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Chiche barak Lebanese-style dumplings in yoghurt soup with silverbeet

This ancient dish has its roots in pre-Islamic Persia and is thought to have been introduced to Lebanon by the Ottomans. Silverbeet is commonly known in the UK as chard

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27 AUGUST 2009

Ingredients (serves 8)

For the lamb dumplings

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g lean lamb, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 36 round wonton wrappers

Yoghurt soup
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 bunch silverbeet, leaves only, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bullet chilli, seeded, scraped and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 500g plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tbs cornflour
  • 50ml water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

For the dumplings heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic till soft. Add the lamb and continue to saute, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper.

When the juices have evaporated, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pine nuts. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges and fold over to form a crescent shape. Use your fingers to press the edges together and seal well.

Arrange the dumplings on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook for 15 minutes until lightly browned but not cooked through.

To make the soup, heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onion and garlic until soft.

Add the silverbeet, chilli, allspice, chicken stock and lemon juice and cook for about 20 minutes over a gentle heat, until the silverbeet is tender.

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