Kibbeh with Bulgar and Ground Beef or Lamb

KibbehAdapted from Amazing Grains by Ghillie James
Serves 5
Kibbeh can be prepared earlier in the day and stored in the fridge until cooking


  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 14 ounces ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 good pinches all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • sunflower or peanut oil, for frying


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • a good pinch cayenne
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 good pinches cinnamon
  • a good pinch allspice
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins, roughly chopped
  • 4 1/2 oz ground beef or lamb, finely ground
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Tahini Dressing

  • 4 teaspoons tahini paste
  • 1 small lemon squeezed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons water, or more as needed
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  1. Rinse the bulgur wheat three times, then transfer to a bowl and pour over 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover and leave while you prepare the stuffing.
  2. For the stuffing, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion gently for 8 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the pine nuts and stir over medium-high heat for a minute or so before adding the garlic, spices, golden raisins and lamb and stir-frying until the lamb has browned.
  4. Season and turn off the heat, then stir in the cilantro leaves. Drain the bulgur wheat thoroughly and transfer to a bowl.
  5. In a processor, pulse the remaining meat, onion, and spices together with some more seasoning until combined.
  6. Mix into the bulgur, using your hands, as if you are kneading dough.
  7. Take a golf ball-sized amount of the bulgur mix in your wet hands and flatten into your palm.
  8. Place a teaspoon or so of the stuffing mixture into the center and then, with a little more bulgur mix, enclose the stuffing and form into a small lemon shape. Place onto a plate while you make about 12–14 more.
  9. Chill for 20 minutes, or longer if you want to make them in advance.
  10. When you are ready to cook the kibbeh, heat 1–2in or so of oil in a deep frying pan. When sizzling hot but not smoking hot, add half the kibbeh and fry for 7–10 minutes or until they are deep brown all over.
  11. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the next batch.
  12. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender.  Add water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

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