Kibbeh is a dish of minced meat with bulgur (a crushed wheat also known as burghul) and spices with many variants, eaten raw or cooked. It's regarded as the national dish of Lebanon and there are as many ways to prepare and serve kibbeh as there are to spell it.
- 2 cups (320 g) fine burghul (crushed wheat)
- 1 medium brown onion, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- ½ red capsicum, chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp kibbee mixed spices (see Note) (if unavailable, use Lebanese mixed spices)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp Lebanese mixed spices (see Note)
- 500 g ground lean lamb, all sinew removed (see Note)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- ½ cup (80 g) pine nuts
- 2 medium brown onions, finely sliced
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp Lebanese mixed spices
- ¾ cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Soaking time 10 minutes
Preheat oven to 200°C. Soak the burghul for 10 minutes in cold water, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. Generously grease a 30 cm round baking dish with olive oil, making sure the sides are well coated.
Place the onion, mint, capsicum, chilli if using, salt and all the spices in a food processor. Process at high speed until very fine, then add the lamb and process to a paste. Add the drained burghul and process for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and knead the mixture until well combined, wetting your fingers occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to your hand.
To make the kibbeh b’sayneyeh, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until light golden, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until light brown. Remove the pan from the heat, add the pine nuts, black pepper and mixed spices and combine well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly to cover the base.
With the lamb kibbeh base, use your hands to make small patties about 1 cm thick, and place the patties close together over the onion base, making sure all the onion is covered. Smooth out the surface, wetting your hand to prevent the kibbee sticking to your fingers. Mark the top with parallel cuts on the diagonal about 6 cm apart, then cut on the diagonal to create diamond shapes. Pour the vegetable oil over the top and use the tip of a round-edge knife to mark a small dent in the middle of each diamond.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until kibbeh is cooked through, remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
• Kibbee spices and Lebanese mixed spices available from Lebanese food shops. Ground lean lamb (without sinew) is available from Lebanese butchers.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.