kebbeh bil sayniye
Kebbeh is a popular dish in the Middle Eastern cuisine. This Lebanese dish is one of my favorites, when I was young I used to watch my mom and dad pound the meat with their hands using "mda2a w jeren". It was very hard and required a big effort for them to transfer a regular piece of meat into a paste but now all you need is a food processor to do it which makes the kebbeh paste ready in few minutes. It is made of two layers of kebbeh and the stuffing in the middle. Imagine all these ingredients in addition of all the spices and the herbs in one taste. Once you have your first bite you can't stop and you will always crave for this distinctive and delicious dish.
Prep. time: 50 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
600 g lean ground beef
2 and a half a cup fine burghul or fine cracked wheat
1 medium onion
1 and a half tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 leaves green mint or dried mint
1 tsp marjoram
2 tbsp oil for the pan
400 g ground beef
2 large onion chopped
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp salt
1 tsp seven spices or ( 1/2 tsp allspice/ 1/4 nutmeg and a dash of each cinnamon, cloves and black pepper)
2 tsp pomegranate molasses if desired
Directions: first wash the burghul in water, drain well, squeeze from water and set aside. At the mean time you can prepare the stuffing: in a pan heat the oil, add the pine nuts using medium heat until it gets golden then add the chopped onions. Stir fry until it gets light golden, then add the ground beef and keep frying until the meat is done. add the salt, the spices the pomegranate molasses and mix all the ingredients together then set aside. I remember, if my kids were home, they would always love to taste the stuffing.
Kebbeh: Put the onion, green mint, marjoram, salt and allspice in the processor then blend them very well. Add the burghul and meat mixing all the ingredients while adding cold water until it becomes like a paste. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Now grease the pan with oil, divide the kebbeh into 2 parts and start patting the first part to cover the bottom of the pan, having a small bowl of cold water handy to wet your hand while patting which makes it easier and smoother. Now spread the stuffing all over the first layer. For the top part: I have an easy trick for you guys to pat the top part quickly (pat it between 2 flat kitchen plastic sheets using the rolling pin to flatten the kebbeh paste then flip it over the pan and fix it with your hand) you might need to add kebbeh near the edge for it to become a smooth layer. Cut it into pieces, sometimes I cut it into triangle or diamond shape as you desire and decorate it with a knife as shown i the images. Pour 2 tbsp of oil on the top, it takes 30 to 35 min from the bottom and few mins from top. (or until fully cooked).
How to prepare the kebbeh balls:
You can divide the kebbeh into round balls the size of a large walnut (around 2 tbs of the dough). Moisten your hands while preparing it, having a small bowl of cold water handy. Hold the ball in the palm of your left hand, wet the tip of your index and start making a hole in the kebbeh ball by cupping your palm around it and turning until shaped ovally as shown in this image. Fill it inside with a tbsp of the same filling, close it gently all around with your hands until sealed and you have its head and bottom shaped pointedly without breaking the outer layer of the kebbeh. It should be deep fried but I personally prefer it baked in the oven, using an oil greased pan. Heat the oven from top, put the rack in middle and bake it until well done from both sides, it takes around 15 to 20 mins and it is as good and much lighter. It is actually served as an appetizer ( mezza) in our Lebanese cuisine. I also prepare the kebbeh balls cooked with yogurt and rice, this dish's name is kebbeh bi labniyeh and I have the recipe on my website.
I hope you guys give the recipe of kebbeh bil sayniyeh a try, I remember my kids when they were young they used to eat it as a sandwich with a glass of Ayran. You can serve it with salad as a side dish or yogurt salad with salt, a bit of water and a bit of garlic adding to it a tsp of dried mint and slices of cucumbers.
Nothing beats a kibbeh w laban afternoon
To foreigners, this dish might seem like a strange concept. I remember back in 2011, after I first moved to Norway, I decided to host a Lebanese dinner. After hours of consulting with Mama over skype on what to cook, Kibbeh found itself on the menu. End result wasn't even close to what I was used to eating all my life of course, but what came of it is probably the funniest comment I've ever received to a dish I've made:
- "So wait a minute, this dish is meat, in between two layers of meat dough? Like a meat pie but entirely made of meat."
- "Ummm.. yes, that is correct" I said with a loud laugh!
There was no way to justify it. It just rocks, and you have to accept it!
A sandwich of this with a glass of airan on the side on a warm summer day, now that's what I call an after-school meal for a starving boy!