yogurt mint soup (with kibbeh)

This is a favorite and regular dish in the Sark household and always eaten with the bulgur wheat meat-filled kibbeh footballs. The soup is easy. The kibbeh, if done traditionally, require skills that dr bob could not pick up in one sitting, while ani refuses to get involved with it because of the labor intensive process of forming the little suckers, so we have to rely on Isgouhi for this treat. The combination of the yogurt mint flavor and the kibbeh is exceptional, so an alternative solution to this problem must be found.

soup ingredients

2 c water
1/2 c Carolina extra long grain rice
pinch salt
16 oz (1 lb = 454g) yogurt
1 egg
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 t salt
2 - 3 c water (about equal to the amount of yogurt)
2 t dried mint
1 t salt (or to taste)
2 T butter (1/4 stick)
kibbeh (separate recipe below [still to do] or purchase the little suckers at an Armenian food store, if you can find one)
or use some kind of tortellini instead


  1. Boil the rice in water with a pinch of salt until the rice is softened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Wisk together the yogurt, egg, salt and juice of 1/2 lemon until smooth.
  3. Stir the yogurt mixture into the rice with the additional water and stir over high heat until it boils (about 10 minutes). It is important to keep stirring slowly so the yogurt mixture does not "break" (curdle), which ruins the dish.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the mint, butter and salt, and continue boiling another 5 minutes.
  5. Taste. If the yogurt is not tart enough (storebought versus homemade), add the remaining juice of 1/2 lemon.
  6. Add the kibbeh (whether raw or baked) or the kibbeh substitute to the yogurt soup, bring to a boil and continue boiling about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve 2 or 3 kibbeh per bowl in the yogurt soup.


  1. Remove the uneaten kibbeh from the soup before storing leftovers in the refrigerator to prevent them from thickening the yogurt soup and absorbing too much of the yogurt soup in return. Return the kibbeh to the yogurt soup to reheat.
  2. The grains of rice should lose their identity in the soup, so one needs a long grain rice which will do that.
  3. Apparently kibbeh is one of the most typical Lebanese foods, so there is some hope of finding them made fresh in Middle Eastern or Armenian specialty food stores. One can find a few Lebanese cooking sites to read up on these little bulgur meat balls [ArabNet Lebanese cooking]
  4. Here is a sheet of them just removed from the oven, and then swimming in the yogurt soup, and a couple of serving shots: [1] [2].
  5. The flat sheet version of kibbeh will ultimately prove to be our unskilled solution to this problem.
  6. Kibbeh free yogurt soup.
    One alternative to the kibbeh problem is to use any kind of tortellini (filled pasta) instead. For example, in the Middle East all the way out to Afghanistan one finds mini-meat-filled tortellini called manti which work quite well in this soup. They are often served with melted butter and yogurt, but one rarely reads about serving them in the Armenian yogurt (mahdzoon, matzdoon) soup, although this is what the Middle Eastern Armenians and their diaspora do. bob's sister-in-law scored some frozen manti in a Persian food store near Baltimore and passed it on. Makes a real fulfilling winter comfort food. Vegetarians (sorry vegans, maybe one could experiment with "soy yogurt") can use any kind of cheese-filled dumplings or tortellini instead (vegans: soy cheese?).
  7. All illustrations.

kibbeh addendum 2020

Kibbeh, kufteh, kaloor, so many names, so many languages. Finally in 2015 the kibbeh ball recipe was recorded for pasterity, but dr bob forgot to update this big lead in hype.

more notes

  1. Armenian sini kufteh (kibbeh bil sineya) "the flat bombs".
  2. Making the little bulgur bombs takes a lot of skill. bob tried it once and realized it would take a lot more practice. In 2020 he realized there was yet another name in the Anjarian Armenian dialect: kaloor (potato vegan version). Photos of the master at work did happen though for the bombs in 2020: apparently kibbeh meklee is the standard Armenian name for them, according to Linda Chirinian.
  3. Life goes by too quickly.
  4. More illustrations, bombs away!
ygtmntsp.htm: 21-apr-2020 [what, ME cook? � 1984 dr bob enterprises]