Jidabour garnished with onion pepper sauce.



Jidabour is a classic Armenian dish made with “yarma” or crushed pelted wheat and beef shanks. The yarma and beef shanks are cooked slowly until the yarma becomes creamy and the beef falls off the bones. It resembles a porridge but its much more flavorful and nutritious. Although a very “respected” dish, Jidabour is very time consuming and so it’s not made very often. My mom has been making this recipe ever since I can remember. You will not find a better and more comprehensive recipe online than this one. After pouring into individual bowls, the jidabour is garnished with a mixture of pepper paste and caramelized onions. This is the perfect meal for a cold winter night.

Skill level: Advance
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Velvet Edition: “Trademark” Recipe
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
5 hr
  1. 4 medium bone-in beef shanks (about 1 pound each) cross cut
  2. 4 cups Yarma
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 1 teaspoon whole black peppers
  5. ½ teaspoon whole all-spice
  6. 3 – 4 whole cloves
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  9. 1 small onion ( cut in half for boiling with the meat )
  10. 1 medium onion ( finely chopped for cooking with the yarma )
  11. 1 teaspoon salt ( to sprinkle over the chopped onion )
  12. ½ teaspoon red pepper ( to sprinkle over the chopped onion )
  13. ½ teaspoon black pepper ( to sprinkle over the chopped onion )
Onion Pepper Sauce
  1. 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. 1 medium onion ( finely chopped )
  3. ¼ cup butter
  4. 1 tablespoon pepper paste
  1. Place the beef shank ( if it’s a whole piece cut it into 2 or 3 large pieces )
  2. into a large pot and cover the meat by about 2 inches.
  3. Add the bay leaves, whole black peppers, whole all-spice, cloves, salt, bouillon, and onion to the pot.
  4. Cover and bring to a full boil.
  5. Boil for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Lower heat and cook on medium low for about 1 ½ .
  7. Leave to cool.
  8. Rinse the yarma and place in one corner on a large baking pan.
  9. Add the chopped onions next.
  10. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper and red pepper over the chopped onion.
  11. Strain the broth from the pot and remove the peppers, bay leaves, and cooked onion pieces.
  12. Wash the pot that you used thoroughly and place the clear broth back into the pot.
  13. It should measure about 15 cups of broth. If it’s less don’t worry you can add more water while it cooks.
  14. Bring the broth back to a boil.
  15. Pull and shred the cooked meat apart into fine shreds.
  16. Place the shredded meat next to the yarma and the onions on the baking pan.
  17. Slowly incorporate the yarma ( it’s slightly damp coz you rinsed it ) with the shredded meat, while breaking any large pieces that are left apart.
  18. Leave the addition of the onion till last, to avoid it from getting “watery.”
  19. Once the broth has reached a boil, add the meat, onion and yarma mixture in.
  20. In a kettle heat about 6 – 7 cups water and keep it hot. You’ll be adding hot water to the jidabour about 3 times, as it cooks.
  21. Begin stirring the jidabour as it starts to get hot and boil. Whenever the heat is high, you need to stir the jidabour.
  22. Continue to stir for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  23. Then lower heat to low, and cover. No stirring is required when the heat is on low.
  24. After 30 minutes add 2 cups of hot water, increase the heat to high and stir for about 15 minutes.
  25. Lower heat and cover. Do not mix on low heat.
  26. Repeat adding water 2 more times on high heat then lower the heat. 2 cups of water with each addition for a total of 6 cups of water in 90 minutes of cooking.
  27. The consistency should be like porridge. If you scoop some up with a large spoon it should fall back easily.
Onion Pepper Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan add the vegetable oil and heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions and stir fry on medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  3. Then add the butter and mix just until butter has melted.
  4. Add the pepper paste to the onions, stir for another minute and remove from heat.
How to serve
  1. Place 2 or 3 tablespoons of jidabour into individual bowl and drizzle one or two tablespoons of the onion pepper sauce over the jidabour.
  2. Serve
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