Keshek is a very traditional food made every year by Lebanese villagers with bulgur and milk (either cow’s or goat’s) at the end of summer as part of winter’s provisions.
Coarse bulgur is rubbed with milk and left to ferment a few days; it is then placed on the rooftop (traditional homes are built with a flat rooftop) and left to dry under the sun for several days; then taken to the village mill and ground fine into a powder; the powdered keshk is once again dried in the sun for several day in order to dry thoroughly.
Keshek is now ready to be stored in the pantry for a year and is used in dozens of dishes throughout the year.
Keshek is found at all Middle-Eastern grocers in the US and Canada as well as online.
This soup is made with cabbage, keshek and kibbeh balls; kibbeh balls can be substituted with frozen meatballs or cubes of beef or lamb stewing meat.
INGREDIENTS: 4 servings
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups of keshek
- 6 cloves of garlic with a teaspoon of salt
- 8 hollow kibbeh balls or 2 cups of meatballs or 1 pound of stew meat
- olive oil, as needed
- 4 cups of water (more if needed)
- Shred the cabbage into ribbons (they don’t need to be fine); peel the cloves of garlic. If using meat stew, brown the meat, add 4 cups of water and let it simmer for a while until cooked.
- Heat olive oil in a pot and add the shredded cabbage and garlic cloves. Stir-fry for 15 minutes until the cabbage is wilted. Add the meat and meat broth and the keshek and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm.
NOTE: If using kibbeh balls, they need to be hollow. Add 4 cups of water and the keshek over the cabbage and garlic and simmer, stirring from time to time; drop the kibbeh into the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. If the kibbeh balls are freshly made, roast in the oven with some oil until the kibbeh balls are browned. Then poke with a toothpick and dunk in the soup.
If using frozen meatballs, roast them in the oven first until browned, then add to the soup 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: The soup needs to have the consistency of loose yogurt, not too thick but not too thin either. Add more or less water or let it thicken by simmering it for a longer time.