shishbarak shish barak

Shishbarak شيش برك


Shishbarak, or shushbarak, or joshpara is a kind of middle eastern dumpling. It is made of unleavened dough filled with ground meat and cooked in coriander flavored yoghurt sauce. Each region has its differences and today I am sharing my mothers recipe.

The dough is super simple and very straight forward, using plain white flour or a mix of wheat and white flour.

In our house we prefer using ground beef for the filling, but if you prefer lamb feel free to use it, or you can mix beef and lamb. Whatever you prefer.

Once the shishbarak dumplings are ready, some people like to give them a quick roast in the oven before they add them in to the yoghurt sauce. My mom though didn’t do that. We like our shishbarak chewy and soft, therefore we never actually roasted ours. We simply add them to the sauce and cook them in it.



  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup water (plus, minus 1 tablespoon)

Beef Filling:

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • ¼ kg minced beef
  • Salt, pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom

Yoghurt sauce:

  • 1 kilo yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml water
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • Olive oil

*Start by making the dough. Mix the flour, salt and the tablespoon of olive oil together. The addition of the oil, will help with spreading the dough.

*Pour in the water gradually until the dough is not sticky and you are able to kneed it easily. You might need a tablespoon more of water or maybe less, all depending on the absorption of the flour you’re using. If the dough is too sticky, add a sprinkle of flour until it is not.

*When you’re done kneading the dough, place it in a slightly greased bowl and cover, leaving it to rest for 30 minutes. If you skip the resting part it will be really difficult to spread the dough, it will keep bouncing back.

*Meanwhile make the beef filling. In a hot pan saute the finely chopped onions until golden, drop in the minced beef and saute until it changes color.

*Add the spices to the meat and leave it to cook. It doesn’t take long. When cooked, place it in a bowl to cool down enough for you to handle it.

*Back to the dough. Once it is fully rested we can start working with it. Flour your surface, place the dough in the middle and sprinkle some flour on the top to stop it from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll it out until it is thin enough to handle without tearing. Around 2-3mm. If you like your shishbarak chewy like we do, you can make it a little thicker.

*Use a cookie cutter or a small cup to  cut the dough into small circles no larger than 5cm in diameter, the smaller the circle the cuter they will look.  

*Now fill every circle with a small amount of the cooked minced meat, close it by pinching the sides together forming a moon shape, then bring the edges together to make a full ring. It should look almost like a tortellini.

*Make the whole batch and keep them aside. What is extra and you’re not going to cook on the same day, you can dust them with some flour, allow them to dry then freeze them in a zip look bag. Just make sure no two shishbaraks are overlapping because they will stick together.

*Now you make the sauce. In a pan whisk 1 kilo of yoghurt with 1 tablespoon corn starch, salt and water. All room temperature, if you add starch to hot yoghurt it will lump and not thicken.

*Heat the pan on medium heat, whisking all along until it boils. Now drop in the shishbarak rings one by one, lower the heat and leave. DO NOT mix. When they float on top of the yoghurt it means they are done. This should take around 15-20 minutes max.

* In another small pan, add 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, the crushed garlic and heat. When you smell the garlic add in the chopped coriander (cilantro). Your kitchen should smell pretty aromatic right about now. This is one of the dearest aromas to my heart. It smells like my moms’ kitchen when I was a child.

*Now that the coriander is hot and aromatic, pour the oil, garlic and coriander mixture on to the yoghurt sauce once you turn off the heat.   

*Serve while still hot with some cooked rice and enjoy.




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