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Sunday, August 23, 2009


It is customary in Syria to have a white main dish on the first Iftar table of Ramadan. This might be true of other neighboring countries but I cannot claim what I do not know. White for many cultures is considered as a good and auspicious color and as thus has no religious significance whatsoever. Of course in Levantine Cuisine a white meal could only mean that a dish is prepared and cooked in Yogurt Sauce. As far back as I can remember we always had Shakrieh on Ramadan 1st. It' is one of my all-time favorite dishes especially since I'm biased anyway to anything cooked in yogurt. Shakrieh is a year round Syrian recipe and is not unique to Ramadan.

Here it is, in very simple steps, Shakrieh in its most basic form, the Tartoussi way.


1 kg lamb chunks (Mozat)
3 large onions cut in rings
6 to 8 cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg
1 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

1 cup of Rice or Burghul (cooked the usual way on the side)


-Heat the salted lamb chunks and onion rings in a large frying pan with the oil. Stir well with a wooden spatula for 5 minutes.

-Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add the lamb chunks, onion rings and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-high for one hour. Save the broth.

-Separately bring 6 to 8 cups of plain yogurt, cornstarch and raw egg to boil over medium-high making sure to stir slowly but constantly (non-stop otherwise the sauce is ruined) until it starts boiling. Reduce heat to low and add the lamb chunks and the tender onions plus one cup of the broth to the yogurt. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

-Cook the rice (or burghul) with 1 cup of broth (or more) as usual.

-The Shakrieh and the rice (or burghul) are served side by side in individual plates but presented separately on the table.

Simply delicious!


Wa3d said...

Can't we do it with chicken ? I am not that fond of meat !

Never tried Shakrieh but white stuff are good ! * points at Mansaf =D *

wgaw said...

Interesting stuff ... thanks for posting.

read this

"It is customary in Syria to have a white man dish the first Iftar table of Ramadan

rather than main - it changed everything!

abufares said...

I don't know of any reason not to make it with chicken. Well, we might as well call it Jajieh :-)

My kids prefer beef over lamb and we sometimes modify it as per their taste. However, the lamb juices (from the broth) mix with the yogurt in such a luscious, even sensuous way. The taste is from heaven.

abufares said...

Interesting indeed, more so if we Syrians had a white woman dish on the first Iftar, loooool.

Thank you White Girl for commenting here since you made me discover your very interesting blog. Please come again when you have the time.

Katia said...

Well Abufares, you chose really well for your first Ramadan recipe. Shakrieh is one of my favorite dishes and I too tend to be biased towards anything cooked in yogurt. That's probably because of my southern Syrian origin. I don't know much about it but it tends to show in my taste for food. Sahkrieh, kishk, mansaf, mjadara with ketha, ... Ok, now I'm hungry!
Merci Abufares :-)

Hana said...

I always wanted to know how this mouthwatering dish is made.
I'm sure going to make it!
Thanks a lot.
Cheers and Ramadan Karim.

Isobel said...

Well, my mind is a whirrrrr...can I cook this tonight??? she thinks to herself...

Off to the grocery store!! Thanks, Abufares, I always love your recipes!! :)

Diana said...

I've always wanted to try shakrieh. Looks good.
I, too, love things cooked in yogurt, my favorite being shishbarak. Mmmmmmm..........

أنا سوري said...

This is torture Abu Fares. I'm in a hotel and can't cook it. This is my favorite dish. I love the taste of cooked yogurt. Enjoy

Kano said...

I love Shakrieh. One of my favourite dishes.

My wife tried cooked yoghurt once (in kibbeh labanyeh) and she hated it. I am still to make her try Shakrieh. I hope I will change her mind. I miss my yoghurt dishes.

Thank for sharing Abu Fares

abufares said...

Well so far and reading through the comments I think that there's a general consensus about everybody loving yogurt sauce.
What's so nice about Shakrieh is the fact that it's much easier to prepare than it looks.
Sahha w Hana Katia

abufares said...

Nice to see you here.
Please give it a try and tell us all about it.

abufares said...

since you always love my... recipes may be one day you should cook one of them and invite me for a taste.

uuummm, I'm sure it will be heavenly, your cooking :-)

abufares said...

