Kibbé bissaneyeh is a traditional Lebanese dish made in every household in Lebanon. It’s a delicious plate prepared with ground meat and bulgur. My mom was very famous for her Kibbé. Once a month, she would prepare 4-5 oven pans of kibbé and she would keep them in the freezer. Once a week, she would bake one of these Kibbé pans for our lunch. We would be very happy when we used to come back from school and smell the Kibbé freshly baked for our lunch. She would serve it to us with cabbage salad or cucumber with yogurt and fresh mint (similar to tzatziki).
Since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 1999, I stopped eating Kibbé and honestly I missed it a lot. As you all know, bulgur is made from crushed wheat, so it has gluten. Couple of years ago, while browsing the supermarket shelves, I found rice bulgur (very similar to the wheat bulgur, but it’s crushed rice instead of crushed wheat). I was so happy to find it, and I thought that I would give it a try and make Kibbé with it. I did it exactly the same way like the regular Kibbé and it turned out delicious. Now I prepare Kibbé for my family with the rice bulgur and we all eat it and enjoy it. It’s really delicious, and they keep telling me that it is not as heavy as the original one! That’s definitely a bonus!

Ingredients

Servings: 2 Kibbé pans or one pan and 12-15 Kibbé balls or “Krass Kibbé”

For the Kibbé 
- 500 grams finely ground beef (You can ask your butcher to grind the beef for kibbe)
- 2 onions, peeled and cut into four
- 500 grams rice bulgur (check photo)
- 2 tsp Kibbé spices (a mélange of spices like black pepper, ground cinnamon, marjoram, cumin)
- 2 tsp salt

For the filling
- 500 grams minced beef
- 50 grams pine nuts
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5-6 tbsp. canola oil for baking the Kibbé

Method

For the Kibbé 
  1. Put the bulgur in a bowl and cover with warm water.
  2. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the bulgur in a sieve and squeeze with your hands very well until the bulgur is almost dry.
  4. Grind the onions very finely in the food processor.
  5. Put the onions in a bowl.
  6. Add the bulgur to the onions, and add the salt and spices.
  7. Mix well and put half the quantity in the food processor and grind for few seconds only.
  8. Put back the ground bulgur on top of the remaining bulgur and add the meat.
  9. We don’t grind all the bulgur to keep texture to the Kibbé.
  10. Mix the meat, bulgur, onions, and spices with your hands very well.
  11. It needs proper kneading.
  12. You can keep ice water next to you to wet your hands and add few drops while kneading.
  13. Ice water can help make the Kibbé more elastic and sticky.
  14. Keep the Kibbé in the fridge for at least one hour before using it.

For the filling
  1. Put the oil in a deep frying pan.
  2. Add the chopped onions and pine nuts and cook well until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the minced beef and cook well.
  4. Add the salt and spices and mix well.
  5. Put off the heat and cover the filling.
  6. Keep aside until the Kibbé is ready to assemble.

To assemble the Kibbé
  1. Keep a bowl of cold water near you.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp. of canola oil in the bottom of an oven pan.
  3. Take some of the Kibbé mix and spread in the bottom of the pan (check photos).
  4. Spread the filling on top of the first Kibbé layer.
  5. Flatten another Kibbé layer between two sheets of nylon (it is easier to control the thickness).
  6. Start laying the Kibbé on top of the filling until you cover the whole pan. 
  7. Make sure all corners are also covered.
  8. Cut the top of the Kibbé in any shape you like. I always cut it like my mom used to cut.
  9. I cut it into very small lozenges. (check photos)
  10. It is better to keep the Kibbé in the fridge for at least one hour before baking.
  11. Preheat oven on 200°C.
  12. Put 5-6 tbsp. canola oil on top of the Kibbé and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown and crispy.
  13. You can drain any remaining oil before cutting the Kibbé.
  14. Serve it with cabbage salad or cucumber and yogurt and fresh mint salad (similar to tzatziki).

Stuffed Kibbé balls or “Krass Kibbé”:
  1. Use the same Kibbé paste to make the balls.
  2. Make a hole in each ball and fill it with the minced meat filling.
  3. Close the balls well and fry in hot oil.
  4. Serve warm or cold as a snack or lunch.
  5. Kids love Kibbé balls or “Krass Kibbé”