Kibbeh Shopping Tips
Middle Eastern cuisine relies on some fragrant and expensive spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, coriander, turmeric, and sumac. If possible, buy and store them whole; whole spices have a stronger aroma and flavor.
Kibbeh Cooking Tips
For a stronger flavor and aroma, toast spices before grinding them, and only grind the amount that you need for the recipe. Keeping spices whole until needed extends their shelf life.
Kibbeh Recipe (Kibbie)
Published: Mar 2, 2020 · Modified: Jun 12, 2020 by Amira · This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Kibbeh are addictive nuggets with an out of this world taste and texture. Crispy shell outside with a succulent meaty filling inside. Literally a meat bonanza that everyone loves.
Kibbeh recipe is an outstanding use of meat as it is simply stuffing meat with another meat. The bulgur is what makes this dish stands out from the ordinary kofta. Traditionally, its presence on the table meant only one thing: major celebration. it was otherwise too labor intensive not to mention costly.
3 cups finely chopped spinach
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
3 medium-size white potatoes (about 2 lbs any kind)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/4 cup pine nuts, or seeds of one pomegranate
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Several grindings of black pepper
3 cups fine-grain bulgur wheat (you must use fine-grain & not anything coarser)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
Is it Safe to Eat to Eat Raw Lamb?
Given that when you make this particular dish that you think clean, clean, clean .
I am very fanatical about making sure everything is ultra clean.
I am a big believer in reducing cross contamination in my kitchen at all times.
It is critical that you do not introduce any bacteria into your food by carelessly preparing raw meat.
Make sure that you are working with very freshly cut meat , a clean grinder, clean food processor with clean blades and a spotless working space.
I even use sterile latex gloves when I mix the ingredients.
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Kibbeh Footballs, Arras Kibbeh
Kibbeh footballs, or “arras kibbeh” is an incredibly delicious and beautiful way to prepare classic Lebanese kibbeh. The balls are shaped with the kibbeh and stuffed with househ, a lemony meat/onion/pine nut mixture. Read more about kibbeh meat here, and kibbeh recipes here and here. Try poaching uncooked arras in laban, comfort food at it’s best. Vegan tomato kibbeh is wonderful too! Try it here.
One of the many great things about my home state of Michigan is that there are lots of Lebanese populating the state. This translates to one’s ability to find good Lebanese restaurants pretty much around the corner, at least if you live in the Lansing or Detroit area. It is a luxury that we take for granted until we spend any amount of time in other places, where there is no such thing as good pita bread and certainly no such thing as a go-to Lebanese restaurant nearby.
In East Lansing, you can get phenomenal, traditional Lebanese food from Woody’s Oasis. The Lebanese eat there, if you know what I mean. Woody’s has always made it seem perfectly normal to have foods like fatayar and arras kibbeh (kibbeh footballs) at events like tailgaters or your kid’s fifth birthday party, even when your last name is Smith.
So if we were putting together a tailgate menu and decided to make the chicken but not the fatayar or the kibbeh footballs, that wouldn’t mean we’d be going without those delights. It just means we’d be getting them from Woody’s.
But say you are making the kibbeh footballs yourself this time, and you grew up eating lots of them from Woody’s, and you discover that the perfect football shape doesn’t come so easy (more often my mom has made a round kibbeh ball or kibbeh patty-shape). Then you might ask to take a “tour” of the kitchen at Woody’s in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of the Sittos in the back shaping her footballs. Or you might get your booty on a plane and go to Lebanon, and take a class with a woman dubbed “the kibbeh queen.”
I did enjoy making kibbeh with Georgina and our little cooking class at Tawlet in Beirut. I loved the restaurant and everything about being there, including the rosewater elixir that started our evening and the butter cookies (we’ll make them) that ended it. But I didn’t walk away having pocketed the secret formula, the golden ticket of kibbeh-shaping techniques that I had hoped for. We made big domes that were meant to be grilled, a specialty of northern Lebanon. Nice, but still.
I was, and still am, after the perfect shape, the football shape, that Woody’s puts out like a machine (but not) and that seems so elusive when the arras are made at home.
I know, I know, the rustic look is so Saveur magazine. So real-deal. And no matter the shape, the arras are so savory and good that you can’t stop eating them even when there is a tin of seven-layer cookie bars, a bag of Snickers, and an apple in your pocket still to be had. It’s just that there is this part of me that craves the ability to make the perfect lines of a perfect kibbeh football the way my brothers crave a perfect Hail Mary touchdown or the perfect good-old-days of Lou Holtz.
The secret to making perfect kibbeh footballs is no doubt the same one that wins the game: practice, practice, and then practice some more. And if you love doing it while you’re at it, you’re going to play like a champion.
