Kibbeh
Overview
 
Kibbeh or kibbe is an Arab dish
Arab cuisine
Arab cuisine is defined as the various regional cuisines spanning the Arab World, from Morocco and Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, and incorporating Levantine, Egyptian .-History:...

 made of bulgur
Bulgur
Bulgur is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. In the United States it is most often made from white wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Bulgaria...

 or rice and chopped meat. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette
Croquette
A croquette is a small fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes, and/or ground meat , shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in...

 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 a popular dish in Levantine cuisine
Levantine cuisine
Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad ash-Sham. This region shared many culinary traditions under the Ottoman Empire which continue to be influential today...

. It is widespread in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 (where it is called koubeiba), Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the Palestinian Territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

, the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, and several Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n nations which received part of the Syrian
Syrian diaspora
Syrian diaspora refers to the native Syrian people, living outside of Syria, as either immigrants or refugees. The Syrian diaspora constitute a mix of a wide range of ethnicities and religions, primarily Christians, even though in Syria itself the majority of nationals belong to the Sunni Arab...

 and Lebanese diaspora
Lebanese diaspora
Lebanese diaspora refers to Lebanese migrants and their descendants who by choice or coercion emigrated from Lebanon and now reside in other countries....

 during the early 20th century, such as Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico.
The Arabic word kubbah means "ball".
Encyclopedia
Kibbeh or kibbe is an Arab dish
Arab cuisine
Arab cuisine is defined as the various regional cuisines spanning the Arab World, from Morocco and Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, and incorporating Levantine, Egyptian .-History:...

 made of bulgur
Bulgur
Bulgur is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. In the United States it is most often made from white wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Bulgaria...

 or rice and chopped meat. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette
Croquette
A croquette is a small fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes, and/or ground meat , shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in...

 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 a popular dish in Levantine cuisine
Levantine cuisine
Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad ash-Sham. This region shared many culinary traditions under the Ottoman Empire which continue to be influential today...

. It is widespread in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 (where it is called koubeiba), Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the Palestinian Territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

, the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, and several Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n nations which received part of the Syrian
Syrian diaspora
Syrian diaspora refers to the native Syrian people, living outside of Syria, as either immigrants or refugees. The Syrian diaspora constitute a mix of a wide range of ethnicities and religions, primarily Christians, even though in Syria itself the majority of nationals belong to the Sunni Arab...

 and Lebanese diaspora
Lebanese diaspora
Lebanese diaspora refers to Lebanese migrants and their descendants who by choice or coercion emigrated from Lebanon and now reside in other countries....

 during the early 20th century, such as Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico.

Etymology

The Arabic word kubbah means "ball". Various transliteration
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

s of the name are used in different countries: in English, kibbe and kibbeh and in Latin America, quibe, kibe, or quipe (Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

).
Other names for the dish derive either from the Persian word کوفته kofteh (literally "ground [meat]"), such as the Turkish içli köfte, and the Armenian իշլի քյուֆթա išli k’yuft’a;
or from the Arabic word كُتْلَة kutla ("chunk"), as the Kurdish name kutilk, and the Jewish Northeastern Neo-Aramaic
Northeastern Neo-Aramaic
Northeastern Neo-Aramaic is a term used by semiticists to refer to a large variety of Modern Aramaic languages that were once spoken of a large region stretching from the plain of Urmia, in northwestern Iran, to the plain of Mosul, in northern Iraq.As of the 1990s, the NENA group had an estimated...

 כותילה kutele.

Variations

Kibbeh is probably best known as a 7-to-15-cm oblong bulgur
Bulgur
Bulgur is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. In the United States it is most often made from white wheat. Its use is most common in Middle Eastern cuisine, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Bulgaria...

 shell shaped like an American football, 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, a variety of dishes made with bulgur and minced lamb are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types. These include kibbeh prepared with sumac
Sumac
Sumac is any one of approximately 250 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. Sumacs grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in Africa and North America....

 (kәbbe sәmmāʔiyye), yogurt (kәbbe labaniyye), quince
Quince
The quince , or Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia and native to warm-temperate southwest Asia in the Caucasus region...

