Traditional broth needs to be made well in advance. It will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator but can also be frozen. Put the lamb bones in a saucepan and cover with water, 5 cm/2 inches above the level of the bones. Add a dash of apple vinegar. Bring slowly to the boil and skim off the foam that forms on the surface. Simmer over a low heat for at least six hours. Strain the broth into jars and discard the bones. As the broth cools, fat forms on top. This fat is not removed in traditional Azerbaijani cooking, but it can be skimmed off and thrown away for those who don’t like very fatty soups. Dushbara can also be served in a lighter vegetable broth made with onion, carrot and garlic.
Preparation time: 60 min
Cooking time: 20 min
For the broth
a few saffron threads soaked for at least 30 minutes in warm water (optional)
salt, to taste
For the filling
200 g/8 oz minced lamb (or 100 g/4 oz minced lamb and 100 g/4 oz minced beef)
1 medium-sized onion
1/2 tspn turmeric
salt & pepper
For the dough
500 g/1lb 4 oz wheat flour
1 glass water
dried mint or fresh coriander
Peel and grate or finely chop the onion.
Mix the minced meat, grated onion, salt & pepper and turmeric.
Make a light dough from the flour, water, salt and egg.
Divide the dough into four large balls. Place the balls on a tea towel and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1.5 mm/1/16th inch. Traditionally, a thin, light rolling pin is used. Add flour when rolling out if the dough is too sticky. The thinner the dough, the better the dushbara!
The rolled dough should be cut into strips and, in turn, the strips cut into squares 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm/3/5 inch x 3/5 inch. If the dushbara are too large, the meat will not cook in the middle. The best dushbara are those small enough to fit 10 to a tablespoon.
Put a pinch of filling in the middle of each square. Fold the corners together to make a square or triangular dumpling.
Bring the pan of stock to the boil. Add the water and soaked saffron threads (optional) and salt. Put the dushbara in the pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the dushbara rise to the surface (usually around 15 minutes).
Serve the dushbara in bowls. Crumble dried mint or chopped fresh coriander over the surface of the dushbara. A mixture of crushed garlic and grape vinegar is served with the dushbara.