These Middle Eastern homemade meat-stuffed dumplings are to die for! They are the ultimate comfort food and every minute that goes into making these are well worth it. Shish Barak can be considered the ravioli of Arabic cuisine; they look just like them except the stuffing must be minced meat and the sauce it is cooked in is yogurt-based to be considered traditional. Often, ground beef or lamb or even a mixture is used to make this hearty meal.
Making the filling and the dough is the easiest part. It is the tedious repetition of making the dumplings by hand. First, you have to lay the dough flat and then cut into equal circles then stuff then shape. Repeat. So, yes making these are time-consuming but they are great to make with friends or family as an activity that you get to enjoy later. They are so worth it too!
These also freeze really well. You can go ahead and make two batches of the dough and freeze 1-2 batches depending on the size of your family. This way, you have a quick meal to go back to stashed right in the freezer which is also perfect for Ramadan.
Why I make Shish Barak:
My grandmother is the one who showed me many years ago how to make this or what shish barak even was. My mom never really made it growing up but after my grandmother introduced my siblings and me to it; we were hooked. My mom had no choice but to make it for us after my grandmother traveled back to Palestine. Let’s just say my mom made them once every 5 years if that!
Now, more than ever with being home and craving comfort and nostalgia; I had to make this dish myself from A-Z. I wanted to document it and share it with the many others I know want to learn this dish but can’t find the resources to do so. So, here it is; the best recipe for traditional shish barak. I hope you enjoy!
- 3 cups All purpose flour
- 1 tbsp Milk powder optional
- 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup Vegetable oil
- 1 cup Water
- 1 lb Ground Beef ground lamb can be used or a mixture of both
- 1/3 cup Pine nuts toasted in olive oil
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 cup Parsley
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tbsp Seven spice or allspice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 32 oz Plain yogurt do not use greek yogurt.
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Corn starch
- 2 cups Water may need more
- 1 head Garlic crushed
- 3 tbsp Dried Mint crushed
- First, prepare the dough by combining all the ingredients together with a kitchenaid with the paddle attachment or by hand. Initially pour the cup of water a little at a time. Cover and let it rest for 30 min as you prepare the filling.
- In a food processor, add the onion, garlic, and parsely from the meat filling and pulse. Add this mixture to the beef and saute in a pan with the seasonings. Cook till browned well. Add toasted pine nuts to the filling as well. Set aside.
- Once the dough is ready, cut the ball in half and roll out each half thinly. About 1 inch thick. Cut small circles into the dough using a cookie cutter or a small coffee cup. Spread out each circle and add 1 tsp of beef filling onto one side of the circle. Shape like an empanada pinching at the seams. Then pinch the ends of the dumpling together or overlap them to look like tortellini. Repeat this step until all the dough is done.
- Place the dumplings onto a nonstick pan sprayed with olive oil. Bake in a 400 F oven for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Feel free to broil for a minute for more color.
- At this point, once the dumplings are cooled you can place them in a ziplock and freeze them for another meal.
- Let's work on the yogurt sauce. Add the yogurt, corn starch, salt, and water to a blender.
- Add this mixture to a pot and place on medium heat. Keep mixing until the sauce starts to thicken about 10-15 min until it boils. If you want it thickened more, add a ladle of the yogurt sauce into a bowl and add more corn starch to it and stir. Place back into the pot to thicken it. I like my yogurt thick enough to coat a spoon.
- Once at the consistency you prefer, add the dumplings and cook for 10 minutes together. They should be floating to thr top.
- In a pan, saute the garlic in olive oil until crisp. Add this to the yogurt sauce and garnish with dried mint as well. Enjoy warm!