Sunday, 10 May 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #11 – Yoghurt

Conchiglie with Yoghurt, Peas and Chilli

Dee – For May 2015’s featured ingredient, yoghurt, I chose an interesting sounding recipe for Conchiglie Pasta with Yoghurt, Peas and Chilli, that is detailed on page 111.  The yoghurt plays a central role in the dish by acting as the base of the pasta sauce.
The recipe itself is a version of a traditional Palestinian dish of possible Turkish origin called Shish Barak, the difference being that Shish Barak features meat filled dumplings rather than pasta in the yoghurt sauce.
As with the Hot Yoghurt and Barley soup which I made for Tasting Jerusalem #4 (click here for details), I was extremely nervous about cooking with yoghurt on account of some previous disasters caused by it splitting as soon as it entered the cooking pot.  Despite this, I still ended up risking all by using fat-free Greek yoghurt which is even more prone to splitting than the full-fat version.
The yoghurt and the pasta were both available in 500g packs, so I made the whole quantity as specified in the recipe.  It listed six servings, but I think we will probably be able to stretch it to eight if we serve up slightly smaller portions for lunch.
There was nothing complex about the recipe, although care was needed when adding the cooked pasta to the yoghurt in such a way that it didn’t split.  We were extra careful with this and thankfully it worked out fine.  The dish was prepared in stages; the yoghurt sauce, the peas, the pasta and the pine nuts and chilli garnish all needing to be made separately before serving.
Once everything was ready, the pasta, sauce, peas, basil and feta were stirred together, with the pine nuts and chilli being sprinkled on top as a garnish.  I was lucky enough to have some Turkish pul biber to mix in with the pine nuts, providing much less heat than chilli flakes would have done, but the recipe explains that chilli flakes can be used, with some smoked paprika mixed in.
We both really enjoyed this dish, and Jay commented that it was full of spring flavours, just right for a clear May evening.  I found it to be light in texture yet still quite filling, with the pine nuts and pul biber adding small bursts of crunchiness, colour, spice and a toasted nutty flavour.  As the commentary accompanying the recipe stated, the taste was quite different to the much more familiar Italian pasta dishes.  We enjoyed it hot for our tea but I think we will see if it is as good for lunch at room temperature.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest

(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)


  1. This is still on my wish list for cooking but I am certain I would love it. The crunchy pine nuts would just take it over the top. It was an all yogurt/yoghurt weekend for me - so much more to come as we continue to crescendo into yogurt month. Just love having you participating!

    1. That's great, I'm looking forward to seeing what you make. I can definitely recommend this dish, but have found that the quantities can cater for eight rather than the specified six.
      Many thanks for the kind words. I'm really enjoying researching all the recipes and it's great to see the project growing. Long may it continue.