This Central Asian version of tortellini or keplach is called dushpera. They're small dumplings served in chicken stock with lemon, lots of fresh herbs, chickpeas and dried sour cherries – wonderful! 






Skill level

Average: 2.3 (9 votes)

Marta Pinhasov often serves it with a tomato sauce, a delicious ‘quickie’ solution if you don't have time to make stock. Marta does every step by hand, using a rolling pin and – more unusually – a curtain rod to roll out the dough. She puts her whole family to work to help fill the dumplings. A morning making dumplings at the Pinhasovs is joyous, with everyone involved in the cooking. The result is delicious, the process even more so!



  • 500 g (1 lb) minced meat (see Note) 
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • ½ cup parsley or coriander (cilantro), chopped finely (optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder (optional)


  • 2 eggs
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 kg (8 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the filling, mix the meat with the salt and pepper. Add finely chopped herbs and cumin powder, if using. Set aside.

2. To make the dough, whisk together egg, water and salt. Add flour and knead till it becomes elastic - about 5 minutes. If you can, cover the dough and let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll one out, sprinkling with flour after each go, until it’s a large rectangle 3 mm-thick (Marta uses a rolling pin first, and when the dough is as wide as she can get it with that, brings in the curtain rod. A pasta machine is also useful.) Repeat with the second ball of dough.

4. Now fold the rectangle on top of itself in layers around 3cm, till you have a bundle of about 8 layers. Slice it up at intervals of the same length, 3cm. Unfold all the pastry strips you have created. There will be about 30. Lay them on top of each other in a neat pile. Slice this pile at distances of about 3cm. You will now have about 90 squares of this size. Repeat with the second rectangle of dough.

5. Clear a wide space on your kitchen bench and lay out your pasta squares. Put a teaspoon full of meat in the centre of each square. Fold over in half and pinch shut, to create an envelope full of meat half the size it was before. (You can wet the seam with a brush dipped in water if they are hard to close.) Join the 2 ends in a circle. Repeat.

6. Cover the dushpera with a kitchen towel. Boil water in a pot large enough to fit them all comfortably. When the water’s boiling, add the dumplings to the pot. They’re ready when they bob up to the surface, after 3–5 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon. 6. Serve in soup or with quick sauce if you'd like.

• Marta prefers to mix half beef and half lamb (250 g of each)

• You can make more than you need and freeze them. 

Images and recipes from Just Add Love by Irris Makler, RRP $49.99, Photography by David Mane.