Kibbeh is a classic Lebanese meat based dish which is typically made with lamb or beef. These rugby shaped meatballs are stuffed with pine nuts, and some more mince infused with middle eastern spices. In Arabic, the word kibbeh itself means “the shape of a ball”.
Fourteen years back when we moved to Oman, I was exposed to all the beautiful Middle Eastern cuisines, and learnt a lot more about their rich culture and food. Before moving to the Middle East, I was in Australia and I knew only little about this cuisine through my Iraqi friend who use to feed us with doner kebabs, falafels and hummus. My knowledge about this rich food culture expanded when we got an opportunity of moving to the Middle East.
I learnt this kibbeh recipe from my Lebanese neighbor, and it has been added to our list of comfort foods. These kibbehs are prepared in two different ways, either fried or baked. I am sharing the recipe of a fried one, but I’ll share my baked kibbeh recipe soon.
YIELDS: 15-18 pieces
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes
PASSIVE TIME: 30 minutes
1 kg Lamb mince
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp cumin powder
Freshly ground black pepper, few dashes
3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 cup burghal
1 cup warm water
Salt to taste
1 tsp sumac (optional)
2 tbsp oil
Oil for frying
Soak burghal in water and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan, add 1/3 of chopped onions, stir for couple of minutes to sweat the onions, add pine nuts and stir for another 2 minutes; to this, add 300g of mince and stir to cook for 6-8 minutes on medium high heat; season with salt and pepper, add sumac and remove in a bowl.
In a food processor, put rest of the mince, onions, mint, and soaked burghal. Blend together until it’s well combined and is smooth in texture.
Remove mince in a bowl, add salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, five spice and mix them well to combine together.
Take a heaped tablespoon of mince in your palms and make a small golf sized ball, push your thumb in it to make cavity for filling and with the help of other hand, shape it to make a little cone, stuff it with 2 tsp of filling, join the open end to secure the filling and shape it into little rugby balls.
Repeat with rest of the mince.
Heat oil for deep frying, fry at medium heat at 190° C, until it turns golden brown and cooked.
Serve with tahini sauce.
Kibbeh can be prepared in advance and fried later.
You can also bake the kibble recipe instead of frying.