Kibbeh is considered as one of the national traditional Lebanese dishes. There are more than a dozen adaptations of this recipe including options for vegetarians. The one constant and main ingredient is cracked wheat (burghul / bulgur or fine ground durum wheat).
Kibbeh is almost everyone’s favorite Lebanese dish. The variety ranges from starters to main course, depending on the size and the filling or sometimes no-filling at all.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a specialty of the villages in North Lebanon, in particular Zgharta, because this recipe for many Lebanese is known as Kibbeh Zghirtaweeyeeh
Preparing this recipe for the first time might be a long and delicate process, but it is also a true art revealing the devotion put into cooking since always.
I still enjoy mixing it manually and pounding the filling with a mortar and pestle, but the ghee traditionally incorporated isn’t something my heart desires, therefore I changed the filling to a healthy version inspired from my dad’s recipe. Hope you will like it.
Kibbeh Bowls (Kibbeh Qrass)
- 1kg lamb or beef ground meat
- 3 cups fine light or dark cracked wheat (burghul), rinsed and dry
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 10 fresh basil leaves, minced (optional)
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground sweet pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
Option 1- Traditional Filling
- 2/3 cup sheep ghee
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
Option 2- Maya’s Ingredients Filling
- 150g goat labneh, crumbled
- 4 tbsp / handful fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp honey
- Chunks of walnut
- Olive oil, to drizzle
• Vegetable oil, to brush
- Plastic film
- Small glass bowls x 6
1.Combine kibbeh bowls ingredients to get a dough-like consistency. This can be done in a large bowl and wooden spoon or using a food processor.
2.Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3a.Meantime prepare the filling. For option 1, combine onion, parsley, mint, salt and pepper. The ghee should stay solid and set aside.
3b.To make the filling option 2, pound the sesame seeds, thyme and sumac in a pestle and mortar. Spoon over crumbled labneh. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chunks of walnut if desired.
4.To form the bowls shape kibbeh, wet a plastic sheet (cling film) and place it inside a small bowl. Press the meat dough flat, 1/3 inch / 7mm thick inside to take the shape of the bowl. Repeat, wetting your hands with cold water as you work.
5.Each 2 molds will make one piece of kibbeh. Stuff one half with your preferred mixture and place it on the palm of your hand (after pulling away the plastic film), place the second half over it and seal the rims together. Brush with vegetable oil.
6a.If using the traditional filling, just spoon the onion mixture inside followed by the pieces of ghee.
6b.If using my filling, spoon the labneh mixture, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, before joining the 2 molds together.
7.Carry carefully the kibbeh bowls and bake over charcoal on both sides until cooked thoroughly. Serve with green salad.