How to make shish barak

How to make shish barak

Shish barak is a favorite dish of the Middle Eastern food lover looking for something delicious.

Dating back to the 14th century this particular dish is no doubt a mishmash of several different cuisines.

Most likely with its origins in Ancient Persia in pre-Islamic times, it is consumed widely throughout the Levant.

The dumpling itself was invented in China during the Han Dynasty.

Lasting 400 years, the Han Dynasty was known for much trade along the Silk Road.

This is the most likely explanation for the introduction of the filled dumpling to Asia Minor.

What is Shish Barak?

How to make shish barak

Simply put, shish barak consists of meat dumplings cooked in a yogurt stew.

A comfort food for many in the Middle East, it is very similar to tortellini in shape and size.

I like to use ground lamb which is a typical meat eaten in this part of the world, although some will use beef.

The meat stuffed filling is placed on the prepared dumpling dough, folded, and pinched into a moon shape.

Then the ends are brought together and pinched again making a tortellini shape.

The dumplings can be easily frozen at this stage for later use, similar to any other stuffed pasta.

Spicing and fillings of course have been influenced by local cultures and cuisines.

Whereas a lot of pork is used in Chinese dumplings, this practice would have changed as Islam took hold.

Pork being forbidden food to Muslims, lamb took its place as a substitute since that was and is an animal raised locally.

It seems every family has its own way of spicing this recipe, often depending on what region they are from.

I like to delicately flavor mine with a bit of cumin, cilantro and shatta (chili paste).

In my experience it works best when the subtlety of the spices do not overpower the yogurt sauce.

How to Make Shish Barak

How to make shish barak

Preparing this dish does take a bit of time, but it is less than you’d think, and definitely worth it.

The filling is prepared using ground beef or lamb, gently spiced and mixed for this shish barak recipe.

Once the dough is made and rolled out flat, it is time to cut the dough.

This is usually done using a cookie or biscuit cutter to get the round pieces of dough.

The dumplings are filled and shaped before bringing a pot of water to a boil.

How to make shish barak

Add the dumplings to the boiling water, and cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat.

The process is like that of cooking any filled pasta.

In a small pan roast pine nuts with a little olive oil until lightly browned.

Mix a little of the boiled water with the yogurt and butter to make the sauce.

Add the cooked and drained shish barak to the sauce and add pepper flakes and the pine nuts.

Sometimes chopped onions are sautèd and added to the sauce along with dried mint.

(There is an alternative method where the little dumplings are brushed with vegetable oil, baked in the oven until golden brown, then put in the sauce.)

How to make shish barak

Origins of Pasta

Many people default to Italy as the home of pasta, but the origins of this food are further east.

It has been hypothesized that the Italian explorer Marco Polo brought pasta making methods from his travels to China.

However the kind of noodles that were made in China were different to those made in Europe.

Another theory is that pasta was actually a Greek invention that was adopted in Italy.

My theory about this type of question is that foods were shared widely by merchants and explorers.

Borrowing from each other, different cultures built on all the different influences that surrounded them.

At the end of the day it seems to be more about national pride than it does about where food really came from.

Does who was first really matter when a dish being eaten is delicious enough to share with others?

Regardless of where they are from or what their food is like.

June 27, 2009 • Category: Main Dish

How to make shish barak

My friend Hoda Soueid had graciously offered to show me how to make sheesh barak, the dish I remember most fondly from my grandmother’s. Tiny little dumplings made in a soft and very thin dough smothered in a yoghurt sauce and served over rice. Comfort food Lebanese-style! So good you can’t stop eating them!

We sat on her balcony and sipped Turkish coffee while she reminisced about life in Beirut over the years: when the Israeli tanks rolled on her street in Moussaitbeh, when her building was hit by a missile during the fighting between the Syrians and the Christian militias, when she had three hours a week of available water. Our talk was interrupted by a deafening concert of gunfire and explosions. “Berri got elected” she said matter-of- factly, referring to a prominent politician. We decided to retreat to the kitchen and focus on the work at hand instead of risk being hit by a stray bullet. (Which turned out to be wise, the bullets and exploding bomblets killed one person and wounded 11 others)

Making sheesh barak can easily be done in stages. Busy Lebanese housewives buy the dumplings frozen in the neighborhood market to save time. I prefer to make my own and freeze the extras. Assembling the dish is easy once the dumplings are ready, because the yoghurt sauce and the rice can be prepared at the last minute.

