Lebanese Kibbeh Balls
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Lebanese Kibbeh Balls- also known as kibbi, kebbeh or kubba, is made with a combination of very lean ground beef, fine bulgur wheat, pureed onions, a mix of Middle Eastern spices and basil. Kibbeh is then formed into a ball and stuffed with a mixture of spiced beef and toasted pine nuts; sealed and then fried or baked.
Lebanese Kibbeh Balls
Kibbeh ground beef needs to be very lean and thoroughly minced. In the meat department at your local grocery store, ask for kibbeh ground beef or double minced 95-100% lean beef. kibbeh is the epitome of Middle Eastern comfort food. There are many ways to prepare kibbeh– raw ( kibbeh nayeh) or stuffed and then fried like in today’s Kibbeh recipe; Similar to my Baked Kibbeh recipe, but instead of layering the ingredients in a baking dish, you shape them into footballs shapes. Kibbeh balls are so much fun to make, and they are even more fun to eat.
What you’ll Need to Make Fried Kibbeh Balls:
(Scroll down to get full recipe with exact measurements)
- Beef: You’re going to need two kinds of meat to make kibbeh. 100% lean minced beef to make kibbeh mixture and 85- 95% ground beef to make the stuffing.
- Fine bulgur wheat: Use fine bulgur (#1).
- Water: to help tenderize the bulgur wheat.
- Basil: You can use fresh basil if available, or dried. Both will do the job.
- Onion: Lots of onions here. Half used in the kibbeh ball dough and the rest used in the stuffing mixture.
- Middle Eastern spices: such as all spice, cinnamon, and black pepper.
- Pomegranate molasses: or lemon juice, adds extra tanginess to the stuffing mixture.
- Pine nuts: These are optional but add incredible texture and flavor to the stuffing.
- Walnuts: Chopped, for extra crunchiness.
- Vegetable or canola oil: To fry these kibbeh balls up!
HOW TO MAKE LEBANESE KIBBEH BALLS:
Make the kibbeh filling (Hashweh mixture):
- Cook the onions with olive oil until softened and lightly golden.
- Add the ground beef and cook with the onions until browned and cooked through.
- Mix in the spices with the ground beef and onion mixture.
- Fold in the toasted pine nuts and chopped walnuts.
- Add a drizzle of pomegranate molasses or lemon juice.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the kibbeh mixture:
- In a food processor, add the onion, basil, salt and spices and process until pureed.
- Add the Lean kibbeh ground beef a little bit at a time- continue processing until meat is blended well with onions.
- Add fine bulgur and water a little bit at a time and process very well until you have a smooth emulsified paste.
- Remove kibbeh mixture from the food processor.
Shape the Kibbeh Meatballs:
- Fill a a small bowl with 1/4 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and set near your working area to use for damping your hands. You need dampen hands to shape every kibbeh ball.
- Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of the kibbeh mixture and make an indent with your finger in the middle.
- Hollow out the inside to make a pocket for the filling.
- Add the hashweh filling into the cavity you formed. (I forget to take a picture of this step).
- Seal the ball on top and, using both hands, carefully shape it into a football shape, pinch the ends to form points.
- Place the stuffed kibbeh on a large tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat the hollowing and stuffing process until all the kibbeh mixture and stuffing is done.
- Chill the tray for at least 30 minutes before frying. This help the kibbeh balls hold shape. (optional)
Fry the Kibbeh:
- Fry the kibbeh balls in hot oil in batches.
- Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain the excess oil.
TIPS FOR MAKING LEBANESE KIBBEH BALLS
- Make a mixture of cornstarch and water to dampen your hands while forming the kibbeh balls. To help you form a smooth kibbeh ball.
- Refrigerate kibbeh balls just until cold before frying. This helps hold their shape when frying.
- Heat the oil before frying. Make sure to heat the frying oil for 5-8 minutes before adding the kibbeh balls.
- Don’t overcrowd the pot when you are frying them. If you add too many at a time, the temperature of the oil will drop and they will not cook through.
- You can also bake these in an oven. Spray the kibbeh with oil and bake in the oven at 400°F for around 30 minutes until a deep golden brown. It helps to flip them halfway through.
How to Store and Freeze Lebanese Kibbeh Balls:
The fried kibbeh will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. You can freeze the uncooked kibbeh and then fry them right from frozen, which helps keep them more fresh.
More Lebanese Recipes:
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