This is a traditional kibbeh from Merdin, Turkey made in Beirut by Asma Z., a Kurdish lady. Asma is one of my favorite people here and she told me some tidbits from her life; her family left Turkey and settled in Lebanon and her mother put her to work as a maid at the age of ten. As a result, she never learned how to read or write; thanks to her superior intellect and her determination she finally did while her own children were attending elementary school.
This kibbeh is absolutely delicious and has two marked advantages: One, it is boiled and not fried. Two, it is easier to shape than our traditional Lebanese kibbeh.
The shell is composed of fine bulgur and semolina flour; Asma used a mix given to her by a friend who brought it from Syria. She recommends using a bleached bulgur and a coarse semolina flour to obtain the same results. Once boiled, the kibbeh is soft and doughy and the stuffing is juicy and bursting with flavor.
Asma mentioned that some people like to fry the kibbeh after boiling it. The kibbeh are best at room temperature. She said it is traditional to eat these and drink a glass of ayran (yogurt drink).
For the shells: 2 cups of fine bulgur and one cup of semolina and 3 1/2 cups of water; salt and pepper to taste.
For the stuffing:
- 1/2 pound of ground beef, fatty OK
- 1 pound of onions, chopped fine
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup of hot red pepper paste or chili paste
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Heat a little olive oil and fry the onion until translucent and golden; add the meat and fry till browned and add the spices; add the chili paste and the chopped parsley and mix to combine. Set the stuffing aside.
- Place the bulgur and semolina in a bowl. Cover with hot water and leave it there for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze the mixture. Place in the bowl of a food processor and run the machine, adding water (one teaspoon at a time) if necessary, until the mixture holds together and is a firm but moist dough.
- Make small egg-size balls and hollow them with the index finger; stuff them with 2 or 3 teaspoons of the meat stuffing and pat the opening to seal it well.
- When ready to eat, boil 2 quarts of salted water and drop the kibbeh in the water, only a few at a time; boil gently for 3 to 4 minutes then drain. Serve the kibbeh at room temperature.
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