INGREDIENTS: This quantity will make 600 dumplings, sufficient for 50 servings (12 dumplings per serving)

1 lb of kafta meat (500g. of lean ground beef or lamb, mixed with 1/4 cup of chopped onions and parsley, with salt and pepper, a dash of allspice and cinnamon)

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 cup of lukewarm water (80 to 85F)

METHOD:

  • Sift the flour over a large bowl. Gradually pour the water, mixing with either hands or a wooden spoon.
  • Knead the flour and water mixture until the dough holds together evenly and is smooth and shiny, adding a bit more flour if sticky or a couple tablespoons of water, depending on the air and the humidity level in the room. Cut the dough in four balls and cover with a towel and put in a draft-free place for 30 minutes.
  • On a marble board or a cool surface, sprinkle some flour and roll out one ball of dough at a time until very thin, about 1 mm. in thickness (1/16 inch, if possible). Cut into rounds with a 1 inch cutter or a liqueur glass.
  • Place on each circle of dough 1/2 teaspoon of kafta stuffing. Fold the dumpling into a half circle, pinching the outside edges delicately. Grab the two ends and pinch them shut towards the back of the dumpling. Place the dumpling on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Place the cookie sheet in a moderate oven (325-350F) until the dumplings are slightly toasted and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Reserve a portion for immediate consumption and freeze the rest in freezer bags.

How to make shish barakHow to make shish barakHow to make shish barakHow to make shish barakHow to make shish barakHow to make shish barak

To Complete the Sheesh Barak:

  1. Cook the yoghurt. Place the yoghurt in a large saucepan and add one tablespoon of cornstarch per pound and an egg (optional) if desired. Place on low to medium heat and with a wooden spoon stir the yoghurt in the same direction until it starts steaming and a bubble or two escapes. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
  2. Prepare the rice, following package directions. If making rice with vermicelli noodles, which is the traditional way, brown the noodles first and then add the rice and stir on low heat to get all the grains moistened with grease or butter. Add the water and cover the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is done.
  3. Make the cilantro pesto. Heat a couple tablespoons of butter or olive oil and fry some mashed garlic cloves and some chopped fresh cilantro leaves. When the fragrance of the mixture starts to rise, turn off the heat and set it aside. It should not take longer than 2 minutes.
  4. Serving time! Heat the yoghurt very slowly and swirl the cilantro pesto and throw the dumplings and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serveover the cooked rice. Expect seconds and thirds! Sahteyn!How to make shish barak

Coriander & garlic give the yoghurt sauce a tangy taste. Pour it over the crunchy meat dumplings & enjoy!

Ingredients

Steps

To prepare the dough: sift the flour in a bowl with some salt. Gradually add water and knead to obtain a soft dough. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 min.

To prepare the filling: on high heat, fry the chopped onion in a skillet with the vegetable oil until golden. Add the ground meat, cinnamon, pepper and salt and fry until the meat turns brown. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C.

To make the shish barak dumplings: on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough using a rolling pin. Cut the dough into 4 cm circles.

Place 1 teaspoon of filling at the centre of each circle and fold in half. Press edges together then bring both corners together to obtain a dumpling. Seal well.

Put all the meat dumplings in a well-greased baking tray and bake for 10 min or until blushed. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare the sauce: strain the yogurt into a pot, add the dissolved starch and place over medium heat. Stir continuously in a circular movement until yogurt thickens then reduce the heat. It is very important to stir continuously for the yogurt not to stick to the pot.

In a small skillet, fry the minced garlic and fresh coriander with the vegetable oil and add them to the yogurt. Mix well and turn off the heat.

To serve, place the shish barak dumplings in a serving dish and pour the yogurt sauce in another deep dish. It is customary to serve vermicelli rice along with it. In each individual plate, place a serving of rice and shish barak dumplings and cover with yogurt sauce.

This serving method is recommended to preserve the crunchiness of the shish barak. Another way to serve it is to add the shish barak dumplings to the yogurt sauce before serving, in which case it will lose its crunchiness.

How to make shish barak

I don’t recall meeting anyone who doesn’t like shish barak, a thin dough with meat filling in a thick yoghurt sauce. At the beginning of my vacation this year, I found my mom in the kitchen teaching my sister how to make it. I joined them and decided to do this post. The only drawback is that in order to make your life much easier, you will need the tool shown below, otherwise I know personally I would never go through the hassle. The tool is from Syria, so if you know anyone from there you might want to ask them to get you one.

How to make shish barak

This is the tool I was telling you about, instead of having to make each shish barak piece individually, like we used do when we were kids, this way you will get 30 pieces at a time.

How to make shish barak

The dough for the shish barak is very basic with no yeast.

For the dough you will need:

2cups warm water gradually added. Mix and knead.

For the meat filling you can use Kafta which is minced meat mixed with onion and parsely or you can make your own mix.

For 1/2 kilo minced meat, you will need: 1 onion finely chopped, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each all spice, black pepper, cinnamon, salt, paprika. Mix well.

