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Meat in Yogurt Sauce

I’m going to be honest right from the start. This soup really is an acquired taste. The first time I had it, not only did I think the very idea of it was strange (it’s basically yogurt soup), but I didn’t like how it tasted either (it was tangy!). I was able to spend quite a bit of time in the Middle East when my hubby and I first married…and the longer I stayed the more my tastes changed. It was right around the time I started enjoying slimy green soup that I also started to like Shakriya. Even though Mike and I no longer live in the Middle East we regularly eat (and love) this dish.

Have you ever tried Shakriya? If so, did you like it the first time you had it?

Meat in Yogurt Sauce 2

Shakriya (Arabic Meat in Yogurt Sauce)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 6 to 8 servings, if served along with rice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1½ to 2 lbs (680 to 910 g) red meat (lamb, beef, or bison), trimmed of fat and cubed
  • Water, to cover the meat
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed using a mortar and pestle
  • 32 oz (910 g) plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water to form a slurry
  • Salt to taste
  • Prepared rice, for serving (topped with toasted nuts, if desired)
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to ripple, add the meat and let it brown on one side (about 3 to 5 minutes) before stirring it. Stir the meat and add just enough water to cover it (about 3 cups/710 ml). Add the bouillon cubes and bay leaf. Bring it up to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook (covered) until the meat is tender, about 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary (you should have about 2 cups/475 ml of water left in the pot after cooking the meat).
  2. Add the yogurt and cornstarch slurry to the meat. Cook over low heat until it comes to a simmer, stirring continuously in one direction with a wooden spoon.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil with the crushed garlic in a small skillet over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sauteed garlic to the soup.
  4. Taste the soup and add salt as desired.
  5. Serve with prepared rice.
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. If I don’t have plain yogurt, can I substitute the plain yogurt with Greek yogurt?

    1. Kate, I haven’t tried this recipe using Greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt, but I think it could work if you water it down to the consistency of regular yogurt. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

  2. ANASTASIA says:

    Dear Faith,
    This is the best, yummiest lunch for my family. My husband is Saudi, and to be honest I’m not good at cooking Arabic dishes. But this one- like a restaurant dish. My hubby loves it. Thank you so much for this easy recipe. I replaced meat with chicken thigh fillets and OH MY!!! Success. Can’t thank you enough!!!

  3. I hated shakriya for years i left it to my mother in law to make for her son. I dont like yogurt at all in anything but when i was was in Syria i ate a meat dish that had a yogurt and tahini sauce baked on top of it. It was so delicious i have been craving it for years. So i decided to try and make something to quench my craving for it so i made Shakriya with tahini in it. It was amazin and everyone loved it. Now i make my own version of shakriya and we all like it. I know that when i was in Damascus our family doesnt use as much spices as i prefer. I think mostly due to high blood pressure and health concerns. I like my food with more flavor and i usually increase the salt, pepper and all spices.

    Thanks for these recipes on your site.

  4. Cherietta says:

    I LOVE shakriya!! It especially suites me well when I’m under the weather (which isn’t very often). BUT you are absolutely correct about us westerners getting past the IDEA of it. Once I finally gave in, I was hooked. Now, I’m craving it just from looking at your photos.

  5. My husband is Lebanese and I’ve cooked this dish using lamb but I added a little all spice and garlic at the end. We both liked it a lot… My taste bud changed greatly after moving to UAE 8yrs ago… I learnt a great heaps of arabic cooking and Alhamdulelah hubby loves it. Whatever makes him happy I’m contented. Speaking abt slimy soup molokhiya…i love…love…love it esp with a squeeze of lemon at the end…ahhh…yummy! Love ur site n will definitely be coming back fr more Masalama… :)

  6. My husband tried this dish at a mates house and got the recipe for me the only difference is i use corriander with the garlic its got such an amazing aroma to it at first i was afraid to try it but wen i did it was absolutely delightful now my kids ask for it

  7. I am Lebanese, we cook this dish I want to tall you guys that it is more than deliciouse :P

  8. I have made this many times (at least a close version) and eaten it many more. It is really good and once you get hooked, you’ll crave it, too! We once made a big batch and had a bunch of unexpected company, so that when I finally got to eat some, all the meat had been eaten out of it and we had served it with rice but run out of it, as well. I gobbled just the sauce and ate it with pita bread. YUM! I have also seen some people brown a bit of paprika with the garlic at the end and spoon this as a garnish for taste and a pretty color contrast.

  9. tsueblanton says:

    I actually add 2 eggs and a half cup of milk to the cornstarch (no water) and mix it into the yogurt in a blender. It also helps to add 1 beef flavored cube to the yogurt mix after it has thickened. Yes, I believe this is an acquired taste. It has taken me well over a year to begin to like it!!

  10. My mom used to make it exactly like this except without the basil leave. Its one of my fav arabic dishes. Thanks for the post i was looking for the exact recipe.

