Global Cuisine: Kibbe

By Jessica Knutzon, Co-Editor

Kibbe, which can be written in many ways, is originally a Middle Eastern dish and the word comes from Arabic for “ball.” The most popular form of this dish combines two main ingredients of meat and wheat rolled into a football-shaped ball, then fried. Today, kibbe is prepared in a variety of ways throughout the world.

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While its origins are not from South America, kibbe can be found in many countries of the region including Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. In Brazil, it is wildly popular and the recipes even vary from region to region. In Lebanon it is typically served with a yogurt sauce, while in Brazil it is typically served with lime juice and hot sauce. Kibbe can be fried or baked, giving the cook the option to create a snack or the main dish of a meal. This high protein dish has no limits on creativity and there are many methods to preparing it.

Getting hungry? Try the simple recipe below. Bon appetit!

Kibbe 3 - bulgurIngredients:
• Bulgur wheat (soaked overnight then drained)
• Ground sirloin (85% lean, 15% fat)
• Mint
• Ground Cinnamon
• Ground Nutmeg
• Ground Clove
• Ground Allspice
• Salt
• Onion

Throughout this recipe, there are not any exact measurements because kibbe can be made to taste. The measurements included in this recipe are easily adjusted to individuals’ preferences.

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. The bulgur wheat must be soaked for at least five hours then drained. The bulgur wheat will nearly triple in size.
3. Finely chop one medium yellow onion and ten mint leaves.
4. Mix the bulgur wheat with equal parts ground beef (or lamb). For 64 ounces of beef, one one-pound bag of dry bulgur wheat should suffice. Use your hands to mix the meat and bulgur wheat.
5. Once the bulgur wheat and beef are well blended, work in the spices (about 2/3 tablespoon equal parts of each spice) and about 2/3 tablespoon of salt into the mixture.
6. Once this is well-mixed again (with your hands), add in the onions and mint.
7. When all of the ingredients seem well blended, place the mixture in a greased glass pan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes (or until well done).

Tips: Kibbe does well frozen! Simply store the uncooked portion desired, when you are ready: defrost and bake or fry. Additionally, when preparing kibbe, it is always a good idea to test a small piece before baking or frying the entire portion. After the test, add ingredients to meet your standards – there is no wrong way to prepare kibbe.

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