Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arabic tortellini cooked in a yogurt soup- SHISHBARAK

So, the other day my youngest son asked me to make some of that meat filled small dough circles with a hole that are cooked in a white soup. I immediately knew what he was talking about, but was a little surprised, because he never liked the dish- SHISHBARAK. But I think that the memories of the time the dish was cooked and served, tricked his mind to thinking that he just loves shishbarak. 

It was so long ago I last cooked this dish; back in Jordan, in 2006. We had a nice family gathering with my three sisters-in-law and children. Aren’t family gatherings the best!!!!!!!! Everybody was working together in the kitchen, children running around, always thirsty or hungry or playing together or in dispute with each other- good times, good times.

Ingredients for dough:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water

Directions for dough:
In a big enough bowl, mix together flour, salt, and dry milk. Add vinegar to the water and pour the mixture over dry ingredients. Knead until dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. Sometimes, I have to add more flour if the dough is too sticky; other times more water if the dough is too dry. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest on a counter top for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for filling:
1 cup ground beef
1 medium onion, grated
5 cloves garlic, grated
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp crushed chili peppers
3 tbsp olive oil

Directions for filling:
Into a hot skillet, pour olive oil and sauté onions and garlic with salt, black pepper, and chili peppers for about 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add meat and let it brown. Transfer the filling onto a plate and let it cool down completely.

Dust the baking board lightly with flour. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll the first part into a 0.2 inch (5 mm) thick rectangle. With a 2 inch cutter, cut circles out of dough.

Fill each circle with 1 tsp of filling and press on the edge to close into a half circle. Now pinch the two ends of the half circle together to form a loop- you made your fist shishbarak.

Put aside on a lightly floured plate on cutting board.

Re-knead the remaining dough together into a ball and put aside to rest and start working with the second part of the dough. Continue the process until you are done with the filling.

Now is time to make the yogurt soup. 

Ingredients for soup:
2 pounds of plain yogurt
1 tbsp corn starch
1 egg
3 cups water
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tbsp grinded dry mint

Directions for soup:
In a small bowl lightly beat the egg. Add 5 tbsp of yogurt, corn starch, salt, ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, and mix all together into a slurry.

Into a big enough pot (take into the consideration that you will add the shishbarak to cook in the yogurt soup), pour yogurt, water, corn starch slurry, and mix with a hand whisk to combine.

Put the pot over medium heat and stir constantly until it starts to boil. It is very important to stir yogurt soup constantly, otherwise it will come apart, just like when making cheese and you get curd and whey.

When the soup starts boiling and the first bubbles form on the surface, carefully add shishbarak to the soup; stir between additions to prevent the shishbarak sticking on the bottom of the pot.

Cook for 7 minutes after the soup starts to boil again. Remove from heat, add dry mint, and stir to combine.

If you like, you can lightly brown 2 cloves of garlic in 3 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tsp of dry mint, and pour the mixture over the cooked shishbarak dish. It is a nice garnish and it adds some smoked garlicky-minty flavor to the dish.


  1. It looks absolutely fabulous!

    I’ve an award for you (One Lovely Blog Award), Please feel free to drop by and pick it up

  2. This is my favourite dish in the whole world but I'm too impatient (lazy) to make it! My dad made it for me last time I went home, but then he ruined it by putting cilantro/coriander on top - I HATE cilantro! I actually cried. I might try to make it one day soon - if so, I'll come back here and use your recipe - thanks! :-)

  3. I'm glad you like it Ruby! Thank you for stopping by ^_^

  4. Im sure I would love this dish :) But i really wouldnt have patience to make those little tortellinis :) I have to admit this is one of those things that I usually buy instead of making myself.. :)
    You did a great job Mateja :)

  5. I would love to make a veggie version of these they look so delicious! What filling would you suggest? Lentils & Feta, would that work?

  6. Thank you Medeja!
    Lentils and feta sounds great, I would add some dry Greek oregano or thyme to boost up the flavor or some decadent mushroom filling would be great too :)

  7. What a fabulous dish! Sounds more interesting than the italian version, indeed!