Fadia Chabtini’s lahm bi ajine
Lahm bi ajine. Photograph: Martin Poole/The Observer
In Beirut, lahm bi ajine is done with tomatoes. But in the north, in Tripoli, it is made with pomegranate molasses. Tripoli’s cuisine and food traditions are some of the most ancient and best preserved of Lebanon.
For the filling
minced beef 1.2kg
onions 5, diced
pine nuts 200g
pomegranate molasses 4 tbsp
vinegar 4 tbsp
tahini 4 tbsp
dried mint 2 tbsp
labneh 2 tbsp
salt and pepper
For the dough
plain flour 875g
salt a pinch
yeast 1 tsp
sugar 1 tsp
vegetable oil 400ml
butter 200g, softened
To make the dough, put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a little warm water, then set aside for 15 minutes. Add the yeast mixture to the flour. Pour the oil into the flour and add the butter. Knead well (by hand or machine) until the dough is smooth and well combined. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
Lightly oil your worktop. Knead the dough on the worktop, then roll it as thin as possible. The dough should be paper thin.
Loosely roll the dough into a log. Put the dough into the freezer for about 3 hours, or slightly longer, so it firms up a little.
To make the filling, lightly fry the minced meat, onions and pine nuts. Once cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
Add the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, tahini, dried mint, and labneh. Mix to combine with the meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the dough from the freezer, and allow it to defrost a little, if needed. You want the dough to be only partially frozen, so it is a little firmer and easier to work with.
Cut the dough into small, rectangular pieces (around 7x10cm). Place a spoonful of filling in a line down the centre of the piece of dough. Roll the dough with the filling into small sausage shapes – finger size.
Place them on a baking tray and bake in an oven at 200C/gas mark 6, for around 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Fadia Chabtini is a cook at Tawlet in Lebanon soukeltayeb.com/tawlet
Kibbeh (Lebanese Beef Croquettes)
And a huge part of that love comes from kibbeh. I absolutely ADORE kibbeh!
In fact, if you happen to have a good memory, you will remember that I already have a kibbeh recipe here on the blog. I’ve shared my recipe for Baked Kibbeh, which I described as “Lebanese Meatloaf”, a while ago and I make it pretty often!
This time I’m sharing the croquette version, because 1) they are to die for and 2) it’s football season and eating fried things is not only acceptable but encouraged!
PLUS, the fried kibbeh look like little footballs. Aren’t they adorable?
Kibbeh, kubbeh or kokeba all mean “the shape of a ball” in Arabic. In Portuguese, we call it Quibe or Kibe. And in the Dominican Republic, where this classic Lebanese dish is also very popular, they call it Quipe or Kipe.
As you can see, lots of nations have embraced the deliciousness of the kibbeh. No surprises here, since these savory treats are so delicious!
Kibbeh consists of a dough made of meat, bulgur (cracked wheat), onions and mint leaves, formed into football shaped croquettes, and filled with more meat, onions, pine nuts and Middle Eastern spices. They are then deep fried to perfection so they are crisp on the outside and soft inside!
I like to serve my kibbeh while they are still hot, with yogurt (or sour cream) and lime wedges. They can also be served at room temperature and they go great with pita bread, hummus, babaganoush and/or tabbouleh!
I made two batches of this recipe in only a week. 48 kibbeh total and they all vanished VERY quickly!
You see, they came out perfect the first time, but me and Tim couldn’t wait for pictures, and by the time we realized, all the kibbeh was gone. Thank God there was more meat and bulgur, so I was able to make a new batch.
Please, try to not judge. My love for kibbeh is so intense that all my eating healthy related New Year resolutions go down the drain. It is not my fault. It’s all on the kibbeh. Damn you, kibbeh! Why do ya have to be so tasty?
I mean… they are not so bad, health wise, right? Lebanese cuisine is supposedly considered healthy. So let’s forget the fact that these are deep fried and call them healthy. K? Good! Glad we’re on the same page!
A few considerations about this recipe:
1) Kibbeh is usually made with lamb or beef, but you can totally use chicken, turkey or fish here. I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken kibbeh while growing up, since my mom doesn’t eat red meat. However, I prefer beef! Beef kibbeh is the best! ❤️
2) You’ll notice that I use a food processor in my recipe. However, if you do not own one, you can absolutely make everything by hand. I just recommend you grate the onion you’ll be using for the “dough” as to assure the meat dough is smooth and uniform.
3) Also, this recipe works best with fine or extra fine bulgur wheat. It can be found in most supermarkets, in the grain section!
4) If pine nuts are too over budget, substitute for walnuts! Your kibbeh will taste amazing regardless!
I hope you guys enjoy it! I’m already craving some more kibbeh, so a tray of baked kibbeh might be in my future!
I’m definitely not done with my kibbeh mania. So expect some more kibbeh recipes soon. I’m thinking kibbeh burger, kibbeh hummus bowl, vegetarian kibbeh. Kibbeh everywhere, kibbeh in ma bellyyyyyy.