Divide dough in 6 parts. Using the rolling pin flatten the dough then place on the shish barak tool.

How to make shish barak

Fill in the holes with tiny pices of kafta, remember to stay away from the edges of each hole so the edges will stick properly in the next step.

How to make shish barak

Place a second thin layer of dough above the first. Pass the rolling pin above it to make sure they stick together.

How to make shish barak

Press the rolling pin harder to make sure they shish barak will easily be cut off the tool.

How to make shish barak

Once you feel the two dough pieces are stuck together very well you can start removing the extra dough from the sides.

How to make shish barak

How to make shish barak

Now turn the tool around and tap its side hard onto a clean counter or board till they fall off.

How to make shish barak

How to make shish barak

What a beautiful sight, I surprise myself with my iPhone photos sometimes 😀 be careful not to smash any shish barak pieces, i know I did.

How to make shish barak

How to make shish barak

Don’t they look adorable? You can fry them or opt for the healthier option, spray some oil on a baking sheet and put in the oven till golden brown.

How to make shish barak

Mind the smashed shish barak.

How to make shish barak

They are now ready for the oven. Leave until golden brown.

For the yoghurt sauce, there are several recipes, but the recipe for one I like to use is:

2kg yoghurt, could be full fat or skim, your choice.

3 cloves of mashed garlic

1 Tbs corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water

Combine everything for the sauce except the mint, stir on low heat till the mixture boils and the yoghurt thickens. Add the dried mint and then the shish barak. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. You can also add small stuffed kibbeh to the shish barak and serve next to white rice.

Shish Barak Dough Ingredients (20 servings)

5 cups of multipurpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/4 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup of warm water (to melt the yeast)
1/8 teaspoon of sugar (to melt with yeast)
Meat Stuffing Ingredients (20 servings)

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 teaspoon of Lebanese 7-spices
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
2 small red onions finely chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
Some Olive Oil
Shish Barak Stew Ingredients (4 servings)

1 lb of Labneh
6 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 heaping teaspoon of dried mint powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried cilantro leaves
1 lemon (juiced)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
Note: If using Greek yogurt instead of Labneh, then use 5 cups of yogurt and 1 cup of water

Meat Stuffing Preparation Method (20 mins)

Sautee the onions with a bit of olive oil until they start turning pinkish (10 mins)

Add the ground beef, 7-spices, salt, mix well and then sautee until the beef is cooked (10 minutes)

Add the pine nuts in the last 5 minutes. The meat stuffing is now ready.

Dough Preparation Method (20 mins)

Mix the dough ingredients in a food processor (or knead with hands) and let rest for a few minutes.

When ready, place dough on kitchen counter that’s been dusted with flour, and flatten into a large disk the thickness of 2 dimes (1/8th of an inch).

Using a bottle lid (or small cookie cutter), cut the dough into disks the size of a quarter (3/4th of an inch in diameter)

Place cut dough on a plate that’s been dusted with flour

Place 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of meat stuffing in the center of each dough piece, fold edges in and close them on the meat, then pull edges around and fold them on one another, then flatten the sides to make it all look like a “hat” or ravioli.

Line up all the dumplings on a flour dusted plate

If you’re making extra dumplings for future use, lay dumplings on a flour dusted tray in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then pack them in small ziplog bags (about 7 – 8 oz each) and store back in freezer for a few months. Each bag (or 7 – 8 oz) of ready dumplings can make 4 servings.

Shish Barak Cooking Method 1, With Labneh: (40 minutes)

Pour 6 cups of water and 1 lb of labneh in a pot, mix well until all Labneh is dissolved, then place on stove over medium-low heat and keep on stirring gently until it reaches a boil, at which time you turn the heat to low.

Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic

Add the dried mint powder and cilantro leaves

Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt (to taste)

Add juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon. If you’re using goat yogurt you can skip this step.

Add the Shish Barak dumplings, bring the stew to a boil again, and then stir gently on low heat for 15-20 minutes until the shish barak dumplings are cooked.

Photo: Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe

The Arabic Food Recipes kitchen (The Home of Delicious Arabic Food Recipes) invites you to try Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe. Enjoy the good taste of Arabic Food and learn how to make Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce.

Cuisine: Arabic
Category: Levant
Serves: 6 persons
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: Cheap

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 medium onion or 125 g, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 medium tomatoes or 1 kg, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh thyme or 50 g
1 teaspoon white ground pepper
2 cubes MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon or 20 g
½ cup water or 125 ml, hot
500 g ready-made shish barak

Preparation

Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan and fry onions till translucent, add tomatoes, chopped garlic, white pepper and half of fresh zaatar leaves, MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon , Water and bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bake the shish barak in hot oven (180c) until they have a golden color (About 15 min).

