Shish Barak recipe from Lina Saad’s new cook bookAdvertisement
Having won the prestigious ‘Best of the Best’ Gourmand award last week, award-winning food author Lina Saad shares an exclusive recipe from her latest book, Turath Lubnah, or Lebanon’s Heritage, available now on Kindle Amazon (paperback coming soon).
‘Shish’ is a Turkish word meaning: many pieces of meat arranged on a plate or skewer. Shish Barak is a dumpling stuffed with ground beef or lamb and some spices, and cooked in a yoghurt sauce. It is a popular dish across the Middle Eastern region of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.
While she’s sampled Shish Barak across the UK and in many restaurants, “it’s not the same traditional, authentic, folkloric dish that enchants you to eat”. This particular recipe has been handed down to her from her grandmother, with the dumplings deep fried and served with rice and warm tasteless yoghurt (unlike restaurants who serve it with yoghurt flavoured with garlic!).
- 2 cups of water
- 6 cups of natural yoghurt
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled cloves and crushed finely
- 4tbsp American or easy cook rice
- 4tbsp corn flour
- 1tbsp dry mint
- Handful of toasted pine nuts with a tbsp of butter
- Salt according to taste
- Sprinkle of smoked paprika
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- Sprinkle of Salt
- cup of warm water
- 300g ground beef or minced lamb,
- 2 onions peeled finely chopped.
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon, season to taste
- Dash of vegetable oil
- Handful of pine nuts
- Mix the flour, salt and the warm water and knead until it becomes a soft dough.
- Keep the dough covered in a warm place to rest while you get cracking with the stuffing.
- Add a dash of vegetable oil into a pan and toss the pine nuts until semi golden and then place on a kitchen towel to rest.
- Add the finely chopped onions with a dash of salt and let is sweat until semi golden, add the minced lamb and let them all cook until the meat is thoroughly cooked.
- You can now season with more salt according to taste, cinnamon and black pepper. Add the pine nuts and mix all together and set aside in a sieve or colander to get rid of all the fluids.
- The dough should be ready by now, sprinkle your work top with some flour and stretch the dough with the pin as flat as possible.
- Apply mini circles with your smallest round cookie cutter and add a teaspoon full of the lamb mixture or stuffing in the middle.
- Apply some flour to your fingertips and close the dough firmly half way through like a crescent shape, now bring together two ends and so it looks rounded in shape with a little hole in the middle.
- Place them neatly with slight space between them and now you may either deep fry them for couple of minutes or leave them raw. My grandmother used to leave them raw and just cook through the cooked yoghurt where the dough becomes slightly gooey and the lamb is melting in your mouth against the cooling minty and garlic yoghurt. Others on the other hand, prefer it cooked meaning deep fried or baked in the oven until semi golden and then cooked through the yoghurt. I love both and I don’t mind whichever way but when its dumpling then to my opinion it must be cooked raw through the boiling liquid.
- In a bowl mix the corn flour with the water until all melted through, add the yoghurt and mix until the liquid is all even and smooth.
- Add the rice, crushed garlic and salt and pour the mixture into a deep pot and place on heat. You have to constantly stir the yoghurt mix until it starts boiling gently and then keep stirring and reduce the heat.
- Once the rice is thoroughly cooked which you can check with a spoon, then add in the dumplings gradually one after the other (whether raw or cooked) and add the dry mint.
- Let it all simmer on gentle heat for about 15 minutes and then serve in deep bowls or plates.
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