Recipe: Rice pilaf and kebabs from Yalla’s chef Todd Ginsberg

"It's a comforting dish," says the chef.

Ranch Labne at Yalla, the restaurant that inspired this recipe.

Photograph courtesy of Yalla

“When I think of a versatile pantry staple, I think of rice,” says chef Todd Ginsberg, who owns The General Muir, Fred’s Meat and Bread, Wood’s Chapel BBQ. This dish is based on the food served at his fast-casual Middle Eastern restaurant, Yalla. “It’s a comforting dish that elevates use of a pantry staple with only a few ingredients,” he says.


75 grams diced onions
30 grams butter
200 grams rice
300 grams water
Pinch salt
2 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
1 onion
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges
Sumac (optional)

Sweat onions in butter. Add rice, water, and pinch salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and place into 400-degree oven for 18 minutes.

Food process onion until finely chopped. Mix with cold meat. Form around skewers or roll into roulade. Chill. When ready to cook, season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat, ideally in an oiled cast iron pan, until meat is at 145 degrees Fahrenheit or desired doneness.

Plate kebab over rice, sprinkle with sumac, and garnish plate with lemon.