Mosul kibbeh

November 13, 2011  •  Category: ,

Iraq is the birthplace of Middle-Eastern culture and civilization and it is in Iraq that one finds all the sources to what is now known as “Middle-Eastern food”. The kibbeh famous is Iraq comes from the ancient city of Mosul, and it is not only delicious but also very challenging to make! The kibbeh is very large and very thin and is boiled, not fried. I used a version published in 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 semolina flour
  • 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


  1. Cover the bulgur and cream of wheat with warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and press all extra moisture.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Cherine says:

    I love all kind of kebbes and this one is new to me! I will be definitely trying it soon. Thank you for always sharing great recipes!

  2. Rosa says:

    A marvelous kibbeh! So scrumptious.



  3. Priya says:

    Wow,quite a new dish for me…simply irresistible..

  4. Nuts about food says:

    This sounds delicious and I love the pictures.

  5. Doc says:

    I love meat pies and this seems to be a meat pie all in one. The bulgur is such as healthy choice as well!
    Yummy and good for you-love it!

  6. Susan says:

    Would you serve this as an appetizer, Joumana? I so enjoy learning about the food of Lebanon.

    • Joumana says:

      @Susan: Yes, kibbeh is served as an appetizer as well as a main dish; when made into small stuffed balls, they are considered an appetizer; in a large pie shape, it is a main dish.

      @Tracy: Thanks it is handmade in Lebanon

  7. Devaki says:

    This looks like some decadent dessert and you have presented them with just as much flair 🙂 I LOVE kibbeh but this with the pistachio on top is just darling Joumana 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Asmita says:

    Wow, this sounds delicious!

  9. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Those look like little meat brownies! Delicious ones, at that!

  10. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Fantastic! Love how it comes together and sticks so nicely – going to have to try this.

  11. Tracy Zhu says:

    Meat pies of all kinds are so comforting, and I love to use bulgur, so I intend to try this recipe as an appetizer. By the way, that silver serving dish in the image is gorgeous.

  12. Velva says:

    I am thinking to myself that I may have indeed enjoyed kibbeh(or something very familiar) in the past. I had Armenian friends who were from Iran and I enjoyed many nights at their dinner table. Such wonderful memories were evoked while reading your post.


  13. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    I have always loved kibbeh but have never made it myself. This version seems pretty easy, though, I think I can handle this! I will have to give it a shot.

  14. sare says:

    Dear joumana, I’d like to make this dish in your style, I don’t know what cream of wheat or farina is. I saw it some of your recipes, I tried to find out I couldn’t …
    I think it is a kind of starch. Thanks.

    • Joumana says:

      @Sare: Cream of wheat or farina is coarse semolina flour; you can skip it and just use bulgur, it will be fine without it.

      @Steve: The serving plate with the gold handle is handmade in Lebanon. Handicrafts from the country that I bring back after every trip.

  15. Kathy says:

    This kibbeh looks fabulous! I tend to go with the traditional one my grandmother always made. But would love to give this a try.

  16. Sukanya says:

    I had kibbeh before but not with bulgur, this one sounds fantastic combo as meat and bulgur marries so well, simply delicious

    thanks for visiting us, it was pleasure to have you at my space 🙂

  17. Steve @ HPD says:

    i’m loving the meat and bulgar combo. we made felafel meatloaf the other day, and i was amazed how well it turned out. i’m not opposed to meat by any stretch of the imagination, but i’ve been very pleased with some recent discoveries that mix it up with something beany or grainy.

    question: the serving plate with the gold handle on the corner? is that a traditional tray of some sort? really caught my eye.


  18. sare says:

    Thank you for your returning message, have a nice day.

  19. domi says:

    Vraiment différente de la notre mais néanmoins délicieuse cette pâtisserie orientale…

  20. Caffettiera says:

    This is almost a kibbe for beginners, no shaping required, which I always find tricky.

  21. Liza says:

    Thank you so much for a great recipe- tried it today and it came out great! Here are some pics

  22. Liza says:

    Thank you Joumana! You web-site is an inspiration!

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