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Kishk.


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#1 ChefCrash

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:29 AM

The quote is by Verjuice describing this dish in an unrelated topic. It really sums up all that I could come up with to describe the Mediterranean/Eastern European staple.
Searching these boards, I found no discussion of this quintessential peasant food. Really. On eGullet?

Kishk

Masquerading as haute cuisine

Kishk_1.1.jpg


Kishk in its intermediate form resembles white corn meal with a sharp, pungent aroma and looks like this

Kishk_2.jpg


While it can be prepared many ways, Kishk Soup, is the simplest and my favorite (will show others later).
In a sauce pan, slowly blanch a bunch of garlic in olive oil for ten minutes until soft and slightly blond.

Kishk_3.jpg


Add a cup of Kishk and followed by about 2 cups of cold water

Kishk_5.jpg


Stir and simmer a few minutes until the garlic is soft and your preferred consistency is reached.
Water to Kishk ratio is not critical. If its too runny, add More Kish or simmer longer.

Kishk_6.jpg

It is usually served with toasted Pita chips on top, and assorted vegetables on the side. I like potato chips instead.

Now, before you rush to buy Kish at your favorite Middle Eastern store, let me say, DON'T. All the commercial stuff (that I've tried) is really bad.

We usually bring our own or have it sent to us from Lebanon.

This time we're going to make some.

Main (only) ingredients:

Yogurt
Burghoul (Bulgar)

We start by making the yogurt, 2 gallons.

Kishk_7.jpg

To be continued...

#2 Jaymes

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:42 AM

Wow. This is really intriguing.

So I'm not going to buy my kishk. Any particular brand of bulghar to buy? I hope I'm not milling my own.

#3 patrickamory

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:02 PM

Extremely intrigued. Keep posting details.

#4 rotuts

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:07 PM

ld like to try local kishk

Ill ask

there are several small middle eastern markets not far from me.

I get all the bulgur there

find a M.E. place near your

get the bulgur by ##: how fine or coarse it is.

#5 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:44 PM

This is like Greek trahana. In fact, I googled and yes, kishk and trahana are the same. My MIL always used to talk about the trahana her mother used to make in Greece.

Is it good? It just doesn't sound appealing to me, but...

#6 nikkib

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:28 PM

It's delicious! I am seething with jealousy at the thought of chefcrash sprinkling this over his own home made saj (made using his home made saj oven) yum, yum, yum!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#7 Hassouni

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:47 PM

mmmm manaaa'iiiishhhh

#8 ChefCrash

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:23 PM

Wow. This is really intriguing.

So I'm not going to buy my kishk. Any particular brand of bulghar to buy? I hope I'm not milling my own.




ld like to try local kishk

Ill ask

there are several small middle eastern markets not far from me.

I get all the bulgur there

find a M.E. place near your

get the bulgur by ##: how fine or coarse it is.



I tried two commercial brands. One was Albanian and the other was Lebanese. They both came in glass jars. One used evaporated milk, the other dried milk. Both were too powdery. Neither smelled or tasted like the one I'm used to.
If you find a store that sells it in bulk, then buy a small amount and try it. If you have middle Eastern friends, ask them where they buy theirs.

Bulgar coarseness is not critical. My mother tells me that after sifting the cracked cooked wheat into the different gauges, the leftover larger irregular grade was used for Kishk, since it was going to be milled anyway.

Milling is going to be part of the process. I'm either going to use my food processor, or buy the milling attachment for my Kitchen Aid.

#9 ChefCrash

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:26 PM

This is like Greek trahana. In fact, I googled and yes, kishk and trahana are the same. My MIL always used to talk about the trahana her mother used to make in Greece.

Is it good? It just doesn't sound appealing to me, but...


If your MIL always talked about it, it must be good:)

#10 ChefCrash

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:18 AM

Continuing on...


The yogurt was made the way we always make it. Heated 2 gallons of whole milk to 115*F and added about a cup of previously made yogurt. Mixed it all then poured it into 3 smaller containers, covered and wrapped all with a blanket. This is what they looked like the next day.

Kishk_8.jpg

Kishk has a sharp, pungent, blue-cheesy, funky, not much unlike "Shankleesh" aroma and flavor, that you're not going to get by simply mixing yogurt and bulgar.

To get that profile, the recipe calls for leaving the yogurt at room temperature for a few days to develop a tangier (more sour) flavor. We took a sample and placed it in the fridge. The sample would later be used to compare with the stuff left at room temperature to gauge sourness.

