Bulgur and cumin loaf (Kammounieh)

December 8, 2011  •  Category:


This is a vegan pâté called kammounieh (from kammoun or cumin). It is a Southern Lebanese specialty. It is easy to make and consists of fine bulgur mixed with onion, herbs, cumin and chiles. The recipe is just a guide as each family in the South have their own personal spice mix for the kammounieh.

Once the pâté is formed it is served at room temperature with a garnish of fresh mint or basil, radishes, diced tomatoes or peppers, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil; served with pita bread or chips.

The one pictured above was bought at Souk el Tayeb from a southern farmer.

The following recipe  can be altered according to your taste. The idea is to gather herbs and spices, grind them in a mortar like a pesto and let the bulgur get imbibed with them; tomato paste or a diced tomato is added with olive oil  and creates the pâté or kammounieh.

Suggested kammouneh mix:

  • 1/4 cup of cumin (if in grains, grind in a mortar or coffee grinder)
  • 1 tbsp of hot Aleppo pepper or 1 red chile pepper
  • 1 tbsp of marjoram
  • 1 tbsp of basil
  • 1 tsp of mint (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of rose petals (from the fragrant rose Damascena) (omit if needed or replace with geranium petals)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

NOTE: The rind of an orange was a suggestion from Dana,  whose family is Southern Lebanese.

INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 1 cup of fine bulgur
  • 1/2 of the kammounieh mix
  • 3 tbsp of dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste or 2 large diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of hot red pepper paste
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil


  1. Boil 2 cups of water and dissolve the tomato  and red pepper paste in the water;  pour over the bulgur and onion flakes and let it swell; when the bulgur is tender and cool, drain and press excess moisture; combine the bulgur with the spice mix and the olive oil. Pat it  to form a compact and moist pâté-like paste, adding more tomato or red pepper paste according to your taste.
  2. Serve with radishes and fresh herbs and extra olive oil and some pita bread or crackers.


NOTE: This kammounieh is served with meat in the South.

The tomato paste suggested here can be substituted for a thick tomato sauce with some chili peppers (can omit the peppers).

For a richer taste, some people add ground walnuts (about 1/2 cup).


32 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Marvelous flavors and dish!



  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Awesome! I may have to bring this to my next holiday gathering.

  3. culinaire amoula says:

    Wouawwwwwwww!!!j adore les recettes libanaises.

  4. Lyndsey@TheTinySkill says:

    This looks so interesting, and seem easy to make with ingredients that I already have! I am going to bring this to my next book club! 🙂

    How do they serve it with meat? Do they make it with meat or eat it on the side? Just wondering! Thanks.

    • Joumana says:

      @Lyndsey: They make a meat tartare on the side, which is ground by hand in a big stone mortar. Translated into the American kitchen it can be served with a good cut of meat, served grilled or on the raw side.

  5. Rants and Plants says:

    I really love this dish. So healthy and flavorful. Thanks!

  6. Diane says:

    Mmmm this sounds like a nice change and we both love chili. Diane

  7. Oui, Chef says:

    What a beautiful addition to any table.

  8. Christine says:

    Hey Joumana, your Kammounieh Bulgar Pate is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win?

    Show your foodie love and vote here

  9. Rachana says:

    Such a healthy and flavourful dish!

  10. Mrs. Measurement says:

    Yum. This sounds delicious.

  11. Banana Wonder says:

    I love this! It sounds so exotic with the rose petals too.

  12. Cherine says:

    I love bulgur and i love your recipe!!

  13. Priya says:

    Super flavourful and healthy pate..

  14. Elena says:

    Waw!Very interesting.

  15. Rachel K says:

    Well this is a new one to me and a gorgeous one at that. Perfect for the party season too. Can’t wait to try it, though may have to give the rose petals a miss. Although, what would happen if I used some rose water, I wonder? 🙂

  16. Kiran @ KiranTarun.c says:

    Thanks for sharing this vegan pate recipe. I’ve never prefered meat pate’s anyways. These is definitely a must try!!!

  17. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    Hi Joumana,

    I’ve known about bulgur wheat for many years, but you are showing me many more ways to prepare bulgur wheat than I thought possible! Did you use a fork on the sides to get the nice edge or did you use a mold? Bulgur wheat is inexpensive, and it’s exciting to know that I can make something this lovely and nutritious with it.


  18. sare says:

    I love bulgur and spies. I adore this dish.

  19. samir says:

    another great post ..Souk el Tayeb is nothing short of Amazing.. for its vision , its mission, the food, the sharing. the brotherhood, etc..

  20. Fahad Khan (@Pharaoh says:

    Unfortunately,we hardly have any Lebanese restaurants here,in India.
    Your dish looks stunning,the best part is that almost all ingredients used can be easily found in one’s pantry.I would love to try this,just the thought of bulgur steeping in tomato and chili(pepper paste) makes my mouth water.
    Thank you for sharing,I am noting down/bookmarking this one.:-)

  21. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I love bulgar recipes that are unusual like this. Normally I only see bulgar being used in tabouli. I’d love to try this, I do have lots of bulgar at home.
    *kisses* HH
    p.s. were those your recipes featured in Deserts Magazine this month? I saw the name Joumana but don’t know your last name– they were for delicious looking mamoul cookies

  22. domi says:

    Tout simplement rafraîchissant ce ” gâteau ” de bulgur bien épicé

  23. Chiara says:

    easy to make but tasty ! have a lovely weekend Joumana…

  24. Christine says:

    This dish is a wonderful amalgamation of spices to awaken the senses. Interesting the addition of rose petals.

  25. Claudia says:

    I need this in my life. About how much of the “mix” do you use? I’d like to bring this to our Italian Christmas celebration where my mother is making curry! (Wow – we can change!)

    • Joumana says:

      @Claudia: it is a personal taste thing here; I would start with 1/4 cup and see if you like it. You want the kammounieh to be moist, firm and flavorful. Olive oil and walnuts help with the moistness and the spices and herbs and tomato with flavor.

  26. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Cette recette rentre immédiatement dans ma to-do list … Mon frère et sa famille, grands amateurs de cuisine libanaise, arrivent chez moi pour Noël. Ils vont adorer ça !

  27. Magic of Spice says:

    This is lovely! I have some bulgar in my pantry and know of few uses for it, but I love this and will want to try it out 🙂

  28. Hisham Assaad says:

    Such an interesting recipe. It’s weird I’ve never heard it while my Italian friend tried it and sent me this link.

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