Dushbere recipe (Azerbaijani Dumpling Soup)

Dushbere recipe (Azerbaijani Dumpling Soup)

Serves 5-6
For the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose, plus extra for kneading and thinning the dough
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cup tepid water

For the Filling:
7 oz (200g) ground lamb or beef, or a combination, not lean
1 small onion, peeled and grated (1/2 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Broth:

Version 1 – yields a lighter, simpler broth (most commonly used)
9 cups water
1/8 teaspoon of turmeric powder
salt, to taste

Version 3 – yields a more substantial broth (my family recipe, not as widely known)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, peeled and very finely chopped (1 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt, to taste
9 cups water

To Garnish:
chopped fresh cilantro (coriander), to garnish (substitute with dried mint in winter)

To Serve:
garlicky-vinegar sauce (crush 3-4 peeled garlics and mix with about 1 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider)


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, and stir with your hand to mix. Make a well in the middle, and break the egg into there. Gradually adding the water, stir with your fingers, until a rough ball forms. Dust a clean surface (wooden table or marble countertop) lightly with flour. (Would you like to make this dish together? Join our Cooking Masterclasses to learn and taste the national cuisine of Azerbaijan!)

Scrape the dough onto that surface. Press any loose dough pieces into the ball and knead the dough, punching it down with your fists, folding it over and turning. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a little more flour. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not be tempted to add more flour. You do not want the dough to be very tight. You will add more flour to it while rolling it. Shape the dough into a ball, put it aside, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes before rolling.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl combine the ground meat, onion, salt and pepper. With your hand, knead thoroughly until well blended. Set aside.

Dust the surface with some flour. Transfer the dough onto that surface. Pat the dough ball slightly and sprinkle some flour on top. Now, using a rolling pin begin rolling, sprinkling the dough with flour and spreading it with your hands with every other rolling. Flip the dough over from time to time and sprinking the surface with flour to prevent sticking. Once the dough has somewhat flattened, wrap the near edge of the dough around the rolling pin, and begin rolling the dough away from you, pressing down with the rolling pin to ensure thinning.

Once you reach the other end, unroll the dough. As you roll back and forth, gently slide your hands away from the center towards the edges of the rolling pin, thinning out the dough. With each roll, rotate the dough one-quarter turn to keep it in an even circle. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and spread with your hands, before each rolling. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and make it roll easier. Continue rolling until you obtain a 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) thick circle, about 22 inches (55 cm) in diameter.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into small 3/4-inch (1.9 cm) squares, by first cutting it into parallel strips, then cutting the strips across. Work as fast as you can from this point onto prevent the dough from drying out. Using your fingers, place a pinch of filling into the middle of each square.

Now, seal the edges using either of the following methods: 1) Bring two opposite corners of a square together and seal the edges to make a triangle. Bring the two ends of the longest side of the triangle together and press them together to seal. 2) Fold the square into a rectangle and seal the edges. Bring the two ends of the longer sealed side of the rectangle together and seal. Arrange the dumplings on the floured tray, apart from each other to prevent them from sticking together. Leave aside while you prepare the broth (versions 2 or 3).

If making broth version 1: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the turmeric and salt to taste. Maintain a gentle simmer before adding the dumplings.

If making broth version 2: Heat the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onions and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for another half a minute. Add the salt, pour in the water and bring to a boil. Maintain a gentle simmer before adding the dumplings.

Gently drop the dumplings into the simmering broth in small batches. Gently stir once to separate them and cook, uncovered, for about 7-10 minutes or until the dumplings surface to the top. Take one out and taste. The dough must be tender. Cook longer if needed, taking care not to overcook or the dumplings will be sticky mushy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from the heat.

Ladle the dumplings and the broth into individual serving bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro or dried mint. Serve immediately, with garlicky vinegar sauce on the side, to be added to dushbere to taste.

Nush olsun! Bon appetite!