Dumpling Soup (Dushbere)

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere)
Hi, I am back. And I am going to challenge you today as I did myself yesterday, cooking dushbere, Azerbaijani dumpling soup. It is my four-year-old daughter’s favorite, who loves this soup so much that she will trade her favorite macaroni and cheese for a bowl of dushvere without any hesitation. When she asked me to make it again yesterday I knew it was going to be a huge challenge since she stayed home from school with a little cold and my 6-month old was around too, wanting attention. Since I was going to cook it anyway, I thought why not take pictures and share them with you? It was a big challenge with the kids around, but luckily (mostly due to the baby’s longer nap this time) it worked out just fine.

So what is dushbere after all? It is a classic soup, indigenous to Baku, the capital, but popular all over the country. Traditionally the broth is prepared by boiling chunks of lamb in water and then straining it. But nowadays home cooks prefer a quicker versions of the broth – all water based. Whatever version you may want to choose, one thing is for sure – you will love this soup at first spoon. Pour some vinegar-garlic sauce in your soup and you will say yes, please, another serving!

A tip before we start. You rolled the dough thinly – work fast from that point on, since it tends to dry out quickly. When dry it is difficult to seal the squares into dumplings. Now, if you want to claim you are a good cook, here’s a challenge for you – if you want to be crowned the next best dushbere maker, try to fit 10 cooked dumplings on a spoon, as this is the norm in Azerbaijan.

Preparing the dumplings requires some patience, true. But over time you will get a hang of it. Believe me, to be able to fit 5 dumplings on a spoon I started with a jumbo size dushbere 5 years ago, slowly progressing towards a smaller size and finally achieving the goal of 10 on a spoon! So, it is possible. And I hope I will make the process easier for you with the pictures I took the day I challenged myself. Enjoy!

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Raw Dumplings

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Raw Dumplings

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.

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.

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Rolling 1

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Rolling 1

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Rolling 2

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Rolling 2

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Rolled

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Rolled

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Cutting

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Cutting

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Cutting 2

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Cutting 2

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Stuffing

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Stuffing

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) - Wrapping Steps

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere) – Wrapping Steps



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  1. It was my favorite back in Baku. Thanks for posting!

  2. I will be making this for Sat. dinner thanks for posting I will let you know how it came out.

  3. I’m not a meat-eater, but, wow, your pictures are mouth-watering (except for the meat hehehe). Thanks for visiting my http://www.whirledsoup.blogspot.com site I’ll come back to look over more of your yummy food! All the best, Cynthia

  4. Thank you for your comments. Jenijen, hope you like the soup. Let me know how it goes. Cynthia, thanks. Come back again, I will be posting some no-meat yummies too.

  5. Thanks for posting this recipe with so detailed photos. I make it often, my husband and son just love it.But I make it with tumerik-curcuma or tomatoe. I add to broth 1tsp of tumerik (sarikok)instead of tomatoe. Now all health and diet books tell about helth benefit of tumeric-curcuma, it’s anticanserous,good for digestive system and etc. And it gives good taste to food.

  6. Thank you for your comment. Turmeric is a good option too for this recipe, it’s all a matter of taste. I am glad you like the recipe. Enjoy!

  7. Farida, thank you for this detailed, colorful, and yummy recipe. I love it! My mouth is watering. I will definitely recommend it to my friends. I want to come to your kitchen again:)

  8. Hi Farida,
    My mom says that she was very lucky not only to see your amazing dishes on the site but to try some of them to at your place. Now she strongly recommends it to everybody who is interested in Azeri cuisine.

  9. Thank you Pauline! You are welcome to come cook with me:) Emel and Shargiyya Xanim, you are very sweet! It is pleasure knowing you!

  10. Beautiful and interesting recipes. This reminds me (a bit) of the Italian “Tortellini in Brodo” (small stuffed pasta ‘hats’ in broth). This looks beautiful. amy @ http://www.neverfull.wordpress.com

  11. Hi Amy. Thanks for visiting. You are right, these dumplings are close in size and shape to Italian tortellinis. This soup is delicious, one of my favorites!

  12. Hi..I see you have a nice recipe, I love dumplings too, but I never did it. I would try your recipe ifI have time.

  13. Those might be the most adorable dumplings I have ever seen! Your step-by-step instructions are terrific (especially with the photos!) – and I am amazed that you were able to do all of that with your children about! Great job!

  14. Girls Life: Thank you for visiting. Glad you like the recipe.

    Katie: Thank you! The soup is delicious – honestly, it is not the easiest soup to make but the time and effort is usually worth it, at least for my family, who can’t stop eating it:)

  15. Back in Baku we wrap dushbara slightly different and don’t add tomato sauce and onion to the broth. Is it specific for certain part of Azerbaijan to prepare it this way?

  16. Lala, thanks for your comment. I am curious about the way you wrap dushbara. Honestly, I didn’t know there is another way to do it, but live and learn:) I know gyurza is wrapped differently, but not dushbara. Please share your method. As to the broth, onions-tomato paste version is cooked in our family and I have tried this version in other homes in Baku too. I am not sure if it is regional or not – this is something I need to investigate. I have also tried dushbara where only turmeric (sarikok), or zafaran or chopped fresh tomato is added to broth. I find the onion-tomato makes the soup tastier. What is your method of making dushbara broth? I am curious and open to new ideas:) Thanks again.

