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Shish barak

Shish Barak is a traditional Arabic dish that is very popular in Lebanon, which is made of tiny meat dumplings cooked in a yogurt stew. It is made of three different parts: dough, stuffing and the sauce.

It is very distinguished and desired in our Lebanese cuisine.

Prep. time: one hour 15 mins

Cooking time: 15 mins

Serves: 6 to 7



3 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup warm water


400 gr. ground beef

1 medium onion

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp all spice

a pinch of cinnamon

1/4 cup pine nuts


2 kgs plain yogurt

3 cups water

2 heaped tbsp starch

2 tbsp rice

1 tsp salt or as desire

3 medium cloves of garlic crushed or pounded with salt

1 tsp of dried mint

To prepare the dough: Put the flour and the salt in a mixing bowl then add the water, knead well until it becomes a dough, believe me it is one of the easiest that you can do and it is the same one to make ( maacroon bi toom). Now divide the dough into 2 round pieces using flour for it not to stick and let it rest for 20 minutes, at the meantime prepare the stuffing.

In a pan fry the pine nuts with the oil over medium heat until golden, add the chopped onion and stir for few minutes then the meat, salt, pepper and cinnamon until well done.

To prepare the dumplings: Sprinkle some flour on a surface and flatten the dough using the rolling pin until it gets really thin. Cut into small round pieces using a tiny glass similar to a shot glass, I used the arak glass which was perfect, then place around 1 tsp of the stuffing on each piece of the dough one by one, fold the sides and close the dough on the filling in half pressing the edges around, then bring the corners together to form a shape like a hat.

My kids when they were young they loved to watch me doing them and sometimes they helped with cutting out the small circles with a lot of joy for them and for me. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees then bake the dough for 10 mins or until very light golden color, I sometimes do it without baking because my kids like the soft dough taste.

To prepare the yogurt sauce: put the yogurt in a cooking pan, add the starch dissolved in water, whisk together. Now wash the rice and put it with the yogurt, add the salt stirring continuously over medium heat until it starts boiling. (And with this one too I had so much help from my kids which was stirring the yogurt for me. When they get a bit tired at the end, they always ask the same question: is it boiling now mom?).

Now drop the dough hats one by one in the pot, let it cook for 10 minutes over low heat stirring from time to time, add the pounded garlic and the mint to the pot and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. You can fry the garlic and mint with a tbsp of oil if you wish but I prefer without and you get the same taste.


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