KIBBEH RECIPE | Lebanese Street Food
This Kibbeh recipe will introduce you to one of my favourite Lebanese friends, Antoinette, who is a master of this cuisine!
Watch video recipe:
- 200g burgul
- 300g ground sheep or lamb meat
- 500g sheep or lamb mince
- 50g pine nuts mixed with slivered almonds
- 3 onions
- Dried mint
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- 1 x large bowl
- Deep fry pan
- Medium size deep baking tray
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: The meat mixtures you need to prepare for each version of Kibbeh are the same so you start with two essential steps, then change the process for the alternate variations.
STEP ONE – PREPARING THE BURGUL:
- To start the Kibbeh recipe, put the burgul in a large mixing bowl and add water to it. Wash the grain well using your hands to mix the water through. You can leave this aside for an hour, but if you don’t have the time, a few minutes will also suffice.
- Strain the water out, leaving just a small amount so it can continue to absorb.
- Add ½ tablespoon of each of the following ingredients: salt, pepper, paprika, dry mint and cumin. Mix thoroughly so the grain is well flavoured.
- Grate an onion and add it to the mixture, then blend it together really well.
STEP TWO – PREPARING THE MEAT
- Chop up 2 x small-medium size onions.
- Put a deep fry pan on high heat and drizzle 2 x tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add 50g of combined pine nuts and slivered almonds and mix gently while on the stove.
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and remove the nuts from the fry pan, leaving them to the side to rest. Make sure you leave the oil inside the fry pan and put it back on the stove.
- Add the mincemeat to the pan so it cooks in the nutty flavoured oil and break it down using a wooden spoon so it cooks through really well.
- Add the chopped onion and continue to mix through so all the flavours combine.
- Add ½ teaspoon of both salt and pepper and leave to simmer until the onion is cooked through.
- Take the burgul that has been left to rest and crush it down using your hands so it is the perfect consistency for the Kibbeh recipe.
- Add a few sprinkles of water and mix again.
- Then, add the ground meat to the bowl, squashing it down until there are no burgul grains left in the bowl.
VERSION ONE | KIBBEH QRASS (Hollowed balls stuffed with filling)
- Fill a small bowl with water, and take a portion of the burgul/meat mixture and roll it into the shape of a ball.
- Once you have created the ball, take one into your hand, and using the index finger of the other hand, make a hole in the centre of one side of the ball, and swipe your finger in a small curve while turning the ball around and creating a cone like shape.
- Keep smoothing out the centre until you have created a thin border which creates a pocket.
- Add the mince/nut filling you prepared earlier, then close the top by moulding a point on the other end
VERSION TWO | KIBBEH BIL SAYNEEYE (Baked Kibbeh Recipe)
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of a tray.
- For this Kibbeh recipe, take a portion of the meat and flatten it into the bottom of the tray using your hands to press it down.
- Add scoops of the mince mixture to the top of the meat, spreading it out evenly using the back of a tablespoon until it covers the meat. Leave a small border around the edges of the tray.
- Take portions of the mince, flattening it in your hand, then add it to the top of the mince until you have completely covered it, along with all of the edges.
- Gently slice through the layers to pre-prepare square shaped portions. The number will depend on – the number will depend on how big your tray is.
- Add a table spoon of olive oil over the top. This will help the meat to cook through well.
- Bake this kibbeh recipe in the oven, uncovered for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
THE DIPPING SAUCE
Add a few dollops of plain yoghurt to a small sauce dish. Mix in a sprinkle of dried mint, salt and crushed garlic.
HOW TO SERVE:
- Place the sauce dish in the centre of a large white plate. Add the Kibbeh “cones” around the dish creating a circle formation.
- For the baked variation, this can be served on an individual plate, with a dollop of yoghurt on the side – or on top!
Enjoy more international dishes from Vincenzo’s Plate and Friends
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Kibbeh: The National Dish of Syria
Kibbeh, pronounced KI (as in KITH) -BEH, is most often (in the US) deep-fried, torpedo-shaped, and filled with some kind of ground meat. In this post, I’ll be showing you how to make stuffed kibbeh, the Syrian way.
And, what makes it Syrian exactly?
Time for a brief history lesson…if it’s TLDR you can scroll down to the recipe.
Historically, many countries located east of the mediterranean sea fall into an area called ‘The Levant’. The Levant is generally said to include Cyprus, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria , and Turkey. As conflicts and wars happened over the years, borders changed, families were divided, and cities split up, which in turn has caused these countries regardless of their independence from each other today to share many customs and most importantly similar cuisines.
To try and put it even more simply, Syria and Lebanon were once one, they come from the same people. The people are all deeply rooted in similar histories, which is why some of their favorite foods and cultures are hard to distinguish.
