Lebanese-style dumplings in yoghurt soup with silverbeet

Lebanese-style dumplings in yoghurt soup with silverbeet

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

This ancient dish, chiche barak, has its roots in pre-Islamic Persia and is thought to have been introduced to Lebanon by the Ottomans. Traditionally, it is served with rice and makes a hearty meal. We find the dumplings quite filling, and prefer to serve them in a soup. They are partially baked in the oven, which gives a rustic, rather chewy result. If you prefer a smoother, more refined dumpling, poach them in water for 5 minutes before finishing the cooking in the soup.

Lamb dumplings


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
200g lean lamb, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
36 round white wonton wrappers

Yoghurt soup

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bunch silverbeet, leaves roughly chopped
1 red bullet chilli, seeded, scraped and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
250ml good-quality chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
500g natural yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
50ml water
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten


  1. To make the dumpling filling, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the lamb and continue to sauté, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Add the spices and season lightly with salt and pepper. When the juices have evaporated, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts. Set aside and leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges and fold over into a crescent shape. Use your fingers to press the edges together and seal well. Arrange the dumplings on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes until very lightly browned, but not cooked through.
  3. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic until they soften. Add the silverbeet, chilli, allspice, chicken stock and lemon juice and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes, until the silverbeet is tender.
  4. To stabilise the yoghurt, tip into a large bowl and stir briskly until smooth. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the yoghurt with the egg. Stir well, then tip into the hot silverbeet mixture. Lower the heat and cook, stirring in one direction only, for about 10 minutes, or until the soup has thickened. Add the dumplings and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
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