  11. That looks really wonderful! I love Middle Eastern dish that contain yoghurt!



  12. Of course I grew up with yogurt and yogurt based soups and stews; what makes it addictive to me is the cilantro pesto we swirl in the soup at the last minute. Where in the middle east did you live?

    1. Joumana, We were in Amman and Damascus (my hubby’s family has houses in both places so we went between them both). It was a lovely time and I really enjoyed being immersed in the culture there. And the people in Damascus were so sweet!

  13. I’ve never had Shakriya before, but I love tangy yogurt so I’m sure I would like this! Besides, I would try anything you make, Faith :) Your Rhogan Josh is in my queue.

    (I have to admit, when I first saw the word “Shakriya”, I though it said “Shakira” – whoops :) )

  14. This sounds totally interesting! My hubby would totally dig it!

  15. I have never tried this tangy soup, but I have to say my interest is peaked. I enjoy all the ingredients in it, so I am sure the combination is wonderful. How interesting that your lived in the Middle East for some time. Must have been strange to come back home. xo

  16. This looks yummy, I think I would actually like this right away we love yogurt in our house, and have marinatined meast in yogurt also..


  17. I have never had this, but it sounds yummy to me. I think yogurt, unsweetened, is definitely an acquired taste. I’ve been using it more and more lately in smoothies, and whenever a recipe calls for sour cream. I made a bacon/potato/cabbage dish last night that called for garnishing with caraway seeds and sour cream — the yogurt I used instead was delicious :) Thanks for sharing such interesting dishes and broadening my horizons.

  18. Have you tried just yogurt soup? I’ve never had the warm type though. Should be fun to try!

  19. I love yogurt sauce! Your dish looks inviting!

  20. New to me but looks creamy and delicious. I must try yoghurt in my cooking.

  21. Confession: My pictures are off the Internet of NOLA…I’ve never been–until manana!

  22. I love Arabic food and I bet this would be amazing. Ali really loves yogurt and meat (of course) so I am going to give this one a try the next time I feel like being nice to him.

    It might be a while. :)

  23. Thank you for such an informative post. You’ve truly introduced something new here. I would love to give it a try. Cheers!

  24. I’ve never heard of or tried Shakriya – but it sounds wonderful! That’s so neat that you guys lived in the Middle East! No wonder you’re such a wonderful cook! :)

  25. This soup sure sounds interesting! I bet the yogurt helps to tenderize the meat…

  26. Veronica M. says:

    The name of this dish makes me want to sing “And I’m on tonight, you know my hips don’t lie and I’m starting to feel it’s right.” Just switch the R & I and take out the Y and you’ve got Shakira–tee hee. I wonder if she likes shakriya. Then you could see pics of her eating it on the patio of a restaurant with the caption, “Shakira enjoying shakriya.” I’m so tickled, it’s ridiculous. :) This looks like something that would be served at an Indian restaurant–almost everything I’ve ordered so far (I’m new to Indian food) is chunks of meat in a bowl with a lot of sauce and rice served in a separate bowl. What do you put in your rice? Are those vermicelli noodles or something?

    1. Barbara – You’re absolutely right, the rice is very important to this dish. The meat and yogurt sauce is typically spooned onto the rice and eaten that way.

      Veronica – The pasta that’s in the rice is called filini (you can see the box it comes in here). The pasta is toasted in a little oil and then the rice is cooked right in with the pasta (this rice is like the precursor to Rice a Roni). :)

  27. This is new to me, Faith. I’ve not had much Arabic food. It’s really a fascinating recipe and I would love to give it a try. It sounds as though the rice is an important component?

  28. i’d probably be very hesitant to try this dish, but i suspect my bravery would be rewarded! i love the uniqueness of it–thanks for sharing!

  29. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I’ve never heard of this specialty before but would love to try!

  30. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Hmmm… I’ve had a lot of arabic dishes, but i’ve never tried this one. I wonder if I would like it. I’d deffinitely want to try it.
    Have a great day ahead.
    *kisses* HH

  31. I love yoghurt soup! Agree that it’s an acquired taste. Will try your recipe soon!

    PS: Turkish tripe soup is still something I cannot like lol

  32. I’ve never heard of this but I’m always up for trying new things. It sounds pretty good! :)

  33. That actually looks REALLY fascinating, and even if I don’t like it initially, I’m sure I’ll pretend to love it just to sound really sophisticated, lol. Also, I think it’s a taste that lingers in your mouth enough to make you start craving the second bite!

  34. I have never tried Shakriya but I enjoy many Arabic dishes. I love trying new things. It is funny how your tastes change over time. I now love curry dishes – but not at first try!

  35. What an interesting recipe Faith! I don’t think I’ve ever tried it although is it very different (and please excuse the possibly strange comparison) to a salty lassi? I do love the idea of it though so perhaps I should give it a go! :D

  36. It sounds like my relationship with Greek yogurt. I used to not really like it but ate it because it was good for me. And now I crave it and can eat it plain, by the cupful!

    So probably I would love this. It looks quite creamy and delicious.

  37. I’ve actually never heard of that before – definitely an interesting soup!

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