Adapted from "The Book of Jewish Food East and West" by Claudia Roden.
To make the gondi, two unique ingredients are required – dried limes and chickpea flour. In Israel these ingredients are available in most specialty food stores. Outside Israel look for them in Middle Eastern, Oriental or Indian shops.
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 small chicken
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3 dried limes or juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
250 g (9 oz) minced chicken
100 g (4 oz) chickpea (gram) flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Bring chicken to a boil with 3 litres (5 pints) of water. Remove scum. Coarsely chop one onion and add to the pot. Season with turmeric, salt and pepper. If using dried limes – prick them with the point of a knife and crack with a hammer to release the maximum flavor and so that the water can penetrate and soak them entirely. They are dark brown inside and emanate a wonderfully evocative aroma. (If you do not have dried limes, add lemon juice before serving). Add to the broth and simmer for 45-55 minutes until the chicken is tender. Towards the end of the cooking cycle taste and adjust seasoning.
Make the meatballs: grate the remaining onion and mix with minced chicken and chickpea flour. Season with salt, pepper and cardamom. Knead well with your hands, until it binds together. Rub oil on your hands and roll the paste into balls the size of a small walnut.
Lift the chicken out the soup and drop the balls in. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove the skin and bones of the chicken, cut the chicken meat into pieces and return to the soup to heat through. Serve in bowls over plain rice.
Variation: for a richer chicken stock add 2 stalks of celery (with the leaves) coarsely chopped, 2 large diced carrots, 150 g (5 oz) yellow split peas, previously soaked for an hour.
photo: Eilon Paz ("The Book of New Israeli Food")