  17. Well Bakuvians fold it two times in a shape of square and then seal two edges together. The whole point is to have it very small, supposedly 7-8 dushbaras should “fit” in a table spoon. Dushbara should be cooked in a boiled salty water, once it’s ready butter, chopped cilantro should be added. It’s usually served with vinegar and chopped garlic (depends on taste)… I’ve never heard of broth you use in your recipe. But I know some people prepare it on meat or chicken broth…

  18. Lala, you are absolutely right. I just remembered that I’ve seen dushbara wrapped the way you described in Baku. Thanks for reminding me. Interesting to learn about the broth you described. Sounds delicious and authentic. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Thank youuuuu soooo much! As a real bakunian I am going to prepare my favoutit meal over the comming weekend.
    Everyone knows in Baku when I go back there, dushbara is number one in the list of my orders)))) pomidor-badimjan dolmasi is second….. I better stop right now)))

  20. Fuad, welcome to my blog. Dushbara is my favorite too. It’s addictive. Whoever tries it for the first time, falls in love with it. Good luck making your favorite dish:)

  21. Buy the way, Farida, do you by any chance have a recipe of Fisinjan? (donnow the right spelling though). Would appreciate to have it. Cheers. Fuad.

  22. Dear Farida
    Just made this. It is just like my granma used to make! She gave me the recipe but i had lost it. She used spinach with tomotoe paste for the sauce. Yummy! aash maast next 🙂

  23. Dear Farida…

    Thank you for posting up this recipe. It reminds me of how my grandmother used to make a Korean dumpling dish very similar to Dushbere; called manduguk, only the dumplings she made were a bit bigger. (now deceased; sorry didn’t mean to bring a tragic event up). I’ll give this a try… maybe even make this on a special occasion.

    However I was wondering… is it possible to substitute the meat filling for a vegetable based filling?

    Thank You. (smiles and blessings)

  24. HAYDEN: Thank you for your comment. dumplings are universal, aren’t they:) Traditionally, dushbere is made with meat filling, and never with vegetables. It won’t have the same taste with vegetables, but if you don’t eat meat, that vegetables is the way to go. Enjoy!:)

  25. I could never imagine that one day I’d cook Dushbere 🙂 But I did it !!! All I needed to do is to follow your recipe!

    You are doing a great job, Farida…



  26. Dear Farida xanum! Thanks a lot for the recipe which I found very helpful.Our family enjoyed Dushbere .With best regards from England. 🙂

  27. Hello Everyone,

    I was curious which vinegar everyone uses as the taste between red wine, apple cider, and other vinegars are so different.

    Thank you 🙂

  28. ANNE – For dushbere and other pasta dishes, Azerbaijanis typically use red wine vinegar.

  29. Dear Feride,

    Thank you very much for your wonderful work, and devotion! I have tried many of your recipes and they have never failed me! You actually inspired me to cook! Yesterday, I have made dushbere and it turned out just great! I just wanted to ask you, whether you could post a recipe for authentic piti. I have looked for many recipes but they are all different and I am not so sure which one would make the best piti. I thought maybe you know the secrets of this great culinary highlight of Sheki! Thank you in advance!

  30. Does anyone know where to order the large round cutting board and the rolling pin? the easiest way would be to order them on line, but If anyone knows of any store in Maryland, US, your information would be appreciated.

    FIRIDE – AZ COOKBOOK: I’ve seen rolling pins in Persian/Middle Eastern markets in our area (Los Angeles) but not the cutting board. Check Maryland stores. Might carry them.

  31. Try lowes or Home Depot. They carry wooden table tops for decorating. They work good. Or if you know someone who can cut wood for you, pick a board of wood like plywood and ask them to cut out a circle.

  32. Hi Feride,

    My mom (from Istanbul) used to make something similar, but called it “pilmen”. My guess is that name came from the Russian “pelmeni” (her family were partly Tatars from Kazan). Cool to see a very similar dish here 🙂


    • Thank you for your comment, Filiz. Yes, pilmen is what the Russians call pelmeni:) Pelmeni is usually bigger in size and are served without the cooking liquid. Also very delicious:)

  33. Hi Feride,

    Interesting; the way my mom made what she called “pilmen” was actually more your your Dushbere– with the broth, and small-ish, almost like manti. Anyway, the migration of food traditions and food name etymologies is a fascinating thing! I’ve been enjoying reading about your Azerbaijani recipes & traditions to see both the similarities and differences.

    Ellerinize saglik,

    • My dad is tatar and mom azeri. We always had to specify which pelmeni we wanted. Big Siberian ones (dad’s), small in broth (mom’s) 🙂

      Love your blog! Definately makes the recipes less intimidating. 🙂

      • Thank you, Naila. Both big and small “pelmeni” will be in my book!

  34. Ferida,

    I use your recipes to kook and love them! But I’m not finding the recipe for Hash, do you have one?

  35. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  36. Hi,

    Farida and thanks for your recipes, I love you site and use it quite often. I will be making dushbere and I wonder will it be only one “kunde” from the dough or more?

    • Hi Nara. Thank you for using my recipes. You can make one large kunde, or make 2 and even 3 smaller ones. It is easier to work with smaller kundes if you have a smaller countertop/table to roll out the dough and you are intimidated to work with a large piece of dough. Good luck!

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