Syrian-Style Shakriya With Rice

"Pronounced "shack-ree-ay", this is a yogurt-based dish that can be made with beef, lamb, or chicken. If you decide to make with beef as I usually do, the meat must be boiled separately in beef stock for a minimum of 3 hours to make it melt-in-your-mouth tender for the best results. This dish is best paired with arabic-style rice and if preferred, a salad. I have tried this recipe with American and Greek style yogurts but they do give the best results. The American yogurt is not sour enough and forms little balls that separate out of the liquid and the Greek yogurt is often too thick and is not the right consistency. Arabic yogurt can be found in most Arabic or Halal grocery stores. Also, if making the rice, I usually use Ghee but if you cannot find it, butter is a good substitute. Margarine is not as it contains too much water and evaporates without doing its job, browning the vermicelli. Also, some find it easy to pre-blend the corn starch into the milk before adding it to the yogurt. Doing this will not harm the recipe. I have always used a non-stick pan. If you do not have one, be sure it does not stick to the bottom or burn by stirring quickly and consistantly and use a lower temperature. Be sure to soak the rice for at least 2 hours and wash it until its water is no longer cloudy before cooking."
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Ready In:
13 cups


  • 2 (32 ounce) containers of arabic-style yogurt (Romi's, Arz)
  • 32 ounces meat, cubed
  • 8 ounces milk, halved
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, halved
  • 1 beef stock cube, depending on meat used
  • 2 eggs
  • arabic rice (optional)
  • 32 ounces medium grain rice
  • 8 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
  • 5 tablespoons butter


  • Boil meat in a stock pot until fork tender in broth or whatever seasings you usually use. Boiling time will vary depending on type of meat used and cut of meat chosen. Obviously, chicken will not take as long as beef or lamb. This step may take up to 3 hours.
  • Get an 8 QT non-stick pot ready. In a blender, blend one container of yogurt, one tablespoon of corn starch, 1/2 cup of milk and one egg until well blended. Pour into waiting pot.
  • Repeat with second container of yogurt.
  • Place 8 QT pot on medium heat and stir continually until thickened. DO NOT LET IT BOIL! During this time, add the buillon cube, but crush it first to make sure it dissolves faster. You will know it is done when it is really starting to stick to the sides of the pan and coats a spoon. This step should be about 15 minutes.
  • Salt the yogurt sauce to taste, but be careful not to cover its natural sourness. That is the heart of the dish. If you feel it may be a tad too thick, add some water, 1/4 cup at a time. This also helps if you have added too much salt. Add the meat to the yogurt sauce at this time.
  • In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat it just enough to melt the butter. Add the vermicelli and stir. Turn up heat so the vermicelli begins to "fry" and turn a golden-brown color. Remove from heat if it burns or gets too dark brown. This step should be about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the white rice thoroughly and add it to the browned vermicelli, mixing them together well. Follow the cooking directions on the bag of rice from this point out. Salt to taste. This step should be about 30 minutes.
  • To serve, place a generous helping of rice to one side of a shallow bowl and fill the other half of the bowl with the yogurt sauce and meat.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I loved the recipe and tried it today, everyone was very happy with the yogurt yet it needs more spices, or maybe more beef broth with stronger spices while boiling the meat. Great job and looking for more.
  2. I was fully prepared to greatly love this dish but, sadly, I didn't. I guess that I was expecting more from the yogurt as flavor. To my personal taste this was very bland and in need of some great Middle East spicing. I used chicken meat and broth, perhaps beef would be a better choice? For me it improved a lot with a liberal amount of Recipe #428327. Made for A Taste Of Syria in the North Africa/Middle East forum. Sept 2013.


I love food, however, I was recently diagnosed with a catastrophic autoimmune-induced attack, which caused kidney disease at 33 years old. I spent 5 weeks in the hospital. At their lowest, my kidneys were 80% full of blood clots and down to 20% functioning capacity, but have improved to about 40%...a major victory! After eating whatever I wanted for 33 years, I've suddenly found myself limited to 50g of protein a day, on top of restrictions of 2,000 mg daily of sodium and potassium and under 1,000 mg of phosphorus (AKA "the big four") on top of maintaining a Coumadin diet (little to no vitamin K). Because I'm not diabetic, I don't have as many restrictions on the foods I can eat, like a diabetic would. There is no "golden diet" that one can simply jump on, straight out of the hospital, and it caused a lot of frustration. My first trip to the grocery store actually made me cry. So, I have learned to compare brands of items and read every label. Yes, shopping has become a two-plus hour process while I'm learning, and it's only temporary but necessary. It's taken a few weeks, but my taste for salt is diminishing. The trick is to use other seasonings to trick the brain into forgetting about the salt. As I come up with recipes suitable for a kidney diet, I will share them here. Hopefully, they can be of use to fellow kidney patients. I will always try to mention the brand names of the items I use, as they most likely have low "big four" numbers. My advice for newly diagnosed kidney patients is to invest in a good set of measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a scale. Personally, I use an Escali Mercado stainless steel scale I purchased on Amazon. I use it for every meal and remember: always weigh your meats BEFORE cooking them!
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