The kibbeh balls are one of the well-known dish from the Middle East. The shell/skin of the kibbeh is made of mixture of bulgur, onion, and beef, lamb or goat meat.
The filling also contains some meat with fried pine nuts. It is usually shaped like a torpedo, but some shape it into a ball, or made it into a pie. They can be fried or baked. I tried both and my husband and I have to conclude that the fried version is better (everything fried is good in taste of course!). The baked version is a bit dry, though not too bad, but we prefer the fried version.
These little morsels are great with soup or stew dishes or even if you want to munch it on its own with some garlic yogurt dip or even hummus, they are pretty tasty and flavorful.
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
- 1/2 lb good-quality fine bulgur
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 lb lean ground leg of lamb or lean ground beef
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 1/2 Tbsp ground allspice powder
- 1/2 Tbsp of salt
- Oil for frying - (If you choose to deep-fry)
For the filling:
- 1/4 lb lean ground beef or lamb
- 1 small onion - (finely minced)
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp ground all-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3 cloves of garlic - (finely grated)
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of paprika powder - (optional)
Preparing the dipping:
- Mix the yogurt with the garlic. Sprinkle some paprika powder on top and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the rest
Preparing the dough:
- Wash the bulgur wheat in clean water several times and drain off the water each time. Try to squeeze the excess water out as much as you can with your hand.
- In a food processor, combine the onion, bulgur, marjoram, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper and process into a paste. Transfer this into a bowl and add in the ground beef or lamb. Use your clean hands to mix everything and knead them into a big dough. You can prepare the dough up to this point and pop it into the refrigerator until you are ready to use it
Preparing the filling:
- In a heavy-bottom skillet, preheat about 2 Tbsp of oil. Saute the onion until fragrant and soft, add in the ground beef or lamb and use the back of the spatula to break up the meat and cook until the meat is no longer pink in color. Add in the allspice powder, salt and pepper and stir to mix everything. Continue to cook until the meat is cooked through and dark brown in color. Turn off the heat. Add in the pine nuts and stir to mix everything. Adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt to your liking
Making the kibbeh balls:
- Get the dough out from the refrigerator only when you are ready to make them. Wet you clean hands with cold water and scoop about 2 Tbsp of the dough and roll it into a ball. Holding it with one of your hand, poke your index finger of the other hand into the ball to create a tunnel for the filling. Scoop in about 1 tsp or two of the filling into the tunnel and close the top by pinching them together to shape like torpedo or just a ball shape if you prefer. If the dough started to crack, wet your fingers and smooth it back together. Continue until you are finished with the rest of the dough and filling
Cooking the kibbeh balls:
- If you choose to deep-fry, prepare oil in a deep pot over high heat. Place the ball into the fryer one by one and fry until they are golden brown. They will float to the top when they are done too. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil
- If you choose to bake, preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the balls on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and use your hand to gently coat the oil over each kibbeh balls. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until they are crispy and nicely browned. Shake the baking sheet twice during cooking so they bake evenly
- Serve with the garlic yogurt dip or eat them with a soup or stew if you prefer
We have the kibbeh balls with some chicken soup and it was really yummy!!!