 (kәbbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (kәbbe ḥāmḍa), pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 sauce, cherry
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

 sauce, and other varieties, such as the "disk kibbeh (kәbbe ʔrāṣ), the plate kibbeh (kәbbe bәṣfīḥa or kәbbe bṣēniyye) and the raw kibbeh (kәbbe nayye).

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. Steak tartare
Steak tartare
Steak tartare is a meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw beef. Tartare can also be made by thinly slicing a high grade of meat such as strip steak, marinating it in wine or other spirits, spicing it to taste, and then chilling it...

 is popular in Lebanon. It is often accompanied by arak and various salads. Kibbeh is sometimes served with a sesame seed tahina
Tahini
Tahini or sesame paste , is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. North African, Greek and West Asian tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds. The Arabic word tahin simply means flour.Tahini is a major component of hummus and...

 dip.

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

Kibbeh nayyeh (also kibbee, kubba, kebbeh, kebbi, kubbi, Arabic كبة نية or كبة نيئة) is frequently served as part of a meze
Meze
Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean and Middle East as dinner or lunch, with or without drinks. In Levantine cuisines and in the Caucasus region, meze is served at the beginning of all large-scale meals....

in Lebanon, garnished with mint leaves and olive oil, and served raw with green peppers, scallions and pita.

Kibbeh can also be a mixture of chopped meat (lamb or beef), burghul (bulgar wheat), 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 (snobutt) or almond slivers and butter, then baked in the oven until done. Alternatively this dish may consist of two layers of meat/wheat mixture baked with a ground meat/green pepper/onion/pine nut mix (hushwi) in between, known as Kubbi siniyee.

Kibbeh is the national dish of both Syria and Lebanon.

Kubbeh matfuniya and kubbeh hamusta are staples of Iraqi-Jewish cooking in Israel. Kubbeh soup, served in many oriental grill restaurants in Israel, is described as a rich broth with meat-stuffed dumplings and vegetables. A Syrian soup known as kubbi kishk consists of kubbi "torpedos" or "footballs" in a yogurt (kishk) and butter broth with stewed cabbage leaves.

Kibbeh can also be eaten raw; raw kibbeh nayyeh is mostly made of lamb meat.

See also

  • Middle Eastern cuisine
    Middle Eastern cuisine
    Middle-Eastern cuisine, West Asian cuisine, or in some place in the United States, Persian-Mediterranean cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East . The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity...

    • Arab cuisine
      Arab cuisine
      Arab cuisine is defined as the various regional cuisines spanning the Arab World, from Morocco and Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, and incorporating Levantine, Egyptian .-History:...

    • Egyptian cuisine
      Egyptian cuisine
      Egyptian cuisine consists of the local culinary traditions of Egypt. Egyptian cuisine makes heavy use of legumes and vegetables, as Egypt's rich Nile Valley and Delta produce large quantities of high-quality crops.- History and characteristics :...

    • Iraqi cuisine
      Iraqi cuisine
      Iraqi cuisine or Mesopotamian cuisine has a long history going back some 10,000 years - to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. Tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals - the first cookbooks in the world...

    • Israeli cuisine
      Israeli cuisine
      Israeli cuisine comprises local dishes by Jews native to Israel and dishes brought to Israel by Jews from the Diaspora. Since before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and particularly since the late 1970s, an Israeli Jewish fusion cuisine has developed.Israeli cuisine has adopted,...

    • Lebanese cuisine
      Lebanese cuisine
      Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of starches, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast and goat meat in the mountain regions...

    • Palestinian cuisine
      Palestinian cuisine
      Palestinian cuisine consists of foods from or commonly eaten by Palestinians — which includes those living in the Palestinian territories, Israel, refugee camps in nearby countries as well as by the Palestinian Diaspora...

    • Syrian cuisine
    • Cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews
      Cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews
      The cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews is an assortment of cooking traditions that developed among the Jews of The Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Arab countries. Mizrahi Jews have also been known as Oriental Jews . Jews of the Mizrahi communities cook foods that were and are popular in their home...

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