Sure enough by the fifth day the yogurt was much tangier than the refrigerated sample. But we still didn't know how sour it was supposed to get. After all it is fall and cool here Mid Michigan. Sure our kitchen is at 72*F but it feels cold, and our folks used to and still make this stuff in August and September where daytime temps. easily reach 90*F.

Luckily, we didn't have to wonder much longer. On the sixth day one of the containers developed a tiny speck of what looked like mold on the surface of the yogurt:)

Mold removed, it was time to do some combining. For the 2 gallons of yogurt we used 1 kilo of Bulgar 1/2 coarse and 1/2 fine. No reason, that's what we had. The grains were spread on to a sheet pan and place in a 200*F oven a few minutes to rid them of any moisture.

Kishk_9.jpg



While warm, the grains were combined with half the yogurt and mixed well.
The container was covered with a blanket and left out.
Kishk_10.jpg


The rest of the yogurt was strained in a strainer lined with paper towel as you would make Labneh. But we didn't strain it too long. It needed to be a little soft, because over the next two days it would have to be incorporated into the yogurt bulgar mixture.

The next day:

The Labneh (strained yogurt) was ready

Kishk_11.jpg


And this is what our mixture looked like. It had grown in volume and became stiff, the result of grains absorbing liquid. It was warm, the sign of fermentation.

Kishk_12.jpg


Now it was time to incorporate half the Labneh into the mixture. That's done by grabbing a large handful of mixture in one hand, adding a smaller handful of Labneh with the other hand, mixing them together and placing that in a clean bowl until all was incorporated. A tedious job my wife chose to do on the floor to save her arms. During this procedure we added 4 tsp of table salt to taste. It needed more but I was afraid too much salt at this point would slow down or stop the fermentation.

Kishk_13.jpg

The bowl was covered with a blanket. The next day the rest of the Labneh was incorporated and 2 more tsp of salt were added.

To be continued...

#11 rotuts

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 05:00 AM

thanks for continuing. this is quite interesting!

#12 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 08:35 AM


This is like Greek trahana. In fact, I googled and yes, kishk and trahana are the same. My MIL always used to talk about the trahana her mother used to make in Greece.

Is it good? It just doesn't sound appealing to me, but...


If your MIL always talked about it, it must be good:)


But most of the things she talked about she made -- she was an excellent cook in her day. But the trahana was only talked about, never made, so I wondered if it were one of those childhood memories that are best left in memory. Apparently folks here really like it. Or maybe ME kishk is better than Greek-style?

#13 patrickamory

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:06 AM

ChefCrash: this is great, and combines a couple of processes I've been wanting to try.

Question: you said you'd be milling the bulgur, but then I don't see a reference to that in your description above. Did you do it before placing the grains in the oven, or after they came out of the oven but before combining with the yogurt?

#14 ChefCrash

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 08:15 PM



This is like Greek trahana. In fact, I googled and yes, kishk and trahana are the same. My MIL always used to talk about the trahana her mother used to make in Greece.

Is it good? It just doesn't sound appealing to me, but...


If your MIL always talked about it, it must be good:)


But most of the things she talked about she made -- she was an excellent cook in her day. But the trahana was only talked about, never made, so I wondered if it were one of those childhood memories that are best left in memory. Apparently folks here really like it. Or maybe ME kishk is better than Greek-style?


The reason your MIL never made Trahana will become clear in the next 2 and last steps of making Kish.


ChefCrash: this is great, and combines a couple of processes I've been wanting to try.

Question: you said you'd be milling the bulgur, but then I don't see a reference to that in your description above. Did you do it before placing the grains in the oven, or after they came out of the oven but before combining with the yogurt?


Hi Patrick, the bulgar we mixed with yogurt was simply cracked cooked wheat the way it comes from the store. After the Kish is dried it will be milled to the consistency of corn meal. So we're not yet at that stage.

#15 ChefCrash

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:29 PM

At this point had what is called "green kishk". It's good to eat like a spread, mixed with finely diced onions, some mint (fresh or dried) and a drizzle of good olive oil.

The next step is to dehydrate the Kish. Traditionally, the Kishk is formed into golf sized balls and laid out on blankets placed on rooftops 10 to 12 hours a day in the sun for about a week.
In the evening it's gathered and brought inside til the next day.
As the Kishk dries, it has to be rubbed by hand to expose the wet insides. A very tedious chore. We're taking about several squared yards of Kishk.

