Fish kibbeh

December 16, 2020  •  Category: ,

This is not a kibbeh from Beirut . It is a dish from the northern capital, Tripoli, where people are really into fish and seafood due to the historic Tripoli port area teeming with fishermen and fish joints. I discovered it late and loved the idea and the kibbeh. Remember, kibbeh is a way folks created to stretch meat (or fish), so by combining fish and bulgur one gets a dish to feed the whole family with protein, and carbs from the bulgur. Here the spices can be used in abundance because the kibbeh is quite mild in taste; adding citrus rind, or herbs, and many spices like cumin or coriander or turmeric (or even saffron) is always a plus. Feel free to play with the range of spices. In this version, I even added a pinch of dried rose petals.

For a different version of this kibbeh, with just onions and nuts as a filling.

Yet another version shaped like a saucer and stuffed with shrimp and calamari.




Fish kibbeh

Joumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern December 16, 2020 Main Dish, Fish/Seafood, kibbeh, fish kibbeh, Kibbeh pie, lebanese food,

4-6 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes


Kibbeh dough:

  1. 1 lb fish such as tilapia or flounder (can be frozen)
  2. 1 cup of extra-fine bulgur (#1) or up to 1 1/4 cup, soaked in water for 5 minutes then drained and squeezed dry
  3. 1 onion, quartered


  • Rind of a lemon, or an orange or a lime (or all rinds combined)
  • 1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, white pepper
  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley or fresh dill
  • salt, to taste

Kibbeh filling:

1 lb large shrimp

2 large onions, chopped

Olive oil, as needed

1/4 tsp saffron, ground-up in a mortar with a pinch of salt

To serve: 

Quartered lemons or limes to squeeze over the kibbeh




  1. Flour the fish fillet and cut them into chunks. Place the onion in the food processor and chop it up fine (or grate it manually). Place the bulgur in the food processor bowl and pulse the mixture till it is uniform in texture. Add some spices, leaving the rest for when the fish is added. Add the fish chunks and process until a paste forms. At this point, you should have added all of the spices and herbs you like and the kibbeh dough is ready. If it is too wet, add some flour or breadcrumbs and mix. It should smell nice. Place in a bowl, cover and keep in the fridge till the filling is done. This step can be prepared one day ahead.
  2. Stir-fry the onions in oil until almost caramelized and add the shrimp pieces. Add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes or until the shrimps turn opaque and are cooked. Set aside to cool. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  3. Divide the kibbeh dough in halves. Grease a 9" cake pan and spread one half uniformly across the pan. Place the filling over the kibbeh layer. Roll out the second half on a piece of wax paper and flip it over the cake pan to fit as snugly as possible. Dab it with floured fingers to fit. Brush with olive oil sprinkled with turmeric or saffron for a nice orange or yellow color and taste and score the kibbeh.
  4. Bake it in a preheated 350F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until the dough is cooked. Serve warm with extra lemon or lime quartered to squeeze on the kibbeh.

Recipe Notes

To avoid getting the kibbeh dough too "wet" you can substitute fresh onion for dry onion powder.

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One Comment  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rowena says:

    This looks and sounds absolutely brilliant!

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