Kebbe or lebanese meat balls

I have been enjoying the Lebanese food a lot lately, this is what happens every time I visit my hometown, I always want to make the recipes I enjoyed eating there. Kebbe meat balls is a Levantine dish consisting of bulgur and chopped meat. It is widespread in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey.... and served as a part of the hot mezze. 

The most common form of kebbe consists of a meatball with an outer layer of ground meat and bulgur and an inner stuffing of sauteed ground meat, onion and pinenuts. Kebbe can also be baked in a tray, like a meat pie, it's called kebbe bel sayniyyeh which means kebbe in a tray . 
These balls are pretty simple to make though they do require a bit of time. They actually turned out delicious and we quite enjoyed eating them with a hummus and eggplant dip!! 

For the kebbe: 
1 to 1½ lb (500 to 700g) ground beef 
2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat) 
1 onion 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp cumin 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Wash burghul under running water then soak in water for about 10 minutes. Drain then press to remove moisture as much as possible.
Mash onion in the food processor then add minced meat in batches. Remove and place aside.
Mix meat mixture with burghul, salt, spices. Process well in batches into a firm paste.
Knead mixture with wet hands into a smooth paste. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes covered with a piece of wet texture.

For the filling: 
1/3 pound (150g) ground beef 
1 onion 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
a handful of fried pine nuts 
1 tbsp sumac

Fry chopped onion with a dash of salt in oil until transparent. Add minced meat, salt and spices to onions and fry until cooked. Mix in pine nuts. Put filling aside.

Divide paste into egg sized balls. Dip your hands in cold water then roll each ball between the palms of your hands until smooth. Make a hole in the middle with your forefinger. Work finger round in the hole until you have a shell of even thickness. Fill hole with filling mixture and close opening.

Moisten with cold water to seal well and to shape with two pointed sides. If any breaks appear in shell, close with wet fingers. Place balls on a tray. Bake them in the oven at 350ºF (180ºC) for 20 mn or heat oil in a pan then fry till brown evenly and cooked.

Kebbés ou boulettes libanaises

Pour le kebbé: 
500 à 700 g de viande de mouton 
2 verres de boulghour 
1 oignon 
1 càc de cumin en poudre 
1/4 càc de poivre 
1/4 càc de cannelle en poudre

Rincez le boulghour, trempez-le dans de l'eau environ 30 mn, pressez-le à la main pour se débarrasser de son eau.
Hachez l'oignon au robot, ajoutez la viande. Mixez et réservez.
Mélangez au robot la viande et l'oignon avec le boulghour, le sel, le poivre, le cumin et la cannelle afin d'obtenir une pâte homogène. Malaxez bien et conservez au frigo pendant une demie heure et couvrez d'un torchon humide.

Pour la farce: 
150 g de viande de mouton 
1 oignon 
1 càs d'huile d'olive 
1/4 càc de cannelle 
une poignée de pignons de pin grillés 
1 càs de sumac

Hachez finement les oignons et faites les rissoler avec les pignons de pin dans de l'huile végetale. Ajoutez la viande hachée et faites rissoler en remuant sans cesse. Saupoudrez de sel, de poivre, de sumac et de cannelle. Réservez.

Prendre le kebbé, en faire à l'aide du doigt de petites boulettes ovales creuses aux parois minces, les farcir et en colmatez l'orifice.
Passez les au four à 180ºC pour 20 mn. Vous pouvez aussi chauffer de l'huile à feu doux et les faire rissoler.


  1. Ah! Funny how going back home you are reminded of the great dishes! Your kibbes looks great and now I feel like making some too!

  2. What a wonderful dish. Simple and perfect all in one. Have a great weekend.

  3. Your kibbe looks delicious, and I would love it with hummus.

  4. Looks very delicious. Beautiful shapes too. love them.

  5. Perfect kebbe! That is a speciality I adore. Yummy!



  6. Cherine, Your blog, your recipes, and your photos are absolutely fantastic. (I am so glad you visited my blog, because that's what led me to yours!) My family loves Middle Eastern food, and the foods you make are so beautifully presented here. I look forward to trying some of your recipes. Just glancing through the main page of your blog, I see so many that look just delicious. Can't wait to do more exploring here!

    :) Jane

  7. Je découvre ton blog grâce à Arlette.
    J'adore les kebbes mais je n'ai pas encore essayé de les faire sous cette forme-là.
    Je reviendrai.
    A bientôt.

  8. Si je maitrisais complètement l'anglais je reviendrais souvent ici !
    je n'ai pas vu de traducteur anglais-français installé sur ton blog ?
    J'avais envie de voir les recettes libanaises .... et d'autres !

  9. Cherine, these are beautiful and perfectly prepared. They'll be a big hit with my family. You have a lovely blog and I'll be back often to see what your latest creation is. Blessings...Mary

  10. Marhaba Cherine

    Great Kibbee, awesome photos.
    I made today kibbee bil sayniyeh and fried some to do the kibbee karnabieh

  11. OUI ! je suis revenue après avoir lu ton gentil mail !
    En français c'est bien mieux pour moi !
    merci et je reviendrai !

  12. The golden outer surface looks delicious! I love the shape of them too.

  13. These sound delicious, I love a touch of cinnamon in savory dishes! :)

  14. There are so many treats here to savour.

  15. This looks fabulous! I am so glad I discovered your blog!!

  16. I love love this dish! I have tried the Turkish version and it was great! I guess the Lebanese is close. Thanks so much for the recipe. A must try, one day.

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