In our case we used our oven in dehydrate mode set at 115*F. We laid out blobs of Kishk on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment. I was now a little depressed, we were only able to fit half of the kishk on the three pans. No ploblem. The pans were placed in the oven Wednesday (day before thanksgiving) at 2pm.

Kishk_14.jpg

Kishk_15.jpg



The next day at 7pm, the outside was fairly dry and the color of Bulgar was showing through. My wife pressed the blobs into patties to make them thinner. They went back in the oven.

Kishk_16.jpg



Friday night the Kishk was dry enough to be rubbed together to brake up the individual blobs. We noticed that Kishk on the black non-stick pan was drying faster than the other two. So we moved the kish from the black tray into the other pans and placed what was left of the green kishk in it.

Kishk_17.jpg


Today, Saturday 26th, even if the EXIF data on my photo says the 27th. I just noticed that. The dates on all my photos are off by a day. I thought I was going crazy.
Anyhow the kishk has been drying for a little over 74 hours. I think tomorrow it'll be ready for milling.

Kishk_18.jpg



To be continued...

#16 Genkinaonna

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:17 PM

Wow that's truly a labor of love! I've never heard of this before, so it's really interesting to follow along. Thanks for sharing all your hard work with us.
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#17 patrickamory

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:23 AM

I think the correct response this time is an emoticon:

:blink:

#18 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:42 AM

This stuff better be amazingly good for all that work. Either that or you need 9 Greek grandmothers and aunts hanging around the house happy to do it.

#19 Verjuice

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:01 PM

CHEF! You got me to log back in after a few years away by using the fast track to my heart. This is my favorite topic ever. I can't thank you enough for doing this and for bringing my attention to it. I'll be following closely. Love this! Yeslamu idaykum.

#20 FoodMan

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:15 PM

It's amazing that you are making this yoursefl Chef. Now I will have a record of it in case I ever want to try. Like you, I also get my kishik from Lebanon, made by my grandmother every year. That stuff from the store is pretty awful. I love it mostly on manaiish/fatayir (I think I posted about this a long time ago) and of course like you did, in soup form once in a while when it is cold outside.

L:ooking forward to the final result. As far as I could tell the main difference between Tarhana and Kishik is that Tarhana usually looks much coarser, almost like large couscous pebbles.

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#21 Jaymes

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:55 PM

This stuff better be amazingly good for all that work. Either that or you need 9 Greek grandmothers and aunts hanging around the house happy to do it.


It does look like a lot of work. I think it might be easier for me to just pack up all my stuff and move in next door to you.

:biggrin:

#22 rotuts

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:00 PM

dont get me wrong Ive enjoyed this thread:

but is the stuff: bulgar + yogurt .... steeped .... dried?

love to try some!

#23 FoodMan

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:49 PM

dont get me wrong Ive enjoyed this thread:

but is the stuff: bulgar + yogurt .... steeped .... dried?

love to try some!


More like bulgar + yogurt .... steeped .... Fermented which adds a ton of complex flavor... dried...milled

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#24 rotuts

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:42 PM

Ok Ok as I thought.

I can get bulgur and make my own Yog.

Ill make this.

unfortuntelly no grannies involved

I bet it tastes better with the grannies!

#25 JTravel

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:42 PM

http://www.saudiaram...od.heritage.htm

Coincidence? I don't know. But the new issue of Saudi Aramco World has an article on the old foods of Gaza, and there was Kishk. Two references in one day. If you don't want to read the whole article (I thought it was very interesting) look for the Kishk under the picture of the stew, and another picture of an old lady holding a ball of it. An interesting product and procedr for sure.

#26 ChefCrash

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:39 AM

I think the correct response this time is an emoticon:

:blink:


Patrick
I really resembled this emoticon when it was time to mill:)
But really, if you have any questions please ask. I have a hard time conveying my thoughts in words. I don't mind trying again.



This stuff better be amazingly good for all that work. Either that or you need 9 Greek grandmothers and aunts hanging around the house happy to do it.


Sylvia
Fortunately, the best Kishk (among other staples), is still made by grandmothers. Unfortunately, they are few and won't be around for ever and I don't see the younger generations carrying on the art.


CHEF! You got me to log back in after a few years away by using the fast track to my heart. This is my favorite topic ever. I can't thank you enough for doing this and for bringing my attention to it. I'll be following closely. Love this! Yeslamu idaykum.


Good to hear from you Verjuice
Where have you had Kishk? I know you've lived in and traveled to more Mid Eastern countries than I have.
Can you get good Kishk in the High Dessert?



