Monday, January 10, 2011

A Rural Lebanese Breakfast, Cityfied - Kishk with Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Kishk Soup

Kishk n. a Lebanese flour made by grinding a sun-dried mixture of yogurt and bulgur (referred to as green kishk).  It is a rural breakfast staple, made into a hearty soup typically flavored with onions and garlic, and sometimes by adding a homemade lamb confit.  It's typically served with toasted pita bread   crumbled into it or soft pita to scoop it out.  Either way, delicious!.  It can be found in Middle Eastern markets, and if you're lucky, a Lebanese friend will give you some homemade flour.  I recently received some from my aunt who relocated back to Lebanon a couple of years ago and has been keeping my pantry stocked with homemade goodies.  Her kishk flour is absolutely perfect, it's sour and slightly salty,  and the very fine grind makes for a creamy texture in the soup. 


Kishk Flour
Sweet Potato Gnocchi

A traditional wintry breakfast, kishk is usually made during the summer months.  The yogurt and bulgur are mixed into a paste and broken up into small chunks, then sun-dried to perfection and taken to a mill to be finely ground.  Unfortunately, it is one of the traditions that most households in Lebanon now bypass for an easier - not quite as tasty - manufactured product.

This is my favorite breakfast.  It's quick, tasty and filling.  I remember a friend of mine making little bread dumplings to toss with the soup which is a wonderful combination. This morning, I opted for a lighter variation.  Using some of the leftover roasted sweet potatoes from last night, I made fluffy orange gnocchi pillows to toss with the soup.  I like to have raw onion with it, not a good idea if you have an important meeting that day!

Kish Soup with Sweet Potato gnocchi

Kishk with Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Kishk Soup
1/2 cup kishk flour
1 cup water (more might be needed)
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp onions, thinly sliced (used raw as a topping or sautéed with garlic)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mint, dried
Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a pot, heat olive oil and sauté garlic (and onion) until soft, add kishk flour and stir a bit to warm it.  Add water carefully (it will splash a bit).  Stir to blend all together and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and let simmer gently for 15 minutes.  If it thickens too much, add more water to get your preferred consistency.  It should be creamy and similar to a chowder.  At the 10 minute mark, add the sweet potato gnocchi and simmer together for another 5 minutes.  Serve hot with a sprinkle of dried mint.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
2 sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled (about 300 g)
1/4-1/2 cup potato flour (based on moisture level)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk, whisked
Salted water for boiling

Peel the cooled roasted sweet potatoes, them smash with the fork on a large cutting board.  Make a well in the center, add the yolk, potato flour and cornstarch and mix with your fingers until all lumpy. Pull together to form a ball.  Break in two and roll them into a thin logs, then cut bite size pieces of the gnocchi.  Run each piece on the fork tines (keep the tines clean by placing the fork under hot running water every few pieces so they don't stick).  Place the formed pieces in an oiled bowl and toss them around to avoid them sticking together.  Gently drop the gnocchi in the boiling water.  Once they float to the top, leave for another 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon.  Drop in the soup and let simmer gently for 3-5 minutes. 
The dough is somewhat sticky so don't over work it.  Also, if you opt for boiling the potatoes, you will need to add more flour because the potatoes will be moist.



2 comments:

  1. What a stylish and creative way to serve kishk! I did not eat kishk growing up but lately in Lebanon I noticed it everywhere; I like it especially on flatbreads. Your photos are outstanding.

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  2. Such an interesting dish. I wonder if I can find it at my local Med. market

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