Oct 222012

flu soup recipe

I’ll be recovering from knee surgery for the next little while. Fridge is stacked with easy foods for the Little One to cook while I’m lounging around. Laptop is charged so I can trawl the Net while balancing an ice pack on my knee. New stack of books next to my bed. Rescue remedy for balance, homeopathic arnica for pain. What’s missing?

Oh yes, telling you about it.

So now you know. I’m in the hands of a great surgeon, at a great hospital, and it’s not even considered such a big deal anymore. It’ll be an arthroscopy, not a knee replacement. Wish me good luck – it’s tomorrow.

Now I’m going to have a big bowl of mineral-rich bone broth reinforced with lots of fresh vegetables. Good for any wambly condition you might find yourself in. Really excellent for recovering fast from the flu, if you add grated ginger and turmeric.

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 Posted by at 11:16 PM  Tagged with:
Jan 052012


It’s soup weather, no doubt about it. Even if Israeli skies are blue, it’s cold out there. And what I want to eat when it’s cold out, is soup. A flexible recipe, please, a soup that accepts lots of variations but always tastes good. And, while I’m at it, one with chicken and plenty of green herbs and vegetables.

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Jan 062011


Meatballs with chickpea flour. They were sitting demurely in a rich chicken broth, on a homely stovetop, in a tiny eatery in the Yemenite Quarter of Tel Aviv.

It looks like a typical home of that part of town. The only thing to indicate that there’s food for sale is a modest sign over the door: Shabbat Takeaway. You walk in and you’re standing in an apartment, in the living room of an apartment, where two women are cooking and serving the foods that their neighbors love. There’s a stove with four burners on your right as you enter, and a table loaded with covered pots off to one side.

Dorit and Nava are good friends who run this tiny eatery. (Dorit allowed me to take photos, but Nava was shy).


There are three makeshift tables.


I sat down to eat at one of them, but it’s really a local take-out place. That means that the food has to be kosher, authentic, and tasty, and inexpensive. (There is no kosher certificate, but I saw for myself that the foods are prepared in a kosher way, with grains checked and all raw ingredients from kosher sources).

Like mafroum (see my recipe for mafroum) . And the fiery chreime – fish poached in a chili-ful tomato sauce.


Stuffed grape leaves and stuffed peppers (recipe for stuffed grape leaves and artichoke hearts here).

image-stuffed peppersDelicate and savory lamb patties.

image-yemenite lamb patties

And the soup that made me float about three feet off the ground – gondi soup.


I lifted the pot lid, peered in and sniffed, and asked Dorit, “How come you’re selling matzah balls to your Sephardic neighbors?”

“Not matzah balls. Gondi. Made of chicken and chickpeas,” she said mysteriously. Hm. I’d never eaten gondi. The aroma was so tempting that although I had only intended to spend two minutes photographing the little eatery, I ordered the soup and sat down to eat. Dorit joined me for a moment and told me that gondi was an invention of Iranian Jews. In Israel of course, even Ashkenazim like myself get to enjoy them.

Oh, Mama. It was more than delicious, it was sublime. The meatballs had cooked in a broth rich with carrots and onions and whole chicken pieces. The combination of ground chicken and freshly-ground roasted chickpeas made a light, flavorful dumpling. I don’t normally get obsessed with a particular dish, but the taste of that gondi soup stayed on my mind for a long time after I finished eating.

I culled recipes from books and made it at home for your viewing pleasure. Dorit said that she goes to the Carmel shuk for her chickpea flour – ground from whole roasted chickpeas as she stands there – but  chickpea flour from the health food store also works.

Gondi Soup

Serves 6


1-1/2 kg (2 lbs) fresh chicken thighs and drumsticks

3 medium onions, peeled but left whole

2 zucchini, peeled and cut into two pieces each

3 carrots, cut into two pieces each

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons salt

1 bay leaf (not traditional, but good)

1- 1/2 liters water

Put all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour with the lid partly off. Remove the whole chicken pieces for another use (chicken salad, chicken pot pie). Keep the soup simmering because the gondi will cook in it.

Gondi meatballs

2 large onions, chopped finely or grated

500 grams (1 lb.) ground dark-meat chicken

1 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cardamum

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro

2 teaspoons salt

pepper to taste

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup water

Combine all the ingredients, mixing vigorously.

Wet your hands to form dumplings about the size of walnuts and add them, one by one, to the simmering soup.

Place the lid over the pot halfway off and simmer the meatballs for 1 hour.

Serve – again and again.

Dona Restaurant

Rechov Rabbi Meir 36

Yemenite Quarter, Tel Aviv

Kosher (without a certificate)

Open 10 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Fridays open till 2:00 PM.

Tel: 052-234-0100

 Posted by at 5:47 PM
Sep 052008


I knew that I was coming down with something. Something like a cold.

Ah, Jewish penicillin. That “goldeneh yoich” – Yiddishly golden chicken broth. The essence of the Ashekenazic kitchen. A sure cure for my cold, if you believe grandmothers. Well, I believe it – what are grandmothers for?

Sephardic grandmothers make fantastic chicken soups too, like the Persian Gondi and Soup with Chicken Dumplings. And I cook them with pleasure. Still, when I’m down with a cold, what I long for is the soup that needs little effort but yields a rich, golden broth that’s strong enough to revive the dead.

So here it is, with a few non-traditional ingredients like soy sauce and pumpkin. I like lots of vegetables in my chicken soup. And lots of chicken. You can make an acceptable broth out of chicken necks and wings, but for that full flavor, give me an entire chicken, every time. You may strain the vegetables out or keep them in as you wish, but either way, make my Dad’s matzah balls t0 serve with it.

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