Change things up from the better-known kofta and falafel and try these fragrant Lebanese lamb balls. Inside, a pine nut-laced, richly spiced lamb treat awaits.
- 1 ½ cup bulgur, soaked overnight in cold water
- 1 onion, grated
- 350 g ground lean lamb
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp dried mint
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) pine nuts
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 250g lean ground lamb
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- 2 tsp sumac
- Salt, for seasoning
- Olive oil, for frying
Cilantro yoghurt sauce
- 2 cups (500 ml) full-fat plain yoghurt
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tsp dried mint
- ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
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.
Soaking time: overnight
- Drain the bulgur wheat from soaking overnight. Working in batches, use your hands to squeeze it to remove excess water. In a large bowl, add bulgur wheat, onion, lamb, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and dried mint.
- Knead mixture together with your hands vigorously until everything is very well combined.
- Process mixture in food processor until it reaches a fine consistency.
- Toast pine nuts in a pan until golden brown.
- Add oil to large pan and heat over medium-high. Add ground lamb and sauté until cooked through. Add onions and spices cook until onions are soft. Set aside and let cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce by whisking all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
- To make the kibbeh balls, take some of the kibbeh mix and roll into a ball roughly the size of a golf ball. Using your index finger, make a hole in the kibbeh, then rotate the ball in your hand while your finger continues to make the hole larger. Place stuffing into the hole, then close the open end. Dip your fingers in water and then work the kibbeh balls into an oval shape with tapered ends.
- Once all balls are formed, heat olive oil 5 cm deep in a skillet to 190C (375F). Fry, rotating, until all sides are a deep golden brown. Remove from oil using tongs or a spider and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Serve with yoghurt sauce.