— Watch Shane Delia and friends showcase their favorite dishes from the Middle East in A Middle East Feast, Thursdays 8.00pm on SBS Food and streaming free on SBS On Demand. —
“Kibbeh is one of those dishes that everyone loves … whether you’re Middle Eastern or Chinese or Australian, everybody that eats kibbeh is like, ‘Wow, this thing’s amazing’,” says Shane Delia.
In A Middle East Feast, Delia makes fried lamb, burghul and baharat kibbeh with a lamb and pine nut filling – and confesses he’s just a little bit nervous. That’s because in the kitchen with him are two great Lebanese cooks, Melbourne’s Joseph Abboud and Linda Jones, and kibbeh are often said to be Lebanon’s national dish.
For both, the memories of kibbeh stretch back many years. “One of my earliest photos of me being a child was with kibbeh in my hand,” Jones recalls.
Delia’s kibbeh are the classic torpedo-shaped lamb and burghul (dried cracked wheat) snack, but kibbeh comes in many guises. There are raw versions (kibbeh nayeh), vegetarian takes, and also kibbeh baked in a tray and sliced to serve.
For anyone who’s never made kibbeh, or those looking to branch out, we’ve rounded up some favourites. There’s a kibbeh here for everyone.
Shane Delia’s lamb kibbeh
The outer layer of Delia’s crunchy kibbeh is flavored wth onion and baharat (a Lebanese spice blend, also known as seven spice); the filling is a combination of lamb mince, cumin seeds, shallot, garlic, pine nuts and parsley. As he explains in the show part of the key to shaping that classic torpedo is to create a pliable ‘dough’ for the outside, and then shape it with wet hands. Techniques vary (watch Middle East Festival to see how Delia, Jones and Abboud do it) but the aim is to create a cup of fairly thin, even layer so it encases the filling nicely and holds together when cooked.
Lamb and kishk kibbeh
In this version, from his previous show Spice JourneyShane Delia’s kibbeh filling is a full-of-flavour combination that includes garlic, silverbeet, chickpeas, baharat, chopped fresh tomato, mint labna and kishk powder (available from Middle Eastern grocers this is a powder made from fermented burghul, yoghurt and milk ).
Pumpkin kibbeh (kibbet lakteen)
While lamb and burghul is the classic combination, vegetarian versions are also delicious – like this pumpkin version, shared by Judy Saba in Food Safari Earth.
Kibbeh bil sayneeyeh with yogurt dressing
The classic combination of spiced lamb and burghul ‘dough’, and spiced lamb filling, also appears as kibbeh bil sayneeyeh -baked kibbeh. Here, the filling sites between two layers of the kibbeh paste. This recipe makes four layered kibbeh, enough to feed a big family.
This is an Egyptian version, an easy but delicious option made with just a few ingredients: onion, beef mince, cracked wheat and pine nuts.
Pumpkin kibbeh nayeh (spiced pumpkin and cracked wheat paste)
Some kibbeh are more like a dip. From Almond Bar’s Sharon Salloum, this is a vegan take on the classic Lebanese and Syrian kibbeh nayeh (raw kibbeh), made here with pumpkin and burghul.
Burghul meatballs with hot sauce (quibe)
The apeal of kibbeh has spread far and wide: Brazilian quibe have their origin in kibbeh, which were introduced to Brazil by Arab migrants in the late 19th century. Here, beef is used and there’s cayenne pepper and chilli living things up, along with the Molho apimentado (hot sauce) made to serve with the quibe.
Want yet more kibbeh? Try the kibbeh recipe collection.
More Middle Eastern faves