Let me first start off by saying that I love Middle Eastern Cuisine. It really doesn’t matter to me where it’s from; Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt. I love it all!! The spices are exotic, the preparation techniques are ancient, and the food of course is delicious!
I love kibbeh. It’s the first thing I order at my favorite Lebanese restaurant and most often I’ll get an order to go once finished. I don’t want to get into the origin of Kibbeh because for the sake of this post it really doesn’t matter. Let’s just say that there are many, many versions of Kibbeh depending on what country you are in. This version leans towards the Lebanese influence and It is scrumtious!
In my kibbeh making research I came across a website (Authentic Lebanese Recipes | Zaatar and Zaytoun) that really intrigued me. I wanted to make a Kibbeh that was as good or even better than the ones I could buy at my local restaurant. The recipe I settled on (with a few minor adjustments) came out spectacular.
Before you embark on your kibbeh making adventures I want to warn you that this recipe is a labor of love. It’s not a fast and quick 30 minute meal. It does take some time and patience. There is a skill to forming those beautiful pieces of fried kibbeh goodness. I would suggest trying your hand at it at least once to see the amount of work that goes into making each delicious morsel.
An Easier Way to Make Kibbeh
Now that we have our disclaimer out of the way let me share with you 2 slightly easier ways to form your kibbeh. The first is an absolute no brainer and the second is a faster and cooler way to make the more traditional shapes. Let me explain:
The first way I’ll call kibbeh ravioli. To make these all you have to do is flatten out a little kibbeh shell mix on a piece of parchment paper (so it doesn’t stick) then add a spoon full of your kibbeh filling right on top. Next add a top layer of your kibbeh shell mix on top and seal the edges. Voila!! Fry and enjoy. Yeah it’s not traditional but it will still be delicious!!
The other way is to use a meat grinder with a special kibbeh attachment that is made specifically for Kibbeh. This grinder is sold by the Sausage Maker and the grinder attachment is sold separately. Once you have your kibbeh shell mix made, just run it through the grinder with this special attachment and it will act like an extrusion plate (similar to a pasta maker). What will come out will be your preformed tubes ready for you to fill with your kibbeh meat filling.
I wouldn’t expect that you would buy a meat grinder just to make kibbeh but if you follow my blog and you tube channel you just might find yourself in the market for one of these very versatile units. BTW – It also has a juicer attachment and slicer/shredder attachment in case you were wondering.
Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!
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This recipe has been slightly altered from Kibbe Recipe by Zaatar and Zaytoun Lebanese Food Blog. Mainly it’s been scaled down with a few minor tweaks. Be sure to check out their site for the original recipe.
For Kibbeh Spice Blend (called for in recipe below)
For the 7 Spice Blend (called for in recipe below)
Kibbeh Meat filling
For the Kibbeh Filling
- Start by toasting the pine nuts on a med/med low heat. Be careful not to burn them.
- In a skillet with a little olive oil begin by sautéing the diced onions. Cook on a medium heat till soft and translucent.
- On a medium heat, add the ground meat to the onions and brown the meat. Be sure to mix properly and chop the meat as it cooks so as to not have any large clumps of meat.
- Once the meat has been browned add all of the spices and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Once finished turn off the heat and add the toasted pine nuts and mix well. Set to the side to cool.
For the Kibbeh Shell
- In a bowl lined with a cheese cloth add the fine bulgar wheat and then add enough luke warm water to cover by at least 1/2 inch. Soak for 15-20 minutes. After 15-20 minutes remove the cheese cloth from the bowl and squeeze out as much water as you can from the rehydrated bulgar wheat. Set to the side. The bulgar should no longer be firm. It should be a little chewy.
- In a food processor add the chopped onions and spices (not the corn starch). Chop for 30 seconds.
- Add the ground meat to the food processor and chop an additional 60-90 seconds on high. Your mixture should start to resemble a paste with a much smoother texture.
- Combine the meat mixture that you just made with the rehydrated bulgar wheat, and the cornstarch. Mix well.
- Add this meat/bulgar mix back into your food processor in batches and chop for 60 -90 seconds till it becomes a smooth paste. You can add a little water if it seems to dry (just don't add too much – start with 1 tablespoon and see where that gets you).
- Take a little of the paste you just made and cook it on a skillet, taste and adjust for seasonings.
- Grab a small handful of casing mix. Form an elongated tube with it. With your thumb begin to hollow out the center. You want the side thickness to be as even as possible. Once you form a cavern add 1 or 2 spoonful of your kibbeh meat filling in the hole and close the ends. Once filled you can shape it how you like.
- If you find that the casing mix is sticking to your hands a lot you can dip your fingers in a little neutral oil while shaping the kibbeh.
- Fry the Kibbeh in a neutral oil at 350F till golden brown. Serve and enjoy!!
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