How to Make Low-Fat Shish Barak: Kafta Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce

  • on July 13, 2018

The Lebanese Kafta Dumplings in Hot Yogurt Sauce

The Shish Barak 

A Low-Fat Recipe of 8 gr Fat Per Portion Only


Shish Barak is one of the most loved traditional dishes in Lebanon, like our other dishes in hot yogurt sauce. The culinary preparation of the yogurt here is the almost the same of the Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt Sauce, the Kibbeh Labnieh, the Kafta Labnieh and so on.

We have a particular love for dishes cooked in hot Yogurt Sauce. They are soothing to the stomach, fulfilling, and… mood relaxing. They carry the fragrance of family home.

The origin of the Shish Barak, as dumpling, is traced back to the Joshpara of ancient Persia. It remains debatable on that researches can’t yet figure out the term para. Would that be a connotation to Barak which derives from Barakah, or blessing in our language?

Our recipe in method and components differ from the Persian one that is said to have spread through the Balkans and Russia, developing in different versions through the centuries. In any case, the dumpling per se is a culinary preparation known to Asia and the Middle East. That, we all agree about. 🙂



The stuffing is made of Kafta meat, which is a mixture of seasoned Lean ground beef, chopped onions and parsley. The Kafta is sold at Lebanese Supermarkets, or can be done at home.

For our recipe here, we are using raw Kafta. The dumplings are done thin and small, baked in the oven for 20 minutes, then dropped in the boiling yogurt sauce for 5-10 minutes. Our famous yogurt sauce is made of plain yogurt, cornstarch, Tahini paste, and our traditional cilantro-garlic mixture.

Lebanese Rice vermicelliWe serve the Shish Barak hot over Vermicelli Rice. Some sight variations exist for this recipe as per individual preferences. It is mainly with the addition of fried or toasted Pine Kernels at the end of the preparation, which I am including in my recipe here.

NOTE: The Shish Barak Dumplings can be prepared in quantity, and stored in the fridge for up to two months. You can go ahead and increase the quantity of my recipe, and freeze some for later.


Shish Barak in Yogurt Sauce

Low-fat: 6 gr fat per portion

Course Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Brown Rice Flour, Cornstarch, Garlic, Kafta meat, Plain Yogurt, Tahini Paste, Vermicelli Rice, White Pepper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 1 cup Flour
  • 200 gr Kafta Meat, lean, raw
  • 1/2 cup Water (warm
  • 2 tbsps Vegetable Oil

For the Labnieh: Yogurt Sauce (Group 2)

  • 1 Kg Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch melted in little water.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 portion Garlic-Cilantro Mixture please refer to my recipe; link above.
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp White pepper

To Garnish

  • 1 tsp Pine Kernels toasted


  • Rolling Pin
  • Non-Stick Baking Tray oiled lightly
  • small cookie cutter (or very small cup)


  1. Mix the flour with salt and oil, using your finger tips, until grainy texture. Gradually add the water, and knead the dough. Cover with a dampened kitchen towel, and set aside for the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat your oven at 250 Celsius.

    Dust flour on your counter and work the dough, extending it thinly with the rolling pin. Using a small cookie cutter, cut the dough into 50 equal rondelles.

    Divide the Kafta meat into 50 miniature balls, and place each on a rondelle of dough.

    Fold the dough in two over the Kafta, and press the borders together. Bring the sides together, and press the tips together into what looks like a small hat (or flying saucer!). Repeat the process for each rondelles, placing them on the baking tray as you go on.

    Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until they turn yellowish.

Making the Yogurt Sauce

  1. In a large casserole, mix the yogurt and cornstarch liquid. Stir in all the remaining ingredients of the Labnieh  (Group 2). Mix well, and turn on the heat under the casserole to Medium.

    Keep stirring gently non-stop until the yogurt starts bubbling or boiling. Gently drop in the Shish Barak rondelles. Stir for 5 minutes, and turn off the heat. 

Serving: Hot

  1. Transfer the Shish Barak into a Soup Serving Plate, and sprinkle the Pine Kernels at the surface. 

    At consumption time, serve in individual soup plates, starting with the rice vermicelli, and pouring the Shish Barak on the rice. 

    To Your Good Health, Enjoy!

To Your Good Health, Cheers!


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