While she may be best known for acting in television series like NCIS and Criminal Minds, Naz Deravian's popular Persian food blog launched her into the culinary world. "I was hungry for the dishes that comforted me—the scents, sounds and spices that defined me and my culture," she says. A popular dish in Iran is gondi: meatballs in broth sprinkled with fresh herbs, often served for Friday night Shabbat in Iranian Jewish households. Though not Jewish herself, Deravian loves the classic soup for its cardamom-perfumed meatballs and fragrant, turmeric-based broth. She says, "The spices give it a depth and unique warmth. And nutrient-rich chickpea flour—a common ingredient in Iranian dishes—makes the meatballs tender and satisfying."

EatingWell Magazine, March 2022


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

25 mins
1 hr 35 mins




Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare meatballs: Grate onion. Leaving the onion juice behind, transfer the onion to a large bowl. (Discard the juice.) Add chicken, cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; combine well.

  • Place warm water in a small bowl next to you. Add chickpea flour to the chicken mixture in batches, mixing with your hands. The mixture will be sticky at first; add 2 to 4 tablespoons of the water and keep kneading until the mixture doesn't stick to your hands, about 3 minutes. Divide into 6 equal portions. With wet hands, roll each portion into a ball and place on a plate or a small baking sheet. Refrigerate the meatballs, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, prepare broth: If using dried limes, very carefully pierce them in a couple of spots with the tip of a paring knife.

  • Combine broth and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the dried limes (or lime juice), turmeric, salt and pepper; stir and simmer for 2 minutes.

  • Carefully add the meatballs to the broth and return to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, stirring and gently squeezing the limes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 1 hour. Remove from heat. Discard the limes. Stir in parsley.

  • To serve, ladle about 2/3 cup broth into each bowl and add a meatball. Top each bowl with some herbs and serve with lavash, lime wedges, more herbs, radishes and scallions on the side, if desired.


Boiled then sun-dried, dried limes resemble walnut shells and have a savory, tart flavor. (The darker the color, the more potent they are.) Buy them at Middle Eastern markets or online.

Nutrition Facts

2/3 cup broth & 1 meatball
195 calories; protein 18g; carbohydrates 14g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 2g; fat 7g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 65mg; sodium 500mg; potassium 621mg.