Kibbeh, kibbe, kebbah, kubbeh, kubbah or kubbi (Arabic: كبة) is a typical Middle Eastern recipe that consists of a mixture of bulgur and semolina, with a filling of lamb minced meat, flavored with spices and herbs. This torpedo-shaped meatball can be served raw, boiled or fried. The name derives from the Arabic word kubbeh, which means “ball”.
The Brazilian version, the fried quibe is stuffed with requeijão, a melted cheese garnished with mint and lemon.
The most common way to prepare kibbeh is by using a small amount of ground meat and bulgur wheat, traditionally stuffed with lamb meat and herbs. The format, the size and even the ingredients can vary from country, region, and family.
In Iraq, there is a type of kibbeh whose crust is made from rice, called kubbat Aleppo.
Still in Iraq, there is another kind of kibbeh made of meat and bulgur, rounded and flattened, called kubbat Mosul.
Finally, there is also an Assyrian kibbeh in Iraq, which is mixed with tomatoes and spices, then cooked.
A similar kibbeh recipe is popular in Armenia and Turkey. They are called kufteh and içli köfte respectively.
Kibbeh is also very popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Jewish immigrants from northern Iraq. The Israelis also prepare them during Passover, for which they are prepared with matzo flour (unleavened bread). The traditional filling is made with lamb meat, a mixture of aromatic herbs, dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots) and pine nuts or almonds.
The Iraqi kibbeh is a torpedo shaped croquette made from minced lamb or beef, wrapped in bulgur or rice, then fried.
I grew up in Morocco, where we excel at the art of minced meat and meatballs making. My mother and grandmothers have a PhD in meatball making. But kibbeh has absolutely nothing in common with the traditional simmered meatballs from the Maghreb countries.
These kubbah, accompanied by a delicious Iraqi salad were a treat for our taste buds!
This recipe is validated by our expert in Iraqi cuisine Nawal Nasrallah. An award-winning researcher and food writer, Nawal is the author of the definitive cookbook on the Iraqi cuisine Delights from the Garden of Eden.
- 2 cups fine bulgur (or burghul)
- ⅓ cup fine semolina
- ¼ lb lamb meat , minced
- 1 egg white , beaten
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ lb lamb meat , minced twice
- 2 onions
- 1 bunch parsley
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 oz. pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons oil
- Chili powder
- Chop the onions and sauté over low heat in the oil.
- Add the meat and cook over high heat for 3 minutes and over medium heat for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly.
- Add spices, mix well, remove from heat and let cool.
- Dry roast the pine nuts
- Chop the parsley. Add both to the stuffing.
- In a bowl, add the bulgur and fine semolina.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water, stir fast and let stand 10 minutes.
- With wet hands, add ¼ lb of meat, salt, pepper, spices and egg white.
- Blend everything with the hand-blender to get to a fine and malleable dough.
- It is imperative for this step to have everything at hand: the dough, the stuffing, and a large bowl of water to constantly wet your hands. First, shape small balls of dough the size and shape of an egg.
- Using your thumb, dig and flatten the dough in order to get a cone shape. Place the meat inside.
- Close kibbeh by rolling it between your hands to form a stick with slightly pointed ends (torpedo-shaped).
- Finally, deep-fry kibbehs until they are golden.