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Shishbarak (meat dumplings in yohurt sauce)

These dumplings stuffed with ground meat and onion and enrobed in a soft dough and cooked in yogurt sauce are the ultimate Levantine comfort food.
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 5 cm cookie cutter


For the filling

  • 300 g ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Salma’s spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking

For the dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the yogurt sauce

  • 1 kg yogurt
  • 2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 100 ml water
  • ¼ cup cooking cream
  • 1 tbsp ghee can also be replaced with butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced



  • To make the filling, heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft.
  • Add the meat, salt and spice and continue stirring until it cooks fully. Make sure the liquid has evaporated. If there is too much liquid, strain the filling. Leave to cool completely.


  • Place flour and salt in a bowl. Start by adding ½ cup of water and keep adding the rest of the water gradually until it is no longer sticky.
  • Add oil towards the end of the kneading and knead until soft and smooth.
  • Cover and leave to rest for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough to make it 2 mm thick and use a 5 cm cookie dough to cut out the circles. Try to minimize the waste and cut the circles as close to each other as possible.
  • Add ½ tsp of filling or so to the center of each circle. Fold the circle over to make a crescent shape and makes sure the edges are sealed properly.
  • Fold the right side over the left side and pinch them together to create a little tortellini shaped dumpling. The recipe makes around 90 pieces.
  • Arrange dumplings in a sheet pan and bake in pre-heated 180°C oven for 7 minutes.
  • At this point the dumplings can be frozen if desired to be used later.

Yogurt sauce

  • Dissolve the corn starch in water.
  • Add yogurt and corn starch mixture to a pan. Whisk until very smooth and shiny (2 minand then cook on medium heat.
  • Keep whisking until it simmers, otherwise the yogurt sauce will split.
  • Add the cooking cream and whisk for 1 min until fully incorporated.
  • Add dumplings and cook for 10 – 12 minutes. Taste to make sure they are cooked through.
  • In a saucepan, heat ghee and add garlic and cilantro. Sauté slightly, for a min or so and add on shishbarak right before serving.
  • Serve with vermicelli rice.