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Vegan Shish Barak (Meat Dumplings)


This hearty Arabic dish is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy for Iftar during Ramadan. Meat dumplings stewed in a minty garlic cilantro yoghurt sauce. Here’s how you can make vegan Shish Barak:

Meat Dumplings stewed in minty garlic cilantro yoghurt sauce.
Vegan Shish Barak | Meat Dumplings Yoghurt Stew

ABOUT THE RECIPE

  • Hearty yoghurt stew with dumplings
  • Meatless take with simple accessible alternatives
  • Comfort food for Ramadan
  • Freezer-friendly to prep ahead
Shish Barak yoghurt sauce with dumplings
Meatless Shish Barak

WHAT IS SHISH BARAK?

A popular yoghurt stew originating from Syria, and making its way across the Arab cuisine. These dumplings are stuffed with a flavourful meat filling, with toasted pine nuts and parsley. It’s a cozy dish that’s often enjoyed for Iftar during Ramadan.

Meat Dumplings stewed in minty garlic cilantro yoghurt sauce.
Arabic Meat Dumplings Stewed in Yoghurt

This plant based take on the Shish Barak is no different than the original!
Made with a simple meat alternative to replace the ground beef filling.

Baked dumplings stuffed with meatless filling.
Shish Barak Meat Dumplings

It’s quite the process to get this beloved dish on your table, but it’s worth every minute that goes into making it. You can make a big batch of the dumplings, and freeze them (before baking) to have on hand for later. It takes about 15 minutes to have them cooked and stewed in the yoghurt sauce. Prep them ahead of time to make during busy Ramadan nights.


BEST MEAT ALTERNATIVES

Shish Barak is traditionally made with ground beef. To replace it, you can simply use a store-bought mock meat alternative (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, LightLife, etc.), or make your own at home:

Shish Barak meatless filling with toasted pine nuts and parsley.
Meatless Ground Beef Filling

This vegan Shish Barak recipe uses an affordable and accessible meat replacement to ground beef.

TVP | Textured Vegetable Protein
Rehydrated in vegetable broth, then browned in a pan with onions, seven spice, toasted pine nuts, and fresh parsley. Watch the video tutorial below to see how you can make yours.


INGREDIENTS YOU NEED

For The Dough:

  1. Flour

  2. Sugar

  3. Salt

  4. Vegetable oil

  5. Water
Shish Barak dough
Shish Barak Dough

For The Meatless Filling:

  1. TVP | Textured Vegetable Protein: dry crumbles

  2. Onions

  3. Seven spice

  4. Pine nuts

  5. Parsley
Shish Barak meatless filling with toasted pine nuts and parsley.
Shish Barak Filling

For The Yoghurt Sauce:

  1. Plant Yoghurt: oat-based works great

  2. Tahini: not traditionally used, but adds extra creaminess

  3. Cornstarch

  4. Olive oil

  5. Garlic

  6. Cilantro

  7. Dried mint

  8. Salt and pepper – adjust to taste
Shish Barak yoghurt sauce ingredients
Shish Barak Yoghurt Sauce

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Let’s break the recipe into 3 main parts:

(1) Making the Dough

  • Add flour, sugar, salt, and oil to a bowl. Gradually whisk in the water. Knead by hand until smooth and not very sticky.
  • Sprinkle flour on a clean countertop. Cut the dough in half and cover one-half back in the bowl. Roll out the other half into a thin rectangle.
  • Using a small coffee cup, or any circle lid, press down then twist to cut it off. Remove and cover the rest of the dough under a clean towel.
Shish Barak dough
Dough cut out into mini circles

(2) Making the Meatless Filling

  • Rehydrate the TVP in vegetable broth, per package instructions.
  • Sauté onions and garlic in a hot pan with olive oil.
  • Add in the TVP. Cook until lightly browned. Remove into a bowl.
  • Toast the pine nuts then return the cooked TVP mixture to the pan. Stir with parsley then set aside for later.
  • Hold up the dough circle in hand, between the palm and fingers. Add 1 teaspoon of the filling to the centre of the bottom side. Fold over the top side, while pinching the edge of the circle.
  • It should look like half a moon. Gently push in with your thumb, making both ends closer. Place one end over the other. Pinch to seal. Cover under a clean towel while working on the rest.

(3) Making the yoghurt Sauce

  • Whisk plant yoghurt, tahini, and water in a saucepan. Adding cornstarch last. Whisk in the water gradually.
  • Add the garlic to a separate pan with oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Add this mixture back to the saucepan.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, and mint. Whisk in more water to thin down. Add the dumplings to finish off.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Watch this step-by-step tutorial for the video recipe:


MORE RAMADAN RECIPES

Check out some of our favourite recipes to make during Ramadan. Try this cozy Tomato Vermicelli Soup or fancy upside down rice dish called Makloubeh. Find more Ramadan recipes to enjoy during the month here.

