Sunday, August 12, 2007


Best Blog Tips

Potato Kibbi hot out of the oven (a corner missing because I just had to try it!)

I had to make some finger food for a fundraising event I organized last week and I didn't want to just make the usual things. I have been wanting to try this kibbeh/kibbi recipe for a long time, so I made two pans of it, and it was so superior to any other vegetarian kibbeh I have ever tried. We loved it, and everything I brought sold out, even though most people had no idea what it was! It's the large amount of onions, cooked in the olive oil, that makes it so tasty and moist, I'm positive!

I often serve this recipe at big family gatherings and everyone loves it-- even if they don't know what it is!

An Easter dinner with Potato Kibbeh in the foreground

The Arabic word kubbeh means a ball. The name has been widely borrowed, with various spelling variations: in English, the spellings kibbe and kibbeh are both common; also kubbah and kibbi. In Brazil, it is called quibe or kibe; elsewhere in Latin America, kipe or quipe. In Turkey, it is called içli köfte. In Armenian, it is called kufteh.

PRONUNCIATION: There is a little hesitation between the two b’s, and the second syllable is pronounced with a short e. It should look like this: kib’beh.

Kibbeh is defined as a dish of minced meat with bulgur and spices with many variants, both raw and cooked. However, there are several popular vegetarian versions (Lenten versions for Christians, usually) made with potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc, with plenty of onions for flavor. Many chefs are experimenting with stuffed vegetarian kibbi, utilizing greens, pomegranate molasses, nuts, herbs., etc.

It is a popular dish in the Levant, sometimes considered the national dish of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. It is also a common food in North Africa, Turkey, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of the Caucasus, such as Armenia and Georgia. Like hummus, everyone’s mom does it best.

In its most common form, it consists of minced meat mixed with bulgur and spices, stuffed inside a bulgur crust. The shape, size and ingredients vary between different types of kibbeh and between the recipes traditional in different areas. Recipes can include pine nuts, and green herbs, among other things. It can be baked, fried, boiled, stuffed, or served raw. The mix of spices changes as does the composition of the crust. Kubbat Halab is an Iraqi version made with a rice crust, though apparently not originating in the Syrian city of Halab (Aleppo) as its name suggests. Kubbat Mosul is another Iraqi version originally from Mosul where a bulgur crust is used, but the shape is flat and round, like a disc. Finally, Kubbat Shorwa is an Assyrian-Iraqi version where kibbeh is mixed in a stew, usually cooked with tomato sauce and spices.

It is traditionally served with a tahina dip which is made with sesame seed paste.

Besides being found in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern restaurants world-wide, it has also become a popular dish in South America, where it was introduced by Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants.

Information sources: (link no longer works)

Printable Recipe

Serves 8

This is adapted from a recipe in the excellent book "Lebanese Cuisine" by Madelain Farah.

I have tried other potato kibbi recipes, but this one is absolutely the best! Good hot or at room temperature, plain, or with vegan Taheena Sauce.

1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat (#2 or medium-fine)
2 tsp salt
1 Tbs chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried) (NOTE: mint or cilantro or oregano can also be used)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 small onion, grated
4 medium (4 oz. each) potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), cooked tender, then peeled and mashed (NOTE: To peel the hot cooked potatoes, hold under running cold water and the skin will peel off easily.)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup oil (I used olive oil), divided

Rinse the dry bulgur in cold water, squeeze, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 20 minutes.

Work seasonings with grated onion and add the mashed potatoes, mixing well. Add the bulgur and knead into soft dough. Moisten hands in cold water while kneading to prevent sticking. ( If mixture doesn't stick together, add 1/4 cup of flour-- but I didn't have to add any.)

Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a 9" square baking pan (spray the sides with oil). Cover with 1/3 cup of the oil.

Place the potato mixture evenly on top of the onions, smooth down, and cut into diamond shapes about 1/2" deep. Pour the remaining oil on top and bake at 400° until golden brown - about 50-60 minutes.

Let cool until you can handle it and cut the diamond shapes all the way down.

Use above recipe omitting oil and sliced onions. Form the mixture into patties and fry in 1/2" of oil or place on a well-oiled pan and bake.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
315.8 calories; 51% calories from fat; 18.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 478.5mg sodium; 381.5mg potassium; 35.4g carbohydrates; 6.4g fiber; 2.3g sugar; 29.0g net carbs; 4.7g protein; 7.1 points.



