Lebanese kishik soup is a savory bulgur wheat yogurt porridge with dry kishik powder, ground lamb (or lamb confit, also known as awarma), diced onion, fresh garlic, and olive oil.
Kishik soup is one of those traditional Lebanese recipes that leaves an imprint. There really isn't anything like it on a cold winter morning. The porridge-like texture is savory, sour, salty, and hearty.
What is Kishik?
Kishik is a mixture of soured goat milk yogurt and bulgar wheat that's ground into a fine white powder. My father grew up in Dhour Shweir, Lebanon, and my grandmother, Tayta Lily, made dry kishik powder from scratch.
Tayta Lily would combine bulgur wheat and goat's milk yogurt. Then, she would lay it on the roof in a thin layer to dry. After it dried, the kishik would be ground into a fine powder that looks like all-purpose flour.
Purchase kishik powder at a Middle Eastern grocery store. I noticed that the grocery store kishk is more of a coarse powder than the village. Store the kishk powder in the freezer for a longer shelf life. This recipe requires kishik powder. Sorry, it cannot be substituted for anything else!
What You Will Love
This recipe has a Texas-sized portion of ground lamb. Kishk is traditionally made with just a few spoons of awarma. I prefer adding more minced lamb for the flavor. Kishk is quick, made with a few ingredients, and easy to reheat.
- Ground lamb: The traditional way to make Lebanese kishk soup is with lamb confit called awarma. Awarma is finely diced lamb preserved in salt and lamb fat. This recipe substitutes fresh ground lamb for awarma. Another substitution is ground beef.
- Kishik powder: The main ingredient is dry kishk powder. Buy kishk at a Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- Onion and garlic: Fresh onions and garlic add flavor to the kishk soup. I mince the garlic, but some people like to keep the cloves whole. Sometimes, people omit onion.
- Olive oil
- Radishes and pita bread to serve on the side.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Kishik
Finely dice the onion.
Peel and roughly chop the fresh garlic cloves.
Sauté the onions in olive oil on medium-high heat until they caramelize. Add the chopped garlic and ground lamb, breaking up the meat clumps.
Important! Cook the lamb until crispy (takes about 10 minutes). Add half the kishk powder. Turn the stove to medium heat.
Add water, mixing until the kishk soup thickens. Continue adding the remaining kishik powder and water.
Bring the kishik soup to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add more water if you'd like to thin out the soup.
Serve Lebanese kishik soup with pita bread, fresh radishes, onions, and fresh mint.
Tips and Tricks
- The best kishik has quality ingredients, good proportions, and lots of garlic!
- Start with a ratio of 1 cup kishk powder to 3 cups of room temperature water. Add more water if you like a thinner texture.
- Cook the meat until crispy before adding the kishk. The meat will crackle, indicating it's time to add the kishik powder.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use awarma, ground lamb, or ground beef.
- Reduce the quantity of meat. This recipe has a high meat to porridge ratio.
- Omit the onion. Some versions of this recipe do not use onion.
- Leave the garlic cloves whole rather than roughly chopping them. This is how my father prefers kishik. I like to disburse the garlic, which is why I roughly chop it.
Store kishk powder in the freezer for up to a year. Kishk soup reheats well in the microwave or stovetop. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Kishk powder is ground dehydrated bulgur wheat and goat yogurt.
Awarma is lamb confit made by preserving finely diced cooked lamb in salt and lamb fat.
Kishk powder can be used for kishik manoushe, a Lebanese flatbread topped with a spreadable paste of kishk.
For more Lebanese cooking, check out these family recipes!
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Lebanese Kishik Soup
- 1 lb ground lamb see note 1
- 1 medium onion
- 1 head garlic
- 1½ cup dry kishik powder
- 5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt to taste
Sides for Kishk
- 1 bunch fresh radishes
- 1 onion
- fresh mint
- Peel and dice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic.
- Caramelize the diced onions in olive oil on medium-high heat for about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and ground lamb, breaking up the clumps. Cook the lamb until crispy (about 10 minutes).
- Turn the stove to medium heat. Pour half the kishik powder and half the water. Mix well. Add the remaining kishik and water. Simmer and stir kishik until thick (about 5 minutes). Add more water if desiring a thinner consistency. Salt to taste.
- Serve with Lebanese pita bread, fresh radishes, onion, and mint.
- Use awarma, ground lamb, or ground beef.