So the other day, my 10 month baby girl, Lea, had her usual lunch of mashed veggies. A while later, my husband and I were having our lunch, Shish Barak. If you're not familiar with this dish, its a Lebanese recipe of meat dumplings in cooked laban (yogurt) with fried coriander and garlic with a side of vermicelli rice. Lea seemed very interested in what we were eating and her jaw dropped when she got closer to the plate. I offered her some rice, she ate it. I offered her more rice with yogurt, she ate it. I offered her more rice with yogurt and some minced meat, she ate it.
Lightbulb! Today I'm making a deconstructed Shish Barak for the little one. It's a great way to introduce her to our traditional flavors while keeping the dish baby-friendly.
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 2 tbsp of minced meat
- Yogurt/Laban (or labne + water*)
1- In a small pot, cook the minced meat until well done. Add boiling water then add the orzo pasta. Cooking the meat again with the pasta will just help tenderize the meat more.
2- In a separate small pot, on high heat, add the yogurt (or the laban with a little bit of water) and keep stirring until it boils.
I usually have a stock of fried coriander with garlic in the freezer for practicality reasons.
3- Add the fried coriander and garlic to the yogurt and mix until homogenous and set aside.
4- When the orzo pasta is ready, strain and add it to the yogurt and mix all together
* Lea often has Pinar labne for dinner and she loves it. It just happened to be that I ran out of laban at home so I used Pinar labne as a substitute and diluted it with a little water. It worked fine and hey, at least she would be familiar with the taste.