Bowl of Tomato Vermicelli Soup.
Tomato Vermicelli Soups
Platter of Makloubeh (layered rice dish).
Vegan Makloubeh | Flipped Palestinian Rice

SHISH BARAK RECIPE

If you have any questions about this recipe, or gave it a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Remember to rate the recipe with ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This will help us sustain Plant Based Arab.

Snap a photo of your dish, and tag us on Instagram @PlantBasedArab, so we can see and share your remake!

Vegan Shish Barak (Meat Dumplings)

Recipe by Waseem HijaziCourse: Dinner, IftarCuisine: Arab, Middle Eastern, RamadanDifficulty: Intermediate
Servings

30

dumplings
Prep time

1

hour 

30

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

2

hours 

This hearty Arabic dish is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy during Ramadan. Meat dumplings stewed in a minty garlic cilantro yoghurt sauce. Here’s how you can make vegan Shish Barak:

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups (330g) all purpose flour

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup (50ml) vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water, room temperature

  • For the Meatless Filling:
  • 1/4 cup dry TVP crumbles

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 2 tsp seven spices, divided

  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

  • 1/4 bunch of curly parsley, finely chopped

  • For the Yoghurt Sauce:
  • 1 cup plant based yoghurt alternative, plain

  • 1/4 cup tahini, optional – See Notes (1)

  • 4 to 6 cups water, 1/2 cup at a time – See Notes (2)

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch, one at a time

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 6 garlic cloves, finely slice

  • 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1/4 tsp salt, adjust to taste

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried mint

Directions

  • Making the Dough:
  • Add the flour, sugar, salt, and oil to a bowl.
  • Mix to combine using a whisk. Gradually add in the water.
  • Knead by hand until smooth and not very sticky. Add more flour if too wet, or a little more
    water if too dry. Cover to rest for an hour.
  • Making the Meatless Filling:
  • Rehydrate the TVP in vegetable broth, per package instructions.
  • Sauté onions in a hot pan with olive oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the
    garlic. Cook for a minute. Turn heat down to medium. Stir in 1 tsp of seven spices.
  • Add in the TVP. Mix with remaining 1 tsp of seven spice and salt & pepper. Cook for 5
    minutes, until lightly browned. Remove into a bowl.
  • Into the same pan, toast the pine nuts with a little oil, over medium heat. Stir occasionally and watch it carefully to avoid burning.
  • Return the cooked TVP meat mixture to the pan. Stir with the pine nuts and the parsley. Set aside in a bowl to cool down completely for later.
  • Making the Dumplings:
  • Sprinkle some flour on a clean flat surface. Remove the dough from the bowl. Cut in half and cover one-half back in the bowl. Roll out the other half into a thin rectangle.
  • Using a small coffee cup, or any circle lid, press down around the edge of the dough. Twist to cut it off. Remove the mini circle. Cover the rest of the dough under a clean towel. Roll it out further to stretch.
  • Hold it up in your hand, between the palm and fingers. Add 1 teaspoon of the meatless filling to the centre of the bottom side, leaving space to close it off. Fold over the top side, while pinching the edge of the circle.
  • Using the thumb of holding hand, carefully lift it off, as you continue to pinch both sides to seal them off. It should look like half a moon (similar to an empanada). Gently push in from the straight side with your thumb, making both ends closer. Place one end over the other. Pinch to seal. Cover under a clean towel while working on the rest.
  • Into a preheated oven (or air fryer basket), place the dumplings on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 F (or 190 C) for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway. See Notes (3)
  • Making the Yoghurt Sauce:
  • Whisk together: plant yoghurt, tahini, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Adding cornstarch last. Continue whisking frequently until it bubbles – adding 1/2 cup of water gradually – for about 10 minutes. Turn heat down to low.
  • While cooking the sauce, bring a pan to medium-heat with 2 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Stir in the finely chopped cilantro for another minute to infuse with flavour. Add this mixture back to the saucepan.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, and mint. Whisk in more water to thin down, if needed. Add the cooked dumplings to mix it up and finish off. Bring back to simmer for 5 minutes to thicken. Serve in a bowl with more toasted pine nuts, and a garnish of parsley.

Notes

  • (1) Tahini: it’s not traditionally used for making Shish Barak. Adding a little of it makes the yoghurt sauce creamier and thicker. It’s a personal preference – you can omit completely.
  • (2) Yoghurt sauce thickness: Depending on your preferred thickness, add more water while you whisk to thin it down, or take out a bit of the sauce into a small bowl to whisk with a teaspoon of cornstarch before adding back to thicken up.
  • (3) Cooking times & temperature: My air fryer has the option to bake – which cooks slightly quicker than an oven, since it’s smaller in size. Adjust temperature and timing accordingly. Feel free to cover in a little oil spray if baking in oven.
  • (4) Freezing pre-cooked dumplings: To freeze the dumplings for later, place the pre-baked ones on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Freeze for an hour, then transfer to freezer bags to store for at least 30 days.
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