Not so long ago, every Lebanese home had one of those in the kitchen; called a jeren, this mortar was cut out of solid rock and weighed at least a hundred pounds. We had one; my mother was fortunate enough to be able to enlist a cook (with adequate girth) named Apple (Teffaha) to pound the meat away, boom-boom-boom, for the ultimate goal of kibbeh-making. The meat was softened and whenever a white sinew, ligament or artery was felt, it was pulled out and cast aside; the meat had to be as smooth as silk. Then the bulgur and seasonings were added. All in all, a couple of hours of solid work.
Then one day we heard that a French appliance company was marketing a machine that would make kibbeh in minutes. Today there is even a UK-made appliance that has an attachment forming the kibbeh paste into hollow balls (ready to be stuffed)
Still, experts maintain (and they are right), that a machine (food processor) cannot obtain the same results as the old-fashioned stone mortar. Clearly, a food processor does not extricate the silverskins from the meat, it processes indiscriminately.
The image above was taken at a wedding; making kibbeh the traditional way, this lady (who sells her creations at Souk el-Tayeb in Beirut) is back in vogue; here goat meat is used, as it is traditional and the leanest meat (even leaner than chicken).
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