Ramadan recipe of the day: Syrian comfort food, Shish Barak

This dish is a little time consuming, but makes for a delicious and satisfying meal


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 26 Mar 2023, 2:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Mar 2023, 2:53 PM

For Syrian expat Faten, Ramadan isn’t complete without Shish Barak. It is especially popular in the first few days of the holy month. “On the first day of Ramadan we have a white dish with yogurt as a tradition,” she said. Faten recalls sitting around the table with her mother and brothers helping prepare the meat dumplings for the time-consuming dish. “It is one of the most precious memories of my life,” she said. Now living in Ajman with her parents, Faten says the dish instantly transports her back to her childhood.

Shish Barak


Dumpling Dough

6 cups flour

2.5 cups water

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp yeast (optional)

1/8 tsp sugar

1tsp olive oil

Meat filling

1 kg ground beef (can be substituted with chicken)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 onions grated (red or white can be used)

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 tsp Lebanese allspice

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

Yoghurt sauce

4 cups Yoghurt (strained)

12 cups water (save from cooking dumplings)

2 cloves garlic crushed

6 tbsp butter

¼ cup pine nuts

1 tbsp mint powder

1 tbsp chilli flakes

1/2 tsp dried cilantro leaves

1/2 tsp salt


To prepare the meat filling

Sauté the onions with a bit of olive oil until they start turning translucent

Add the ground beef, spices and salt. Mix well and cook on low to medium flame until the beef is well-cooked

Add in the pine nuts, mix well and then take it off the flame to cool down.

To prepare the dumpling

If using yeast, let it bloom in ½ cup warm water with sugar.

Knead the dough ingredients. If using yeast, add it and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. If not, continue to step 3.

Turn dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Cut it in half and cover one half with a kitchen towel.

Roll out the other half into a large sheet with the thickness roughly 1/6th to 1/8th of an inch.

Using a cookie cutter or small glass to cut discs out. Reroll and continue cutting out the discs until all the dough is used up.

Take one disc, place 1 tsp of filling and seal the disc in a half-moon shape. Bring both ends of the half-moon together to form the shape of a hat or tortellini.

The discs can be made in bulk to be frozen and stored for later use. To do so, freeze the dumplings on a flat tray and then store in ziplock bags

Now boil 12 cups of water and cook the dumplings by boiling for 2-3 minutes or until it floats to the top. Drain the dumplings.

To prepare yoghurt sauce

Reserve the water from cooking the dumplings and add the yoghurt into it until completely dissolved.

On low heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Add crushed garlic, mint powder, chilli flakes, dried cilantro and salt. Once well combined, add in the dumplings. Fold gently and take it off the heat.

In a separate pan, add in the butter and toast the pine nuts. Garnish the Shish Barak with the nuts and serve hot.


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