Kibbeh: The National Dish of Syria
Kibbeh: The National Dish of Syria
For the kibbeh
For the filling
  1. Over a medium bowl lay some cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Place the bulgur in the cheesecloth or towel and cover it with cold water. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes. The bulgur wheat should soak up some of the water, but should not become mushy.
  2. While you’re waiting on the bulgur wheat, take 1lb of the ground lamb and pop it in a food processor. Pulse until it becomes a paste. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the onion into wedges and add to the food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Add it to the bowl with the lamb.
  4. Drain and squeeze the excess liquid from the bulgur wheat, then add it to the bowl with the lamb and onion.
  5. With your hands, mix together the bulgur wheat, lamb paste, onion, and bharat seasoning until combined. The mixture should be thick enough to roll into balls. If it feels too thick you can add a teaspoon of cold water and mix.
  6. Once the mixture feels like a good consistency, roll it into balls, about the size of golf balls or larger, then set them on a cookie sheet and place them in the fridge while you make the filling.
  7. In a dry frying pan on medium-high heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, set aside to cool.
  8. In the same pan, add a Tablespoon of cooking oil (any kind will do) and brown the other pound of ground lamb. While it’s browning, chop the parsley.
  9. Once the lamb is brown, mix in the toasted pine nuts, parsley, and 1 teaspoon bharat seasoning. Salt it to taste and let it cool.
  10. Remove the kibbeh balls from the fridge and get ready to stuff! You’ll be using your hands for this, it may help if they’re slightly wet (to keep the kibbeh from sticking). While holding a ball in one hand, use the thumb of your other hand to press a hole into the center of it. Now, work your way around the edges of the hole, rotating the ball as you go, to form a cup or bowl for the stuffing. The thinner you can get it the better, but it does take practice and also depends on the consistency of your kibbeh.
  11. Once you feel good about your creation, add a heaping Tablespoon of the lamb filling and seal the edges trying not to seal in too much air, and trying not to let any filling escape. You should then be able to hold the kibbeh between your two palms while rocking them back and forth to form that signature torpedo shape. It should fit perfectly between your two cupped hands. You can make whatever shapes you want, have fun with it. The best Syrian food is made with time and love.
  12. Repeat for the remaining balls, then in a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of canola or vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil is hot (you can test it with a wooden chopstick or spoon, look for bubbles!), drop in the kibbeh a few at a time and fry until golden brown, flipping them once to get both sides.
  13. Place the finished kibbeh on a cookie rack to cool and drain off any excess grease. Serve with labneh, cucumbers, and mint as a snack, appetizer, or main.
Recipe Notes

Based on recipes fromĀ The Spruce, Syrian Cooking, The Star, andĀ The Mediterranean Dish