It's amazing that you are making this yoursefl Chef. Now I will have a record of it in case I ever want to try....


That's exactly why we do this, not only for you but for us too:) Also, according to someone who worked at a Mid Eastern food store, the ingredients on a bag of Tarhana included fish roe. I have searched the web and haven't been able to confirm that.



This stuff better be amazingly good for all that work. Either that or you need 9 Greek grandmothers and aunts hanging around the house happy to do it.



It does look like a lot of work. I think it might be easier for me to just pack up all my stuff and move in next door to you.

:biggrin:


There goes the neighborhood. Wouldn't be easier if I shipped you some.


http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201106/gaza.s.food.heritage.htm

Coincidence? I don't know. But the new issue of Saudi Aramco World has an article on the old foods of Gaza, and there was Kishk. Two references in one day. If you don't want to read the whole article (I thought it was very interesting) look for the Kishk under the picture of the stew, and another picture of an old lady holding a ball of it. An interesting product and procedr for sure.


Thanks for the link I hadn't seen that one. I love Aramco World. If you get a chance, Google Eric Hansen's article, "Of Yogurt and Yoruks" in the july/august 2008 issue of aramco world mag.

Edited by ChefCrash, 29 November 2011 - 01:46 AM.


#27 patrickamory

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 04:17 PM

So Chef, when are we getting the milling post? Eager anticipation here.

#28 Verjuice

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 05:42 AM

Chef, my family (in the UAE) always have kishk in the freezer given to them by someone (generally someone lucky enough to have a grandmother who's still alive). i eat that when i visit them, and then i bring back a jar of green kishk every time i go to lebanon. and... I'll admit it, I buy bags and bags of kishk from a little Lebanese roastery in Abu Dhabi and I bring that back with me to the US. I know the commercial stuff is usually inedible, but this really isn't all that bad. I eat kishk several times a week, so for me mediocre kishk is better than no kishk. And no, definitely none available in the high desert.

#29 ChefCrash

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:26 AM

Sorry we got derailed for a little while.

So we started with 2 gallons of milk ~ 17 lbs and 2.2 lbs of Burghul for a total of say 20 lbs including the yogurt culture. Take away 1 lb of green Kish to test and consume, that left 19 lbs before dehydration.

After drying, we ended up with 2 lbs 15 oz of Kishk ready to be milled. That is a 15.5% yield.

PB282105.jpg


I have a hand cranked Corona mill from our beer brewing days (15 yrs ago), I recall it was crappy at simply cracking barley. So we decided to use the food processor.


After about an hour of this:

PB282125.jpg




And this:

PB282119.jpg


We ended up with this, my wife even made a bag for it:

PB282136.jpg


We were left with 1 lb 3 oz of Kishk that stayed behind in the sifter and refused to be milled:), and 1 lb 15 oz of pretty fine Kishk, a little gritty but acceptable.

The results:

While the green Kishk tasted great to us we had no reference to compare to. For the dry stuff however, we are able to compare to good Kishk sent from home. When I stick my nose in the bag of Kishk from Lebanon and take a whiff, the aroma pulls my face in and fills my head leaving me mesmerized and wanting more.
The one we made doesn't do that. It's tangy, it tastes much better than any store bought stuff, but not as funky and blue-cheesy.

It just isn't "The most intensely delicious thing on earth", yet!!


We have another batch in the works:)
To be continued...

Edited by ChefCrash, 13 December 2011 - 12:33 AM.


#30 nolafoodie

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:43 PM

Interesting post -- this will make me look at kishk (or in my Palestinian villager "falla7i" accent, chishich -- try saying that 5x fast!) in a different light. To be honest, the chishich I know is a bit different from your kishk. The stuff we used to get came in the form of grapefruit-sized balls that could be pulverized to a powdery consistency. I was always under the impression that they were 100% yogurt rather than yogurt blended with bulgur. Do you know if these kishk balls are the same as your kishk powder, or are they cousins bearing a familial resemblance?

In my community (people from a village near Ramallah and Jerusalem, many still living in the village and many living here in the U.S.), kishk is used not so much for eating straight, but rather in the soup/sauce for mansaf. To be honest, my family has never been fond of kishk, finding it too funky and too goaty for their tastes, but I don't mind mansaf made with a little of the stuff (I'm not a fan of goat milk and cheese consumed alone, but consider them nice additions in small doses).

So, now I wonder whether your results, "not as funky and blue cheesy," may have had to do with using cow's milk for your yogurt. I wonder what would happen if you used sheep's milk, goat's milk, or some combination.