Today I’m sharing Kibbeh Bizeit, or Kibbeh Topped with Tangy Raisins, Walnuts and Caramelized Onions.
Kibbeh, which is a dough made with minced meat, bulgur wheat and onions, is a staple in just about every Syrian household. Making it is an art form, a labor of love and something that more and more people are outsourcing these days. Believe me, I completely understand why. I’ve watched my mom do it for years, and the process still intimidates me. The good news is that this kibbeh is the perfect introductory version.
Why is it a good intro kibbeh? Well, since it’s topped with the raisins, walnuts and onions, the shape isn’t super important. Also, no matter what your dough tastes like, the topping alone is so flavorful. It’s sweet, crunchy and tangy from pomegranate molasses, so it’s basically fool-proof.
Syrians have soooooo many different kinds of kibbeh. I’ve heard some people report up to 95 types, and that doesn’t include the recipes that people have come up with on their own. There’s fried kibbeh balls, kibbeh in the pan, grilled kibbeh, grilled kibbeh on skewers, kibbeh in yogurt sauce, kibbeh in quince sauce, and so much more. It’s just another way that Syrians repurpose components of dishes, and each type is so good in its own delicious way.
If you have a butcher you trust, tell him you’d like your meat trimmed from either the lamb leg or a lean part of the cow (and if he’s Middle Eastern, tell him it’s for kibbeh). You also need to tell him to cut all the fat away, literally 0% fat. There are some tricks to getting the texture of the dough right, which I specified for you below.
If you’re going to try a kibbeh recipe, this one has to be it! And that’s something I encourage you to do: just try. If you fail, you’re at least one step closer to getting it right, and you can always come back to me with questions.
I really hope to see some of your kibbeh! If you do make it, don’t forget to put it in the comments and tag @omayahatassi and #omayahcooks on Instagram!
Kibbeh Bizeit (Kibbeh Topped with Tangy Raisin, Walnut and Onion)
Syrians have all types of kibbeh recipes, and this one is fool-proof. A dough of ground meat, fine bulgur and onions is pressed in a pan and topped with tangy and sweet pomegranate molasses-dressed walnuts, raisins and caramelized onions. Eat this as a snack or with a salad to round out a meal.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 c walnuts, chopped
1/2 golden raisins
1/3 c pomegranate molasses
1/4 c ghee
1 lb habra (0% fat ground beef or lamb)
2 ice cubes, plus more for ice water
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
Few grinds of black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 lb fine bulgur
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped walnuts, raisins and pomegranate molasses. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 f. Combine the habra (ground beef), baking soda, salt, pepper and 2 ice cubes in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Clean out the bowl.
- Combine the bulgur wheat, onion and 1 tsp salt in the same bowl and process until combined. Add the meat and wheat mixtures in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium high until combined, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a small bowl of ice water. Dip hands in ice water and knead the kibbeh until soft, dipping your hands in the ice water again periodically. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
- Spread the filling onto the bottom of a 10-inch round pan, being mindful not to scoop up the oil with it. Dip your hands in the ice water, take a handful of kibbeh, flatten between your palms until 1/4 inch thck and spread on the bottom of the prepared baking round. Repeat until the bottom is fully covered.
- Dip hands in ice water and smooth the layer of kibbeh, making sure it's even. Run a knife the edge to separate it from the pan. Score the kibbeh by making squares, but don't cut all the way through. This will ensure the kibbeh cooks through. Add the onion that collected from the topping (if there is any) + more vegetable oil to equal 1/4 c.
- Transfer tray to the oven and bake until browned, about 25-30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature then flip onto a serving plate. Cut into triangles and serve.
- Serve at room temperature with muhammara or yogurt. Store in the fridge up to 4-5 days, in the freezer up to 3 months.