You can’t go to the eastern Mediterranean without trying the classic kibbeh, the meat and bulgur balls and patties. Both the Lebanese and the Syrians claim kibbeh as their own, and there are many versions – grilled, fried and baked – all delicious and all part of everyday culinary life
How to make kibbeh
Tip the bulgur into a bowl and pour in just enough boiling water to cover it. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave the bulgur for up to 20 minutes to swell.
Put the lamb into a food processor and blend to a paste. Turn it into a bowl and add the onions, spices and parsley, with the salt and lots of pepper. Squeeze any excess water from the bulgur and add it to the lamb mix. Use your hands to mix everything together and knead well. Process the mixture again and return it to the bowl for further kneading.
With wet hands, divide the mixture into small balls and flatten each one in the palm of your hand.
Heat enough oil for frying in a shallow pan and cook the patties in batches, about 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Drain the kibbeh on kitchen paper as you cook them, and then serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Extracted from The Lebanese Cookbook by Ghillie Basan, published by Lorenz Books, ISBN 9780754834694, £20
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