Cabbage and keshek soup

March 31, 2014  •  Category:


Keshek is a very nourishing food traditionally prepared in rural areas for sustenance year-round; it is a mixture of yogurt and milk fermented with bulgur, dried and ground into a powder. Urbanized Lebanese buy it commercially made; however, there are still plenty of people in the villages who still make it at home. It is a long process.

 Keshek is incorporated into many dishes such as flatbreads for breakfast, soups, and salads. This is a simple soup with keshek and shredded cabbage. Keshek  smells  like buttermilk powder.

Keshek connoisseurs will insist that the best is made with goat milk; I bought both and found the one with goat milk to be a bit too pungent. I guess I am definitely not an expert on keshek.

I found keshek sold at the Middle-Eastern store in my Dallas neighborhood. It is also sold online.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
  • 1 cup ground meat (lamb preferably)
  • ½ cup keshek
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper or allspice
  • 4 cups water

1.Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and fry the onion until golden; if adding meat to the soup, fry the meat alongside the onion; add the cabbage and stir-fry 10 minutes longer until softened and translucent. Add salt, spices and the keshek and stir; pour the water over the mixture. Cover and simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Serve.

NOTE: The meat in this soup can be replaced with lamb confit (awarma), which is traditional; if unable to source awarma, a few slices of bacon, chopped, can be substituted. 



14 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Velva says:

    Not sure I would attempt to make keshek myself but would gladly pull up a chair and join you.

    Happy spring.


  2. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Quel plat étonnant ! J’apprends toujours plus de choses, chez toi !

  3. Nuts about food says:

    Very interesting, thank you for sharing (plus soups with cabbage may be old-fashioned but I happen to love them!).

  4. Antoine says:


    I wish you can post someday about yogurt pasta, maacarone bil laban. It’s my favorite dish, I eat it 5 days a week when I’m in Beirut.

    It consists of Barilla no. 7 pasta, yogurt and dried mint (with some salt). Served cold, and also good when the yogurt has melted. I think it’s inspired by some mediterranean dish from Greece or Turkey. Many Lebanese love it, but just forget they do.

  5. Marita ( says:

    Wow this looks interesting. I will have a look in my lebanese shop is they sell some keshek there.

  6. Cowen Park Kitchen says:

    Interesting…there are so many fermented products out there I have never heard of!

  7. Jamie says:

    For those of us that can’t find keshek, I’ll bet just adding a bouillon cube would work because the combination of meat (lamb for me) and cabbage is wonderful! I love the look and idea of this soup since I do love cabbage and lamb and I am always looking for new ways to cook with them.

  8. Gabi says:

    Cabbage and lamb is such a great combination. As it doesn’t look like spring at all yet, this would be an opportunity to use the last cabbages. I don’t know keshek powder but I can get Iranian keshk paste. Suppose it’s basically the same thing.

  9. Susan says:

    As you likely noticed by a couple of my recent posts I love cabbage! Soup is a wonderful way to enjoy it and I’d probably opt for the bacon 🙂

  10. Mercedes says:

    This looks great, I am always looking for more uses for kishk!

  11. Gabi says:

    I made it with the Iranian paste which actually is called kashk in stead of keshk. After tasting the paste itself I was in doubt how it would work out.But it turned out great. The kashk added a fantastic depth together with allspice. This dish is now part of my standard repertoire for cabbage and lamb stews. I will look out for keshek, though. To find out whether it makes a difference. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Robin says:

    I am looking for the fermented cabbage soup base that Kibbeh is simmered and served in. Is this the same recipe?

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