What to CookLebanese

These Lamb Dumplings Are the Pits (Wait, in a Good Way!)

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature—this one comes from longtime Food52er OhMyGolly, who shares a favorite recipe of her grandmother’s that’s just right for ushering in spring.

“This is a typical Lebanese dish that my grandmother, who’s from Beirut, makes for me whenever I go home to Michigan to visit. I never see it at Middle Eastern restaurants, so it’s a treat to have, as it takes some time (and lots of love) to execute,” says OhMyGolly. Her dumpling recipe features dough from scratch, “as nothing can really compare to the real thing.” This is likely especially true when the dough contains a secret ingredient: mahlab (a powder made from extracting the seeds from the pits of a specific type of cherry—you can find it at Middle Eastern markets or online).

Photo by Rocky Luten

After testing them, TheEdibleComplex was a convert, saying, “The flavor of these Lebanese dumplings is wonderfully comforting and familiar, and they’re very easy to put together. The dumplings themselves are bright and brash, and the yogurt and mint sauce provides a perfect, mellow counterpoint, giving the dish depth and nuance. Altogether, this is a satisfying example of both how beautifully ingredients can complement one another, and why dumplings are a universally beloved food.”

And don’t let that dumpling dough turn you away from this recipe—if you’d rather save time and skip the homemade dough, you can. OhMyGolly suggests using wonton wrappers instead, which TheEdibleComplex calls a “genius shortcut.” There’s also room to make them your own: OhMyGolly notes that beef can be used instead of lamb and the finished dumplings can either be baked or fried. Whichever way you choose to make these dumplings, they might just become a family favorite for you, too.

Mediterranean Dumplings with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Mediterranean Dumplings with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

OhMyGolly OhMyGolly
Serves 6 to 8


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab (ground cherry pits)
  • 1 cup water

Lamb Filling & Yogurt-Mint Sauce

  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons clarified butter, plus more for the yogurt sauce
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 pounds ground lamb or beef
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Oil, for baking or frying (I recommend olive oil for baking or corn oil for frying.)
  • 2 to 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
Go to Recipe

What’s your favorite dumpling filling? (And if there’s a recipe in our archive that you think deserves a turn in the spotlight, fill us in on that, too—we might feature it!)

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Middle Eastern, Lamb, Meat, Community, Heirloom Recipes