Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Kibbeh or kibbe is a Levantine Arab dish made of burgul (crushed wheat) or rice and chopped meat. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb. Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked or cooked in broth.

Kibbeh is one of the most characteristic foods of Levantine cuisine. It is widespread in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus (where it is called koupes or koubes), Egypt (where it is called koubeiba), the Arabian Peninsula, Armenia, Israel and several Latin American nations which received part of the Syrian and Lebanese diaspora during the early 20th Century, such as Brazil,Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras or Mexico.

Kibbeh is probably best known as a 7 to 15 cm-long torpedo-shaped bulgur shell stuffed with a filling of spiced minced lamb and fried until brown. British soldiers in the Middle East during the Second World War used to call these kibbeh "Syrian torpedoes".

In Levantine cuisine, there are a variety of dishes made with bulgur and minced lamb that are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types of kibbeh.

Kubbat Halab is an Iraqi version of kibbeh made with a rice crust and named after Aleppo. Kubbat Mosul, also Iraqi, is flat and round like a disc. Kubbat Shorba is an Iraqi-kurdish version made as a stew, usually with tomato sauce and spices. Raw kibbeh (Kibbe nayye), a meat and bulgur mix served raw like steak tartare is popular in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq. It is often accompanied by arak and various salads. Kibbeh is sometimes served with a sesame seed tahina dip.

Fried, torpedo-shaped kibbehs have become popular in Haiti, Dominican Republic and South America - where they are known as quipe - after they were introduced by Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants.

Kibbeh nayyeh is frequently served as part of a meze in Lebanon, garnished with mint leaves and olive oil, and served raw with green peppers, scallions and pita.

Kibbe can also be a mixture of chopped meat (lamb or beef), burghul, onion, mint and spices pressed into a flat baking pan. Then it is scored with a knife into diamond shapes about one or two inches in length, topped with pine nuts or almond slivers and butter, then baked in the oven until done.

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