Kibbeh is one much loved by them all, with many variations including but not limited to raw kibbeh, stuffed kibbeh, baked kibbeh, and more. Some call it the ‘meatloaf’ of the Middle East, some call it a croquette, I just call it kibbeh.
The kibbeh I’ve had at many a mediterranean restaurant was usually bland and desperately wanted a generous dip of hummus or tabbouleh. That is not the case here.
So, what makes this recipe Syrian?
Lamb, freshly ground lamb, and lamb only. You can substitute beef or ground turkey, but the flavor will be substantially different.
Second key to this recipe is a middle-eastern spice blend. Baharat, a Syrian seven spice blend is ideal. I was able to find two variations at Kalustyans in Manhattan. I’m still not quite sure if they’re one in the same or totally different. If you can’t find them it’s pretty easy to mix some up yourself using a combination of all spice, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, clove, and cumin. There are many variations of the blend, so season to your liking.
To start, you’re going to need finely ground bulgur wheat. When I say finely ground I mean ambiguously marked in the grocery store so that you’re really not sure what you’re buying and will have to ask someone, unless it’s labeled, you’re one of the lucky ones.
If you have a mediterranean or international market near you, I strongly recommend you try there. The market I went to had bulgur wheat pre-packed in 1 pound bags labeled #1 or #2 for how fine it was ground, #1 being the finer variety. I’ve heard of people using either or, the only difference will be the texture at the end. I bought some of both, for good measure.
Here’s a pic of regular bulgur and the finely ground variety.
And here’s everything else you’ll need:
Ingredients: serves 15-20
For the kibbeh
1 ½ cups fine bulgur wheat (#1, see above)
1 lb ground lamb
1 medium yellow onion
1 ½ teaspoon baharat seasoning
6 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the filling
1 lb ground lamb
½ cup pine nuts
1 ½ teaspoon baharat seasoning
6 sprigs parsley
salt to taste
Step One: Over a medium bowl lay some cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Place the bulgur in the cheesecloth or towel and cover it with cold water. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes. The bulgur wheat should soak up some of the water, but should not become mushy.
Step Two: While you’re waiting on the bulgur wheat, take 1lb of the ground lamb and pop it in a food processor. Pulse until it becomes a paste. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside in a large bowl.
Step Three: Cut the onion into wedges and add to the food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Add it to the bowl with the lamb.
Step Four: Drain and squeeze the excess liquid from the bulgur wheat, then add it to the bowl with the lamb and onion.
Step Five: With your hands, mix together the bulgur wheat, lamb paste, onion, and bharat seasoning until combined. The mixture should be thick enough to roll into balls. If it feels too thick you can add a teaspoon of cold water and mix.
This mixture is raw kibbeh
With this mixture, stuffed kibbeh, baked kibbeh, and more are made. If your lamb is super fresh you can eat this raw, it’s similar to beef tartare and goes great with raw white onions.
Step Six: Once the mixture feels like a good consistency, roll it into balls, about the size of golf balls or larger, then set them on a cookie sheet and place them in the fridge while you make the filling.
This brings a new meaning to the phrase “mystery meat.”
Step Seven: In a dry frying pan on medium-high heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, set aside to cool.
Step Eight: In the same pan, add a Tablespoon of cooking oil (any kind will do) and brown the other pound of ground lamb. While it’s browning, chop the parsley.
Step Nine: Once the lamb is brown, mix in the toasted pine nuts, parsley, and 1 teaspoon bharat seasoning. Salt it to taste and let it cool.
Step Ten: Remove the kibbeh balls from the fridge. You’ll be using your hands for this, it may help if they’re slightly wet (to keep the kibbeh from sticking). While holding a ball in one hand, use the thumb of your other hand to press a hole into the center of it. Now, work your way around the edges of the hole, rotating the ball as you go, to form a cup or bowl for the stuffing. The thinner you can get it the better, but it does take practice and also depends on the consistency of your kibbeh.
Step Eleven: Once you feel good about your creation, add a heaping Tablespoon of the lamb filling and seal the edges trying not to seal in too much air, and trying not to let any filling escape. You should then be able to hold the kibbeh between your two palms while rocking them back and forth to form that signature torpedo shape. It should fit perfectly between your two cupped hands. You can make whatever shapes you want, have fun with it. The best Syrian food is made with time and love.
Mine’s obviously too thick, I’ll try harder next time.
Step Twelve: Repeat for the remaining balls, then in a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of canola or vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil is hot (you can test it with a wooden chopstick or spoon, look for bubbles!), drop in the kibbeh a few at a time and fry until golden brown, flipping them once to get both sides.
Step Thirteen: Place the finished kibbeh on a cookie rack to cool and drain off any excess grease. Serve with labneh, cucumbers, and mint as a snack, appetizer, or main.