Laban Kishk (Borderline Primal)

Laban Kishk

I am part Lebanese (actually, as I found out from Ancestry DNA this week, I’m 25% Middle Eastern–likely Lebanese and either Syrian or Iranian–and 2% Egyptian), so I grew up eating a lot of Middle Eastern food.  One of my favorite dishes that my grandma makes for breakfast when we’re visiting (other than fresh side, of course) is Laban kishk.  My mom thinks it’s gross and hates to be in the same house where it’s being cooked, HA!  So before we go any further, I will offer a disclaimer on my mom’s side of the fence:

Kishk seems to be an acquired taste…and not everyone acquires it.

Kishk is a mixture of yogurt that is dried with soaked and fermented bulgur wheat, which is dried into a brick and then ground into a powder by hand.  Now you can see why this is borderline primal: it contains bulgur.  That being said, the main problem with grains is how they are prepared.  Most of the antinutrients are broken down out of this because of the soaking and fermentation process, pre-yogurt.  In Lebanon, they frequently use goat-milk yogurt…so if you don’t like the way goat milk tastes, you will not like this dish.  It’s a somewhat earthy taste with a hint of citrusy undertones.

So how do you eat it?  It’s cooked into a porridge-type consistency and frequently eaten like cereal, gravy, or soup.  Traditionally, it’s eaten off of raw onion wedges.  It’s also eaten the way that my family eats it (this is definitely not any form of Paleo)…scooped up with Syrian bread.  OH.  MY.  GOD.  I could eat that bread forever.  So don’t let my mom scare you into not trying this–it’s really good for you!

Laban Kishk (Borderline Primal)

1 pound ground beef or lamb

1/2 C diced onion

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2/3-3/4 C KISHK (this is the place where my grandma orders it and mails it to us, but they will probably have it in your area if you have any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern grocery stores)

1-2 C water


1.- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the ground beef and cook, breaking up as you go.  When it’s almost browned, add onion and garlic.  Cook until onions start to soften.  Turn heat down to medium.

2.- Starting with 1/2 C of kishk, sprinkle the powder over the beef and stir until beef is mostly coated and a little “glue-like.”  Add the rest of the kishk, a little at a time, until beef starts to look like it’s kinda dry and like it’s been “dusted” with the kishk.

3.- Add the water, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly.  You may need more or less water–just add it until you get to the consistency that you want.  If you want a thicker porridge, add less water.  If you want it more soupy, add more.  The great thing about kishk is that if you leave it cooking too long and it starts to get too thick, you just add more water.

* You can eat this with a spoon, cut up onion chunks and scoop it out like chips and dip, or if you’re cheating and want a heavenly experience, try it with the SYRIAN BREAD, which on here is called “thin bread, white flat 13.”  Syrian bread taste similar to a pita, but it’s super thin (like a tortilla), and the top layers tend to flake off.


2 thoughts on “Laban Kishk (Borderline Primal)

  1. Haley

    I’ve been eating kishk since I was a kid (I’m 32 now), as a thick paste with ground beef and LOTS of garlic… Garlic oozing out my pores… So tonight I decided to look it up and find out exactly what my mom has been feeding me.

    Wouldn’t you know, I eat it with Syrian bread. She eats it with onions. I think I may be related to you! lol Thank you for the wonderful blog post 🙂

    • chiodo80

      It’s one of my favorite things! I feel like people who don’t grow up eating it have a harder time developing the taste as an adult, because it’s a flavor profile that’s so different from anything in the States hehe!

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