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How to make Kibbeh?

By Chloe February 4th, 2021 59 views
How to make Kibbeh?

What is Kibbeh?

Kibbeh is described as Middle Eastern meatballs--sort of.
The word kibbeh stems from an Arabic verb meaning, "to form into a ball",  so that description is not entirely wrong.  But as you'll see in today's kibbeh recipe, they're more like stuffed croquettes. There is a crispy outer shell made with wheat, onions, and finely ground beef. The shell is then stuffed with a mixture of spiced beef and toasted pine nuts; sealed and then fried or baked.

In today's kibbeh recipe, I will follow the same oval shape that my friend taught me; although kibbeh can be formed into balls or even patties, whatever is easiest for you.


What to serve with Kibbeh?

Kibbeh is best served warm with tahini sauce or plain yogurt.

Step-by-step tutorial for how to make kibbeh

Cover a fine mesh strainer with a light cloth (a cheesecloth, if you have one). Add the bulgur in, then place the strainer into a bowl filled with water. Let the fine bulgur soak in the water for 15 minutes, then pull the cloth, holding the bulgur, and squeeze all the water out. You may do this a couple of times until you are sure the bulgur is rid of water. Set aside for now.

Now make the kibbeh (the actual dough that you will later use to form the kibbeh shells). First use the meat grinder to grind the beef into ground. Then put the onion, ground beef, bulgur, spices and pinch of salt into the filling pan of the meat grinder. Then process the mixture in batches in the meat grinder. Cover and refrigerate until later.
Now make the filling. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet or frying pan. Saute the onion until just golden, then add the ground beef. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the meat is fully browned. Add the toasted pine nuts, the spices, and the salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Remove the kibbeh dough from the fridge. To stuff the kibbeh, you need to have damp hands. Place a small bowl of water next to you. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

With both the bowl of kibbeh dough and the filling near, you can begin stuffing the kibbeh. Dampen your hands with some water, take a handful of the kibbeh dough (about 2 tbsp or so) and form into somewhat of an oval-shaped disc in the palm of one hand. Use your finger to make a well in the middle of the disc, and gradually hallow the disc out to make a larger well or hole for the filling.
Using a spoon, add about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Seal the dough on top and, using both hands, carefully shape it into an oval (football-type shape).
Place the stuffed kibbeh on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the stuffing steps until you run out of ingredients, be sure to have damp hands throughout.
Chill the stuffed kibbeh for 1 hour, this is a very important step!

To fry, heat the oil in a deep frying pan to 350 degrees F (you'll want the oil hot enough that you can see some gentle bubbling, but not too hot where it will burn the kibbeh shells). Deep-fry the kibbeh in the hot oil, in batches being carefully not to crowd them, until the kibbeh shells are brown (about 5 minutes or so).
With a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully remove the kibbeh and place them on a pan lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat until you have fried all the stuffed kibbeh.
You can also bake the kibbeh. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray the stuffed kibbeh with olive oil, and arrange them in a single layer, spaced out, on a large baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, likely about 30 minutes or so, but this will vary.

Serve hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce, or plain yogurt. Enjoy!

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