Shish barak

Shish barak

I’ve had this recipe in my iPhone for over a year now. I remember flicking through cook books at Miss K’s place in London last year and photographed a few pages to add to my “I’ll make it one day” pile of recipes. Do I remember the name of the cookbook? Sadly not. Anyone that’s spent more than five minutes on this website may soon enough realise I have a penchant for the dumplings and something like shish barak is right up my alley.

Making your own pastry is the preferable way to go but to be honest I’d probably try wonton wrappers next time I rustle up these savoury little dumplings. Less work and a slightly finer pastry could be a good thing.

A recent purchase of a yoghurt maker had me lumped with a substantial amount of natural yoghurt, so the first thing I decided to try with it was this creamy and savoury recipe that’s perfect for a dinner starter or component to an elaborate Middle Eastern feast.

Shish barak recipe

shish barak

makes about 34 dumplings and serves 4-6


  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g clarified butter, melted
  • 40 g clarified butter, extra, for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated, for serving
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped


  • 20 g clarified butter, to brush
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 250 g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp ground allspice (pimento)

yoghurt sauce:

  • 3 cups natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten


For the dough, place flour and 1 tsp salt into a mixing bowl and add ¾ cup water a little at a time, combining until the mixture forms a dough. Cover with plastic and allow to sit for ½ hour.

For the filling, melt the clarified butter in a frying pan and cook the onion over medium heat until soft. Add the pine nuts and allow them to brown, stirring constantly. Increase the heat to high and add the mince and allspice, stirring until the mince browns. Season to taste and allow to cool.

Preheat oven 190°C and lightly grease a baking tray.

Roll the dough on a floured surface to about 4 mm and cut into 6 cm rounds using a drinking glass or cutter. Place a teaspoon of the meat mixture into the centre of each round, fold the round in half to form a crescent, pressing the edges together to seal. Wrap the crescent around one finger to form a hat (tortellini) shape and press the ends together.

Arrange on the baking tray, brush lightly with clarified butter and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Place the yoghurt in a large saucepan. Combine the cornflour with 1½ cups water and stir until smooth, then add it to the yoghurt with the egg white and 2 tsp salt. Cook the yoghurt mixture over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly.

Add the dumplings to the yoghurt, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not boil the sauce.

Prior to serving, melt the 40 g clarified butter in a small pan and fry the grated garlic gently. Add the chopped mint and remove from the heat.

To serve, arrange the dumplngs on individual plates and drizzle over the yoghurt sauce. Pour the butter over the dumplings and serve with cooked rice.

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