Kishk is a fine powder made of a mixture of cracked wheat and yogurt, which has been carefully fermented. It is an important part of winter conservation. It is usually prepared in the beginning of October, when the weather is mild and sunny and kept for all year consumption. The actual procedure takes about a week and a half. In remote villages, you can see rooftops covered with white sheets, overlaid with Kishk. Two patient women, from the Khalifeh family in Ballouneh, Antoinette and Mounira took great pains with summer to teach me exactly how to make Kishk. (From the author of Man’oushé)
Basically, the procedure is to mix yogurt (laban) made from cow or goat milk, with cracked wheat and salt. The mixture is fermented until you get a rancid taste, then it is dried in the sun for three days, while rubbing the mixture periodically. This mixture is rubbed to a very fine powder and put into airtight containers.
60 g (4 oz -1/2 cup) of kishk
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped or grated
120 ml (4 fl oz - 1/2 cup) of olive oil
5 ml (1 teaspoon) of red tomato paste
4 tablespoons of uncooked sesame seeds (optional)
Yields 4 pies.
Start with the dough. Divide into 4 equal pieces.
1- In a mixing bowl, blend the kishk with the tomatoes, onion, red tomato paste, and the olive oil. You may need to add some water to loosen the mixture to obtain a cream-like consistency.
2- Spread mixture on the prepared dough. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
3- If using the hot griddle or convex disk, let the dough form small bubbles before spreading the topping. The time of cooking depends on source of heat; 3 to 5 minutes should be enough.
4- If the cooking method to be used is the conventional cooking oven, preheat the oven to 200 oC (400 oF – Gas mark 6). Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.
5- Serve the pies hot.
You may cook the onions and tomatoes separately in a small pan, and then add the mixture to the kishk with the olive oil.