You should try it Diana. It's really very easy to prepare. It's almost foul proof if you don't burn or mess up the yogurt.

abufares said...

@Ana Sourie
Sorry mate. Well as soon as you get back home you can make up for lost time and pounds.

abufares said...

Thank you Kano for dropping by. I'm sure we'll read all about it on your wonderful blog.

Joseph said...

ألف صحة وهنا أبو فارس إلاك ولعيلتك a matter of fact, your portraiture of things and in particular of food and (women if I may add) is remarkably engaging...the aromas of your Shakrieh, the simple knot of bread and many other mouthwatering dishes from previous posts linger in this virtual space...Do I smell lentil soup...LOL

Have a nice day/evening.

Gabriela said...

Indeed it looks, and seems, simply delicious. I am pretty sure you really enjoyed it.
All the best!

MadSurg said...

Ramadan Kareem,

Definitely mouth-watering...Maybe I'll try it one day (When I get real Yogurt here, that is)..

I had Labnieh on the first day at Iftar, does that count?

Karin said...

That looks sooooo delicious!! Once I'll be settled in a bit better here in Albuquerque, I will try to find lamb meat ... I LOVE lamb - and try it out!

I just returned from the hospital and am hungry ... and these pictures together with your description make my stomach growl even worse!

Thanks so much for the recipe - they're always fantastic!!

abufares said...

Food and women ;-) Alas, I think I'll stick to food only until the end of Ramadan my friend.
Then, it will be a brand-new beginning.

abufares said...

I wish I have tasted Peruvian "food" before but I haven't. I have tried several South American Cuisines back when I lived in the States in the company of some mujeres latinas hermosas.

Ummmm la comida y las niñas de América del Sur, simplemente

abufares said...


So nice to see you here. I hope Detroit and Ramadan go well together. Labnieh is a great starter for Ramadan indeed.

PS I used to get some great yogurt when I lived in the States so you really have no excuse.

abufares said...

Sahha w hana
It's a very simply meal to prepare. If it's hard to find lamb, substitute it with beef and of course adjust the quantities. My recipe feeds 5 people with leftovers.
Have a good time my friend.

Anonymous said...

Shakriehh!!! Wonderful choice abufares! Jordanian Mansaf can't stand a chance hehehe... I'm going to be shot the minute I step into Amman this Autumn lol!

Tony said...

يا سلااااام - يسلم يدك !

is shakrieh the same thing as shakrieh bil 3dm?

I have a friend from Bloudan that asked me if I can make this dish a while ago, but he called it "shakrieh bil 3dm".

My sito never made it at home, so I've been looking for a good recipe to try. Thank you for sharing Abu Fares! I've invited my friend, his wife and parents over for dinner in a couple weeks - wish me luck! :D


abufares said...

I've heard that Shakrieh is prepared with meaty bones but I never tried it.
Given your flair for good food you will certainly come up with a wonderful Shakrieh dish. My suggestion is to not use low fat yogurt of course. And, some butter to saute the lamb chunks in instead of vegetable oil would be heavenly.
Let us all hear about the result please.

abufares said...

I have never come to understand the big deal about Mansaf. It's so heavy one feels like he swallowed a brick, or two afterward.
Remember that this sort of plate with huge quantities and lumps of meat makes up for lack of imagination with cheer generosity and extravagance.

Shakrieh in contrast is like a breath of fresh air. Rare, exquisite and comes in small doses.

The comparison is not even apples and oranges. It's more like an 18 wheeler and a Porsche 911.

Tony said...

I finally invited my friend from Bloudan, his wife and his mom for dinner this coming Saturday and I am preparing shakrieh. I'm very excited about this since I've never made it before. I'm making goat yogurt for the dish, but was wondering if it's possible to use sheep's milk yogurt next time. What milk do you usually use? Thanks again, Abu Fares, for sharing the recipe : )

abufares said...

Sheep's yogurt is great for Shakrieh, probably the best so go ahead and give it a try.
You're more than welcome.