Fish Shishbarak in Yogurt

Muzna Bishara

1½ hours

Makes 100 dumplings

Fish shishbarak (dumplings) in yogurt sauce
Fish Shishbarak in yogurt
Fish Shishbarak in yogurt. Photo by Matan Choufan.

Traditionally, shishbarak consists of meat dumplings poached in a yogurt sauce. In this version, the dumplings are filled with fish, olives and fresh herbs and wrapped in a choux pastry, which is both richer and easier to work with.


  • For the dough:
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1¼ cup (300 ml) water
  • 3½ cups (500 grams/ 1.1 lb) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • For the filling:
  • 1.1 lb (500 grams) gilt-head bream fish fillet, skinned, boned and finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1½ tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted walnuts, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • For the yogurt sauce:
  • 1 liter (1 qt) 6% fat sheep milk yogurt 
  • 1½ cup (360 ml) water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • 5 stems Israeli mint 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • To serve:
  • Dried mint


  1. Prepare the choux pastry dough: Place the water and olive oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add half of the flour and salt and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon (still over medium heat) to a cohesive mass. The aim is to dry the dough as much as possible, so if needed, continue to cook over low heat in order to get rid of the steam, but do not cook the dough longer than 2 minutes.
  2. Place the remaining flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the hot cooked dough, egg and yolk and knead on a high speed to a soft, smooth dough, 10-15 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Prepare the filling: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  4. Stuff and fold: Cut a dough ball in half and, using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll to a 1-mm thick sheet (setting #6 in a pasta machine). Cut 5-cm / 2-in rounds and place a teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold the dough over the filling to a half-moon-shaped dumpling and press the edges to seal. Pinch the ends of the dumpling together or overlap them as you would tortellini. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling (at this point the dumplings can be frozen in an airtight container for future use).
  5. Bring a pot with plenty of salted water to a boil over high heat, and cook the dumplings in several small batches. When the dumplings float to the surface, remove them using a slotted spoon.
  6. Prepare the yoghurt sauce: As the dumplings cook, thoroughly beat the yogurt, water and cornstarch in a pot and place over medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture reaches a simmer, thickens, and begins to bubble. Add salt, sumac, mint and garlic, and stir for 1 minute.
  7. Add the dumplings to the hot yogurt and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Divide the dumplings and warm yogurt into serving bowls, garnish with dry mint and serve.

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