Gently add the shish barak to the tomato sauce, garnish with remaining fresh zaatar Leaves.

Serve alone or on bead of white rice.

Nutritional Information

Energy : 306.00 Kcal
Protein : 10.00 g
Carbohydrate : 45.00 g
Fats : 10.00 g

More Arabic Food Recipes:

Save and Share Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe

Want to share this recipe with your family and friends? Click the button below to send them an email or save this to your favorite social network.

Photo: Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe

The Arabic Food Recipes kitchen (The Home of Delicious Arabic Food Recipes) invites you to try Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe. Enjoy the good taste of Arabic Food and learn how to make Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce.

Cuisine: Arabic
Category: Levant
Serves: 6 persons
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: Cheap

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 medium onion or 125 g, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 medium tomatoes or 1 kg, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh thyme or 50 g
1 teaspoon white ground pepper
2 cubes MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon or 20 g
½ cup water or 125 ml, hot
500 g ready-made shish barak

Preparation

Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan and fry onions till translucent, add tomatoes, chopped garlic, white pepper and half of fresh zaatar leaves, MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon , Water and bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bake the shish barak in hot oven (180c) until they have a golden color (About 15 min).

Gently add the shish barak to the tomato sauce, garnish with remaining fresh zaatar Leaves.

Serve alone or on bead of white rice.

Nutritional Information

Energy : 306.00 Kcal
Protein : 10.00 g
Carbohydrate : 45.00 g
Fats : 10.00 g

More Arabic Food Recipes:

Save and Share Shish Barak with Tomato Sauce Recipe

Want to share this recipe with your family and friends? Click the button below to send them an email or save this to your favorite social network.

How to make shish barak

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with! Mandatory Items were: Prepare some pasta by hand, without the use of motorized tools, and prepare the appropriate sauce/seasoning to go with it. The concept of “noodle” or “pasta” is being applied very loosely here, as some traditional recipes may seem closer to a dumpling than what you consider a noodle. Use your own judgment and creativity here.

This month’s challenge was all about getting your hands dirty or more accurately floury lol. Steph challenged us and encouraged us to submit examples from our own cultural backgrounds on making pasta or noodles that are cooked or served with a sauce. The first thing that came to my mind is Shish barak, which is basically a pasta stuffed with minced meat and herbs and cooked in a yogurt sauce. I know that the idea of a yogurt sauce might seem really strange but it is a staple in middle eastern cooking. Yogurt or “laban” is used as a sauce in many recipes, we cook green beans in it, stuffed zucchini and kubbeh (small pockets of bulgur stuffed with minced meat and nuts).

The yogurt sauce makes a wonderful creamy and slightly tangy background to anything cooked in it. If you have never tried it before it is really worth a try. Your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised.

How to make shish barak

For the dough

Stuffing

250 grams minced meat

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 green onion finely chopped (optional)

5-10 springs mint

1-10 springs parsley

drizzle of olive oil

Yogurt sauce

2 liters greek yogurt

drizzle olive oil

How to make shish barak

Mix the ingredients for the stuffing, set aside

To make the dough

In a bowl whisk the salt with the flour, make a well in the middle

add the egg and using a fork start mixing the egg with the flour gradually.

When the flour has taken up the egg, add water little by little until you get a firm dough (I used 1/4 cup water)

Roll out the dough untill it is a few mm thick (don’t use flour to roll the dough, use parchment paper or spread some oil on your working surface. If you use flour , some of it will be on the surface of the pasta and when you put the pasta in the yogurt the extra flour will thicken the sauce too quickly. That will not give enough time for the dough or the stuffing to cook)

How to make shish barak

Stuffing

Using a small cup or any round shaped thing cup circles out of the dough

Place some stuffing into the circle them close it to form a crescent, make sure you seal the dough well (pinch the edges together several times)

How to make shish barak

How to make shish barak

take one side of the crescent and fold it over the other to form the shape you see in the picture

How to make shish barak

Cover the ones you finish with a clean cloth until you finish the rest

To make the yogurt sauce

Beat the yogurt with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt in the food processor or blender until it becomes liquid and smooth

How to make shish barak

Pour the yogurt into a pot, add the leftover stuffing to it.

on medium heat stir the yogurt none stop until it comes to a boil.(if you stop stirring the yogurt sauce will split into two layers, if than happens you have to beat it again and then reboil it)

How to cook the pasta

How to make shish barak

When the yogurt comes to a boil, start adding the pasta one by one while stirring gently

Once you have added all the pasta leave it to cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally

You will notice that when the pasta is cooked through it will float to the surface.

How to make shish barak

Pour into serving plate and decorate with chopped mint and some fried almonds