Kibbeh or kibbe are crispy oriental meatballs, usually made from fine bulgur and stuffed with flavored meat. There are many ways to prepare kibbeh and bulgur can be replaced with rice or semolina, but the classic bulgur is still preferred (it's said to be the Syrian recipe for kibbeh). I will definitely try the rice version, which I tasted at our friends, Geea and Felah. The kibbeh crust in this recipe is finer and more tender, whereas with bulgur, it's a bit more crunchy, flavorful and slightly coarse.
We really like it. Kibbeh and Falafel convinced us that oriental cuisine is interesting and it's worth trying as many recipes as possible. Kibbeh can be frozen (uncooked), you can serve hot or cold, in addition to a salad and any yogurt you like.
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This is what the fine bulgur wheat looks like, it's between rough and powder.
Place 300g of bulgur in a deep bowl, pour enough cold water to cover it well and let soak for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, we will prepare the stuffing for kibbeh.
In a large skillet, heat a little oil, add the onions chopped in small cubes and stir periodically until it begins to brown slightly.
Add in the minced beef, fry and stir continuously until it spreads out into small pieces.
When the meat in the pan has run out of juice and starts to brown a little, add all the spices, in turn - black pepper, turmeric, baharat, coriander, paprika, garlic powder and ground nutmeg.
Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.
Finally, sprinkle over with the chopped parsley and pine nuts, stir and immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Allow to cool slightly at room temperature.
In the meantime, the bulgur is swelling, see the picture.
Drain well - you can place the bulgur in a sieve and press hard with your fingers or use a fine towel and squeeze.
Move the drained bulgur into a large bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 100g of white flour.
Knead and stir the mixture well. See if it has an easy-to-shape play-doh texture - squeeze a little in your palm and try to give it a shape.
If the dough spreads easily and won't hold its shape, add another 20-50g of flour, knead again and test until you get the desired result.
We start shaping the kibbeh or bulgur meatballs.
First of all, you must have a bowl of water next to you, to soak your hands in when you start shaping each kibbeh.
So, take some bulgur in your damp hands, as much as fits in your palm, press and shape into an oval.
Hold the bulgur meatball in your left hand and insert the index finger of the right hand to make a hole in the middle.
Lightly press the edges and widen it until you get a kind of small bowl made from bulgur.
Place 1 teaspoon of the meat filling in it.
Carefully seal the dough on top and close the filling inside the meatball. Wet your fingers if the dough is sticky.
Also, shape the stuffed meatball into an oval with pointed ends, this is one of the specific kibbeh shapes.
I cannot guarantee it will be perfect at first. Pay attention to all my recommendations in the recipe, study more on Youtube on how to shape kibbeh and you will surely succeed.
Continue to shape until you've finished all the dough. Arrange the stuffed kibbeh on a plate sprinkled with a little water. From these quantities, I made 20 meatballs. You can fry them but you can also freeze (uncooked) on a tray and use them whenever you need.
Heat about 1 liter of oil in a small, deep saucepan. I prefer to use peanut oil for this, but the classic sunflower oil also works.
Dip a meatball in the hot oil. If it starts to fry and make big bubbles, add more, as many as they fit.
Fry the kibbeh over high heat until well browned on all sides.
When they are done, carefully remove and put on a plate lined with paper towels, to absorb excess oil.
Place another batch of kibbeh in the pan and continue until you've fried all of them.
They are wonderful, hot, cold or even reheated, served with a fresh vegetable salad, yogurt and maybe hummus.
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