February 24, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I first fell in love with these when I tried them at a very authentic Arab restaurant. Everyone else at the table knew what they were as I sat there eyeing these football-shaped..things. Was it bread? Was it sweet? Was it filled with something? Was it even good? The rest of my company seemed to enjoy them, so I took the plunge. Every since sinking my teeth into that first warm, crispy bite 5 years ago, I've been hooked ever since. I've tried ordering kibbeh at almost every arab restaurant since and haven't been able to find a good, much less decent, one since. It wasn't until Ramadan that my friend made some for me and my search was complete. Finally, after all these years the familiar flavors of ground lamb and pine nuts came back to me. I was determined to make my own.

After researching recipes I learned that there's not much variation in the actual recipe. It's more a matter of technique: the shell (outside of it) should be a very smooth and fine paste, you should get a bite of tender lamb and nuts in each bite without over stuffing the kibbeh, it should be fried until golden but not burned. The spices are few, but very essential: ground cumin, cinnamon, garlic, etc. Don't skimp on the salt either! So after all that, I ended up using a foodnetwork recipe for its simple explanation. I made my own sauce from green chilis and cilantro because really, something needed to be spicy!



1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped yellow onions
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
oil for frying


To make the outer shells, place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 20 minutes then drain in a strainer, pressing to extract the excess liquid.
In a large bowl, blend the beef, onions, cumin, salt, and pepper to a paste. Add the strained bulgur wheat and mix well. Process again, in batches, in a food processor until smooth and pliable enough to work like a dough, adding a little ice water if needed.
To make the stuffing, in a large skillet, cook the meat, stirring, over medium-high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, salt, allspice, pepper, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pine nuts. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
To make the final dish, with wet hands, shape the raw meat-bulgur mixture into egg-sized balls. Make a hole down the center of each ball with an index finger to make a deep cup with a pointed bottom. Stuff each ball with about 1 tablespoon of the stuffing. Press down on the sides and top to enclose the filling and reshape into a smooth egg with a pointed top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, wetting your hands frequently.
Preheat the oil to 360 degrees F.
In batches, add the kibbeh balls to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature, with the Yogurt-Garlic Sauce for dipping.


  1. I haven't heard of that before! But it looks good, mashallah!! =)

  2. Masha'Allah! Is this your first go at making them?! I am seriously impressed, they look great! I'd love to try making these - tried years ago and it was a mess and am afraid of a repeat! Did you find it easy or difficult? ~Umm Ibrahim

  3. Yes, alhamdulillah, my very first time! I need some work on the shape, but I was very please with the outcome, much easier than I expected! I'm certain with all your culinary expertise (masha'allah!) you'll have no problem with them, try it, try it, try it! (i'm rooting for ya!)

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  5. This recipe seems to be a great one Masha ALLAH, i love to try this at my home. Thanks for sharing this wonderful looking recipe.
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Tell me what you think! As always, feedback and reviews are appreciated...happy cooking!