Shabakleb or Shabalay (with "lay" version being a mispronunciation of "leb") is the Tibetan interpretation of a delicacy commonly found in most cultures which is prepared by filling folded dough with delicious stuffings. Calzone and Empanada are its Italian and Spanish cousins.
What sets the Tibetan version apart from its international siblings is that meat is the main ingredient used to make the stuffing for Shabaklebs. Of course, Shabakleb filling can also be made with vegetables and cheese. However, if meat isn't its main ingredient, the delicacy won't be able to justify its appellation as the word "Sha" in Shabakleb means "meat" and "Bakleb" means "flat bread".
After filing the dough with delicious meat stuffing, Shabaklebs are fried in oil. It is not baked in oven like Calzones and Empanadas. Different chefs have different recipes for the meat filling. They use different quantities of ingredients and spices to achieve different taste. So no two Shabaklebs are the same. What is most important when making Shabaklebs is that all the ingredients used are fresh and that they work together harmoniously.
Shabaklebs come in two common shapes - the full moon and half-moon versions. Edges of Shabaklebs are sealed by folding the dough in a particular way so that it's rich juices are retained and the seal does not come apart during the frying and handling processes. Folding of the Shabakleb is an art in itself. It must not be so thin and fragile that it comes apart and not so fat that it feels thick and crusty during consumption.
Shabaklebs should be freshly made and served hot so that it is succulent and pleasant to eat when the dough skin has not become chewy yet. When accompanied by a complementing chilli sauce, it can take anyone to culinary heaven especially when the meat filling is well made.
At #NomadTibetanRestaurant, we freshly prepare our Shabaklebs. Our house-made chilli hits the right note and will surely delight your tastebuds. If you can't get enough of our Shabaklebs, you can always pre-order and pack some to go to share with your family and friends.