddenly tuned in and heard Mike on Shahs of Sunset complaining that Reza had eaten all of something. That got me curious because, as an Armenian, our cultures share some similar foods, but I had missed what it was. Flash forward to a week or so later, and I realized that same episode was on, so I decided to pay attention to hear what it was they were talking about.

Of course, I got distracted by what I was doing at the time, so I missed the translation, but I did catch Reza describing it as sort of a matzo ball, but not really. Since I wasn't sure what it was called, but I knew that it was being served at a seder dinner, I used the clues I had to run a Google search to figure it out.

Sure enough, Gundi (or Gondi) is a chicken and chickpea dumpling, similar to what for me would be a type of Kufte. What I read is that it is usually served as either an appetizer, wrapped in a flatbread, or as a soup - either way, with fresh herbs. That sounded good to me, so I headed right out to the local health food store for chickpea flour. It later occurred to me that with expanding organic sections in grocery stores, I might have been able to find it there, but I checked the next time I was at the market and they didn't have it. Yours might though.

It is very easy to make, and was absolutely delicious, but you do need to build in time to let the mixture chill and firm up. I tried it both ways but found the herbs in the flatbread to be a bit messy, so the next day, I reheated a few in the reserved broth, mixed the herbs with a bit of yogurt to hold everything together, and cut the Gundi in half to make it more manageable. That worked out great!

3 medium onions
1 lb ground chicken
2 1/2 c chickpea flour
1 T olive oil
1 t cardamom
1 1/2 t turmeric (where the golden color comes from)
1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Chicken broth (roughly 2 qts - enough to cover)
Fresh basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro
Optional - plain yogurt

  1. In your food processor, process the onions until very fine - not quite, but almost mush. If too chunky, they'll cause your dumplings to break open when cooking.
  2. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and add the chicken, chickpea flour, olive oil, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper, mixing well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the mixture to firm up some - it will still be very soft.
  4. With wet hands, roll the mixture into 16 balls. I staged mine on a sheet of plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray. You'll see in one of the pictures that some of mine have a sort of porcupine texture - those are the ones I rolled when my hands were dry.
  5. Bring the chicken broth up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, adding the dumplings and allowing them to cook for 40 minutes. Adding one to the pot and waiting a few seconds before adding the next will prevent them from sticking together. Also, since I wasn't using homemade stock, had an extra onion on hand, and knew I wouldn't be using all of the herbs, I added the onion and some of each herb to the broth for extra flavor when bringing it up to a boil and let it bubble for a few minutes before fishing them out and reducing the temp.
  6. To plate, add a handful of the chopped herbs to your bowl, top with one or two Gundi, and ladle some broth over the top - or, as noted above, mix a bit of yogurt with the herbs, spread on flatbread, and top with Gundi.
I can't attribute the recipe to anyone because all of the recipes I looked at were the same, except for one that was for a half recipe but somehow used the same amount of flour as for a full recipe. I did increase the turmeric after looking at some of the pictures and how anemic they looked.

I can't say I really noticed the cumin, but the cardamom, in combination with all of those fresh herbs, made these dumplings super flavorful. I re-heated a few in the reserved broth the next day, and they were still just as good. Because I had more left, I threw them in the freezer. I'll have to make a note on how that works out when I get around to them again.

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe
Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

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