Making kibbeh may seem like an exclusively Lebanese tradition, but the fact is that it is also practiced elsewhere~
Here is a version from Mosul, Iraq (birthplace of the famed Iraqi singer, Kazem al-Saher), courtesy of the fascinating Nawal Nasrallah’s Delights from the Garden of Eden.
In her version, the kibbeh is baked rather than boiled; since the Mosul kibbeh is shaped like a large flat disc this is an easier method. Served like a pie or as I did here, in little squares, it is a delightful kibbeh especially when paired with a dollop of cold and creamy yogurt.
INGREDIENTS: 4 discs (up to 16 servings)
- 1 pound of ground sirloin
- 2 cups of bulgur (extra-fine, #1)
- 1/2 cup of cream of wheat or farina
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsps of olive oil
- Spices: 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of allspice, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1/2 tsp of hot or mild paprika or chile powder, 1/4 tsp of sumac (optional), 1 tbsp of brown sugar (optional, not in recipe)
- nuts to garnish
- glaze: 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 small egg, 1 tbsp of tomato sauce or paste (sauce is easier to dissolve)
- yogurt, as a side (optional) or salad or raw veggies
- Cover the bulgur and cream of wheat with warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and press all extra moisture.
- Place the onion in quarters in the bowl of a food processor and process until the onion is finely chopped; add the meat and spices and process for a few minutes until the meat is pasty. Add the bulgur mixture in two or three stages and process to combine well. Transfer the kibbeh to a bowl.
- Shape the kibbeh by flattening one big ball into a round disc, about 8 inch in diameter and placing it onto a cookie sheet lined with a greased piece of foil. Mix the egg, oil and tomato sauce and brush the glaze on the kibbeh disc. Score the kibbeh if desired and place a pistachio or almond on each losange.
- Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes until done. Serve with yogurt or a salad on the side.
NOTE: The spices can be adjusted to your taste. The quantities can be halved. The kibbeh can be made with a different type of meat, as in ground turkey, lamb or chicken.