KURZE

Juhuro Beef Dumplings

Yield: 200 dumplings

Cook Time: 1 – 2 hours
(depending on dumpling-making skill)

 

Watch Video

Kurze are small dumplings filled with savory juicy beef and onions, popular throughout Dagestan and Azerbaijan. They say that “one isn’t done eating kurze until their body is stuffed from mouth to bottom.” Our Juhuro version is Kosher.

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Ingredients

DOUGH

6 cups white flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups of water

 

FILLING

2lbs ground beef*
1 very large onion
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

*the higher quality and fattier, the better

 

SAUCES

Crushed garlic
Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

DOUGH

1. Boil ½ cup of water.

2. Mix the boiling water with the flour.

3. Add remaining ingredients and knead.

4. Cover dough and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the filling.

FILLING

1. Sauté onions until they are translucent, then add tomato paste.

2. In a large bowl, combine chopped cilantro, onion mixture, and raw beef. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add a small splash of water to the filling mixture, this helps make things juicy.

ASSEMBLE THE KURZE

1. Roll out the dough.

2. Cut circles in the dough using the rim of a glass.

3. Place a spoonful of filling into the center of each circle and close each kurze with the traditional braided look. See the video to learn how—it’s definitely a skill! And make sure your dominant hand is the one doing the work.

COOK THE KURZE

1. Boil some water, add salt.

2. Boil the kurze until they float, making sure to stir so they don’t stick.

3. Serve the kurze with crushed garlic and/or balsamic vinegar. You can also serve them alongside some of the water they were boiled in.

Raw kurze can be frozen. Leftover boiled kurze, if any exist, can be fried the next day.

Recipe by Deborah Bakshiyev

“курзе Kurze is possibly my favorite food, perfectly shaped for easy eating. I think I can eat 20 or more in one sitting. Like all dumplings, kurze are a labor of love. My grandma, an excellent cook, would make hundreds at a time and gift us bags full of frozen kurze. It was a dish I had a lot more often as a kid, but now that my grandma has passed I don’t eat it much anymore. I realized a couple years ago that, if I don’t take an interest in our traditional Juhuro cuisine, it will disappear completely. It’s not a cuisine that is trendy or even known outside of former Soviet republics. But, in my completely unbiased opinion, I think it’s one of the tastiest. I think most people have never heard of Juhuro, or even know that there are Central Asian Jews. 

The Juhuro (Mountain Jewish) people settled in the Caucasus by way of Persia (and Judea before that) over 1,000 years ago. After over a millennium in the Caucasus, most left the region in the 1990s due to rising antisemitism. Juhuro food is near-impossible to find in the US, so the only way to try our delicious recipes is to make them yourself! I want people to know that we exist, that our food is tasty, and that our culture and history is fascinating.

It was difficult to put a recipe together for this dish because usually everything gets eyeballed. If you find you have too much dough or too much filling, you can repeat the process until you finally get sick of making dumplings. And once you’re sick of making dumplings, you can use the leftover dough and filling to make either chudu or chebureki*, which are equally delicious.”

DEBORAH BAKSHIYEV is a first generation American born and raised in NJ, currently living in NYC. Her family came to the US as refugees in 1991 from the North Caucasus (Dagestan, Stavropol Krai). A year in lockdown has sparked an interest in reconnecting with her culture and heritage, particularly through food.

*Though chudu and chebureki are technically different dishes, in my mind they’re the same: PIE VERSION: Take the dough and roll it into a big circle. Put filling in the middle. Fold over the edges so that there is only a small circle of meat that is peeking out. Bake til golden brown. TURNOVER VERSION: Take smaller pieces of dough, add filling, and fold over to make an empanada shape (or a mega-dumpling shape). Fry til golden brown.

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