Slideshow: Behind the Scenes: Making Persian-Style Matzo Balls at Balaboosta

Persian Gondi
Persian Gondi
Einat's mother made this soup for her growing up. The dumplings' heft comes from chicken and chickpeas, not matzo meal, and it's remarkably rich and light all at once.
Mixing the batter
Mixing the batter
While Ashkenazi matzo balls are filled with Talmudic questions on preparation (do you use oil or schmaltz? water or seltzer? should they be sinkers or floaters?), Einat's gondi are remarkably low-maintenance. Ground chicken, mashed chickpeas, matzo meal, grated onion, olive oil, and spices come together in a bowl. The spice mix is simple, but vibrantly flavored: a blend of black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cardamom, which adds a light floral lift to the dumplings.
Mixing the batter
Mixing the batter
Einat mixes the batter by hand with gentle pats, incorporating water 1 tablespoon at a time. The gondi should be easy to roll but not so moist that they're sticky. Unlike matzo balls, these dumplings need no egg binder; the protein in the chicken takes care of that.
The tester gondi
The tester gondi
Einat adds a small amount of salt and pepper to start, then forms a sacrificial tester gondi. It simmers for about 10 minutes, or until light and puffy, before she cuts it open and tastes for seasoning.
Keep on rolling
Keep on rolling
The batter yields about 20 gondi, which she piles up in the bowl as she rolls.
Simmering
Simmering
The gondi are simmered—not, Einat insists, boiled—in chicken broth flavored with carrots, leeks, and celery. It's the chicken soup of your childhood: intensely flavored and slightly sweet. For the Seder, she'll add finely chopped ramp bulbs to the soup with the other aromatics, and use the greens as a garnish.
Garnishing
Garnishing
Today, the soup was garnished with thinly sliced leeks. Einat plans to use ramp leaves instead as soon as she can get them; either way, the garnish imbues the soup with a mild onion-y savoriness to balance the sweetness of the broth.
Take that, matzo balls
Take that, matzo balls
After a bowl of well spiced gondi soup you may never need matzo balls again.