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Kibbeh: Lebanese bulgur and lamb patties

Ghillie Basan / 25 November 2020

There are many versions of these bulgur and lamb patties, or kibbeh, eaten in eastern Mediterranean countries.

Lebanese bulgur and lamb patties (kibbeh)
Lebanese bulgur and lamb patties (kibbeh) are frequently eaten in Lebanon and Syria

Preparation time

30 minutes

Cooking time

15 minutes




  • 225g/8oz bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 450g/1lb lean lamb, cut into small chunks
  • 2 onions, grated
  • 5–10ml/1–2 tsp ground allspice
  • 5–10ml/1–2 tsp ground paprika
  • 10ml/2 tsp ground cumin
  • A small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 5–10ml/1–2 tsp sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


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

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Visit our sections for Middle Eastern recipes and Mediterranean recipes


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