Anonymous said...

forgive me but: stuffed inside a bulgur?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Sorry--typo! It now reads "bulgur crust".

Kumudha said...

Great blog for vegans!

I have a big list of recipes to try from your blog!

Celia said...

I'm going to have to try that recipe this week. I've been looking for a good non-meat version. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

I've made a version with bulgur, minced mushroom and onion, but never potato! I've got to try grandmother made the traditional type all the time, and I miss her. Between dolmades and this...yum.

veganmum said...

Bryanna, I just had to try this today, and it is fabulous! I could have eaten the whole pan myself. Thanks so much for sharing it.

spiceislandvegan said...

Yum, I will have to try it. Your seitan kebab from last newsletter is amazing! I had made it twice as Turkish Shish Kebab. Then, I made more for Indian stew and am thinking to put it in an Asian curry.

Your taheena sauce was great with your Turkish Shish Kebab. I am sure it will be delicious with thie Potato Kib'beh.


Anonymous said...

It looks amazing. Do you think that if I cut down on the oil a bit it would change the end result too much ?

BTW, your name is all over my last post ;-) Thank you xox

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I saw that, Gaia! Hope you enjoyed everything!

About the kibbeh, I am going to try cutting back a bit next time I make it, but carefully. Other versions I tried that were drier were not as good. I will report on it-- let me know how it turns out if you do! (But perhaps try it the original way first, so you know what you are aiming for!)

Anonymous said...

Oooh! I love kibbeh. We get it all the time here in Dearborn and it's so good. Sometimes there is stuffed kibbeh too, a layer of onion, mushroom, and carrots on the bottom, so yummy. I can't wait to try this recipe.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

erica, is the stuffed kibbeh baked or fried? Is it potato and bulgur based as well? Just curious!

Anonymous said...

Me again :p
Thanks for you recommendation, I'll do just that.

I don't understand the bit about the bulgur, though. "Rinse with cold water and squeeze." Is that cooked bulgur ? Because I can't picture squeezing uncooked bulgur. Would rinsing uncooked bulgur and letting it rest 20 minutes sort of "fluff" it ?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Gaia, it's raw bulgur, and it doesn't really fluff up, but it moistens. Bulgur (as you probably know, but others might not) is precooked and then dried whole wheat kernels that are then cracked, so they aren't really "raw". I guess the liquid in the potato is enough for this dish-- anyway, it works!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bryanna !

Anonymous said...

Bryanna - I believe it's a potato and bulgar mixture. I've had it both ways, baked and fried. My favorite though is the baked version with all the veggies on the bottom and crispy on top. I think they may pre-bake it then maybe even give it a quick fry for the crispy top.

Nupur said...

Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! We enjoyed it very much for dinner last night. It is truly a keeper.

foodie298. said...

Do you have a recipe for Tomato Kibbeh? we get it at middle eastern restaurants in Dearborn and greater Detroit Michigan but can not find a recipe... it has Bulger and Tomato and chopped Scallion and I believe green pepper along with some middle astern spice...

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

foodie298, would it look something like this?

This is a recipe I made for the Field Roast cookbook I'm working on.

I have quite a few Middle eastern cookbooks and have never seen the term "tomato Kibbeh"-- I'd be glad to try it!

Okay, I googled it, and here's a vegetarian recipe for tomato mkibbeh! Looks good:

Does this sound like it?

Anonymous said...

just discoverd ur wonderful blog.. one question the time the dish bakes I imagine that the onions on bottom are caramelized/dark right?..thanks in advance.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, the onions aren't dark, but they are soft and sweet.

Anonymous said...

i just made the dish as per the recipe,expect i used mint as mom did not basil..but my onions were dark and sweet..some of them abit burnt..what am i doing wrong...its was delisious,so aromatic,,but the carmelized onions overpowered a bit

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, perhaps your oven is too hot. The onions should not be dark, just soft and sweet.

Anonymous said...

i will lower the temp..maybe my oven runs hot..thank you....some poeple in the Levant(lebanon,syria,jordan,palestine) add soaked /skinned/halved par cooked chikpeas to this as well..

Anonymous said...

should i use a bit heftier baking dish like pyrex or just lower temp..thank you in advance

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Anonymous said...

This is a real winner! It really warms the soul. Awesomely simple recipe. Love how it turned out. Thanks for posting!