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Shish Barak
Lebanese Meat Dumplings in Yogurt Soup

 Shish Barak - Lebanese Meat Dumplings

Shish Barak is a traditional Arabic dumpling dish that is very popular in Lebanon and Palestine. The dumplings contain beef and spices; they are cooked in a tangy yogurt sauce or soup. The dough for the dumplings is the same dough that is used for Italian ravioli, but wonton wrappers from an Asian market work just as well and save a lot of work.

Ingredients:
   Dumplings:
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp allspice powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste
wonton wrappers or thinly rolled out dough made from 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of water.

   Sauce:
4 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

Dumplings: Heat the oil in a skillet, and saute the onions until translucent. Add the beef and spices and stir until nicely browned and cooked through. Allow to cool. Form the dumplings by placing some filling on a piece of dough, moistening the edges of the dough with a little water and then pressing to close the dumpling.

Soup: Whisk the water, cornstarch, and egg white and add them to a cold pot. Add the yogurt, and start heating the pot while continuing to whisk and stir the mixture. It is important to stir constantly until the soup starts boiling to prevent curdling. Once the yogurt sauce is boiling, add the dumplings. The dough of the dumplings will cook in approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

While the yogurt is boiling, fry the chopped garlic in oil, until it takes a golden color. Add the fried garlic and oil to the yogurt soup. Mix and serve.

Some people prefer to steam the dumplings separately and then add them to the soup, or if a thicker dough is used, the dumplings are baked and then placed on the soup once it has been served.

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