Mediterranean Dumplings with Yogurt & Mint Sauce

By • April 7, 2011 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a typical Lebanese dish that my grandmother from Beirut makes me whenever I go home to Michigan to visit. I never see it at Middle Eastern restaurants, so it is a treat to have, as it takes some time (and lots of love) to execute. To save time, you may substitute homemade dough with wonton wrappers. However, this recipe will feature dough from scratch, as nothing can really compare to the real thing, especially with the secret ingredient: mahlab (ground cherry pits). You can use either beef or lamb for the filling depending on your preference. I always choose lamb! You can also either fry or bake the dumplings, I prefer baking. - OhMyGollyOhMyGolly

Food52 Review: These Lebanese dumplings sound exotic, but their flavor is wonderfully comforting and familiar, and they're very easy to put together. Using store-bought wonton wrappers is a genius shortcut, and you can more save time by using a food processor to chop the scallions. The dumplings themselves are bright and brash, the yogurt and mint sauce provides a perfect, mellow counterpoint, and gives 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. - theediblecomplextheediblecomplex


Serves 6-8


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab (ground up cherry pits)
  • 1 cup water
  1. Stir together all dry ingredients: flour, salt and mahlab first and then add enough water (approximately 1 cup) to form dough.
  2. Stir and then knead until dough is smooth. Cover with a towel and set aside approximately 1/2 hour.
  3. Roll out dough on very lightly floured board and cut into 2 inch round circles (I used a small espresso sized cup). During the half hour that the dough is setting on the side cook the meat mixture.

Lamb filling and Yogurt Mint Sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 1/2-1 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons clarified butter
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  1. Lightly brown pine nuts in clarified butter. Remove from pan into a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Dice 1 large onion very small and fine and sauté in the pan/butter that you browned the pine nuts in but do not brown onions. Add meat and stir until browned, chop meat into small pieces as you brown it.
  3. Add salt, pepper, allspice, and a little cinnamon to taste. Mix well. Drain meat in a bowl with paper towel if necessary. Add pine nuts. Taste for spices. Let cool.
  4. To form dumplings: Cut dough into small 2 inch circles, flatten each a little with fingers. Fill center with a small spoonful of meat/pine nut mixture. Fold over 1/2 circle of dough and pinch edge to seal. Join corners to form shape of a hat.
  5. Fry or bake in oven. To fry: place in hot Mazola oil for a few minutes until lightly browned and then drains them on paper towel. To bake: brush them with olive oil and bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool. You can also freeze them until ready to make warm yogurt sauce and eat.
  6. Yogurt sauce: Heat approximately 2-3 cups plain yogurt in a pan with 1 cup of water and bring to a slight boil. Drop dumplings in and simmer on medium-low heat. Fry 2 smashed pieces of fresh garlic in a little bit of clarified butter, add approx. 1 teaspoon dry mint and stir well. Add to hot yogurt sauce/dumplings and cook for 2 more minutes.

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