Shish Barak

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serve

    Six to Eight


Appears in

Classic Palestinian Cuisine

Classic Palestinian Cuisine

By Christiane Dabdoub Nasser

Published 2000

  • About

In Palestine shish barak is served in soup. In many areas it goes by the name dinen l‘ktat, the cats’ ears, and they look very much like tortellini. It is very important to have ultra-thin dough and the best way to spread it is by using a pasta machine. The traditional stuffing consists of minced meat browned with spices. I have tried adding grated celery and carrots to the meat with excellent results. The following recipe yields about 100 bites of shish barak and should serve six to eight persons.


For the dough

  • 250 g (9 oz) white flour
  • tsp salt
  • ½ cup water

For the stuffing

  • 200 g (7 oz) minced lean beef
  • 2 tbs soft butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 celery stalk, grated (optional)
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)

For the soup

  • 2 cups meat broth
  • 4 cups unflavoured yoghurt
  • 2 tbs cornflour
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


Mix the flour with the salt and add the water gradually, each time mixing it with the flour thoroughly until all the water is absorbed. Knead and turn the dough until you get a thick smooth consistency. Set aside to rest while you prepare the stuffing.

Brown the meat in the hot oil or butter and add the salt and spices. A few minutes before removing from the heat add the grated celery and carrot and turn twice and remove. Let it cool.

If you have a pasta machine, set it to give you the thinnest dough and roll the dough through according to instructions. Otherwise spread a generous quantity of flour on your worktable and roll out half the dough until you get a very thin opaque sheet. Cut it with a 6 cm (2 in) cutter. Taking one circle of dough at a time, spoon out a scant teaspoon of the stuffing onto the dough, pull the top end over the lower end and seal the semi-circle with your thumb and index finger. Join the two ends of the semi-circular stuffed dough so as to obtain rounded tortellini. Put to dry on a floured tray or a tabak, a wicker tray. Repeat the same with all the dough; cover the shish barak and leave to dry for a few hours until cooking time. If you think the quantity is more than you need immediately, put in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to three weeks.

Heat the meat stock to boiling point. In a bowl, mix the cornflour in two cups of the yoghurt and gradually add some of the stock while stirring slowly. Add to the pot and repeat with the remaining yoghurt, ladling some soup and mixing it well before adding it to the pot; this will prevent the yoghurt from curdling in the hot soup. Cook for 10 minutes then add the shish barak a few at a time, cook for another 20 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Season to taste and serve very hot.