Monday, August 16, 2010


One of my favorite Lebanese dishes is Kibbeh (also, Kibby, Kibbe).  It is usually shaped like a football-ish meatball.  It is a shell of meat and bulgar containing loose browned seasoned meat and deep fried.  It is a great introduction to Lebanese food.  There are several variations of kibbeh, including a Raw Kibbeh (the raw kibbeh is shaped into a flat meatloaf shape and topped with the cooked filling, hashwee, and drizzled with olive oil), and Baked Kibbeh (ingredients layered in a baking dish, cut into diamond shapes and baked).


2 lbs lean ground beef (or lamb)
4 cups #1 cracked wheat (bulgar)
2 medium onions
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and allspice
1 teaspoon dried mint (2 tablespoons fresh)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Kibbeh stuffing (see recipe below)

  • Wash wheat and let soak about 20 minutes.
  • In blender, put onions, mint, basil and 1/2 cup water, blend for a few seconds.
  • Squeeze water out of wheat and place in large bowl.
  • Season wheat with salt, pepper and spices, knead with hands.
  • Add meat and blender mixture to wheat, knead.  Add a little water if necessary.
  • Set aside and make stuffing.

Kibbeh Filling (Hashwee)

2 pounds ground chuck
3 onions, chopped
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon all spice
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

  • Brown meat until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly.  Drain fat.
  • Add onions and seasonings, simmer until onions are tender.
  • Add lemon juice.
Take about 1/3 cup of the shell ingredients and make a small patty.  Hollow the patty, fill with hashwee mixture and seal the hole. 

Deep fry kibbeh until done.

Serve with pita bread, hummus and yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Sauce (make the day before)

6 - 8 ounces plain yogurt (preferable whole milk, greek style)
1/2 cucumber, seeded
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • Strain the yogurt overnight in cheese cloth or a coffee filter.
  • Seed cucumber, chop into small pieces and dry with paper towels.
  • Mix cucumber, mint and a pinch of salt into yogurt.

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