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Medjool Date Gondi

(Chickpea and Chicken Meatball Soup)


Serves 4

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (if using canned chickpeas: 12 hours 45 minutes with minimum soaking time)  


1¼ cups dried chickpeas*, or two 15-ounce cans chickpeas,  drained and rinsed

1 medium onion (just over 1 cup), coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon ground cardamom

12 ounces ground chicken, preferably dark meat

3 tablespoons chickpea flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, olive oil, or schmaltz

4 medium pitted Medjool dates, halved


7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 small onion, quartered

1¼ teaspoons ground turmeric

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 jalapeño, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Make the gondi: In a large bowl, cover the chickpeas with at least 4 inches of water, cover the bowl, and soak for 10 to 12 hours at room temperature or for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Check in on the chickpeas every few hours, and replenish the water if it seems like it’s all getting soaked up by the chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas, transfer to a medium saucepan, cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and keep the chickpeas on a vigorous simmer, skimming off and discarding any foam and scum, until a chickpea collapses between your fingers when pressure is applied but isn’t totally mushy, anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes. Drain and slightly cool the chickpeas and transfer 2 cups of them to the bowl of a food processor; reserve the remaining chickpeas for the broth. Add the onions to the food processor along with the turmeric, salt, cumin, and cardamom and process, scraping down the bowl once if necessary, until almost totally smooth, 20 to 30 long pulses; transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, chickpea flour, and oil and mix gently with your hands until evenly incorporated. Wash and moisten your hands, then form the mixture into 8 large, equal-sized balls; each ball will use a scant ½ cup of the mixture. Poke a date into the center of each ball, then make sure it’s well sealed around the date. Chill on a plate, covered, for 30 minutes.

Make the broth: In a large, high-sided 10-inch skillet or stockpot, bring the broth, onion, turmeric, salt, black pepper, jalapeño, and reserved chickpeas to a simmer over medium-high heat and gently lower the gondi balls into the soup. Return the pot to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer gently until the gondi are cooked through and have expanded and look like gorgeous, perfectly cooked, oversized matzo balls, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, place 2 gondi in a bowl, and cover with some of the broth. Garnish with cilantro.

*To quick-soak chickpeas, cover them with 3 inches cold water and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and let the chickpeas sit in their hot water for 1 hour. Drain and proceed! Dried chickpeas can be replaced with two 15-ounce cans cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups drained chickpeas).

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