I’m on a Middle Eastern food kick! Today I made Kibbeh (Kibbe). The recipe calls for bulgar wheat, but I’m obviously not going to use that, so I had to change it up a bit. The spices I used are slightly different than what is usually used when making Kibbeh. Next time I’m in Tallmadge, OH, I’ll go to the Middle Eastern market and get the proper spices, but for now, I used what was available at Giant Eagle. I got something close enough and it turned out delicious!
Kibbeh can be served baked, fried, or raw. Since I did not purchase halal meat, I did not trust it to be eaten raw! I’ve only ever had it fried, I decided to first prepare it that way, using extra virgin olive oil. Additionally, I baked some of the Kibbeh, just in case that is your preference.
Kibbeh is typically “torpedo” shaped, but can also be made into balls or flattened into small patties. Additionally, you can bake it in a dish and cut it into squares. For my fried Kibbeh, I made small balls and for my baked Kibbeh, I made small patties.
Torpedo shaped Kibbeh (picture via Wikipedia)
This dish is actually quite simple to prepare and will definitely be a hit with my friends at our monthly Game Night at Alysia’s house. We always like to have finger foods so that we can concentrate on whether it was Mr. Green or Professor Plum with the candlestick in the billiard room. Bekah definitely thinks it was Mr. Green!
* 1.25 lbs 80/20 finely ground beef or lamb (halal or grassfed is best)
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 cup finely chopped onions (I grated my onion)
* Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
* 2 tsp Kashmir Garam Masala Spice (Urban Accents brand) – really you should be using 1 tsp Lebanese 7 Spice and 1 tsp Kibbeh Spice
* 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated
* 1 egg
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (for baked Kibbeh). If you are frying, skip this step.
2. Take your cauliflower and grate it with a cheese grater. I grate it directly into a measuring cup and when I get to 2 1/2 cups, I stop.
3. Place cauliflower into a dry sauté pan and turn the heat on medium low. We want to cook the cauliflower and have the moisture dissipate, however, we do not want to burn our cauliflower. So make sure to keep it moving with a spatula. Once it is nicely cooked and dry, remove from pan and place in a bowl to the side.
4. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the finely chopped onion over a medium flame. Add salt, pepper, and spices and stir so the spices are evenly distributed. When cooked, place onions in the same bowl as the cauliflower, mix with a spoon, and allow to cool.
5. Crack egg into a medium sized glass bowl. Whip the egg with a fork. Add the raw ground beef or lamb to the same bowl as the egg. My beef was not ground finely, so I ripped it into smaller bits with my hands. Mix the egg and beef with your hands until it is completely coated.
6. Add cauliflower, onion, and spice mixture and, using your hands, mix until everything is nicely coated with the egg.
7. Form 1″ balls. If you are making patties, flatten them down.
8. FOR BAKING: Place patties on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake them at 350°F for 25 minutes. Flip them after 15 minutes. When they are finished baking, remove from sheet and serve. FOR FRYING: Fill a a small saucepan with olive oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Once the oil is properly heated, drop the balls into the oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes, turning them around so they are evenly cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon so that any excess oil drains out.
Dipping sauce is not a necessity with this dish, however, if you do want to make some, here is a quick recipe that I make: Take 1/4 cup full-fat plain yogurt, add 3 tbsp grated or finely chopped cucumber and a pinch of dill. Stir. Voilà! Delish and easy dipping sauce.
The balls in the back were fried and the patties in the front were baked. When I’ve eaten these in restaurants, I preferred them fried, but with this gluten-free recipe, I actually prefer them baked.