Kibbeh (pronounced kee-buh) is a Middle Eastern dish that is also known as Kibe/Quibe, Kipe/Quipe. To be more precise, this is a dish that was brought to the Americas by Arabs in the early 20th century and became most popular in Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
This is a humble dish made with simple ingredients, but many people fear making it, as most think it requires some special super powers. I was one of them and was always hesitant to try them at home. But after trying it myself and confirming it is totally possible for a mortal to make it (Ha!)…. I want to now encourage you to try them at home as well.
Both Brazilians and Dominicans enjoy this tasty treat as a snack, appetizer and party crowd pleaser. In Brazil they are called Kibe/Quibe and are usually accompanied by lime wedges. Dominicans in the other hand call them Kipe/Quipe and prefer to eat them with hot sauce or ketchup.
In my research, this dish didn’t seem to be as popular in other Latin American countries. It is a puzzle to me how even in neighboring countries like Puerto Rico, this Middle Eastern dish was not adopted. Do you know of other Latin American countries that have adopted Kibbeh as their own?
To make delicious and fail proof Latin inspired Kibbeh follow these easy steps:
First prepare the Kibbeh dough per directions at the bottom of this post. Then:
1- Take a handful of the Kibbeh dough and form a ball.
2- With a finger, press down on the center of the ball and wrap it around your hands to turn it into an oval shape with the finger impression to fill with the meat.
3- Fill the pocket with the cooked beef (in the Dominican Republic we also add raisins)
4- Press down the filling until enough dough covers the sides. Close the pocket and roll with both hands to make the popular torpedo shape.
See visuals for each step:
Once you get the handle of making them you will have your very own Kibbeh maker machine in your hands.
Fry them in deep and very hot oil.
Try these other versions as well:
- 1 lb bulgur wheat, coarse shape
- 2 cups of water
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoons allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups spearmint leaves (mint works too)
- 2 pounds cooked ground meat (I like a combination of beef and pork)
- Raisins (optional)
- Enough oil for deep frying
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add the bulgur and let it soak and absorb all of the water and keep cooking stirring every once in a while until the bulgur starts to soften. It does not have to feel fully cooked, your just looking for a softer consistency.
- Once ready, season the bulgur with the salt, black pepper, and allspice.
- Add the seasoned bulgur and spearmint to a food processor to blend well and to obtain a more soft and compact dough. The dough may need a bit of added water to blend well in the processor and you can do so one tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes easy to handle and maintain the shape. You do not want it to be come a soft paste thou so blend it in the food processor a cup at a time.
- Assemble the Kibbeh following these steps and look at the visuals in the post:
- - Take a handful of the kibbeh dough and form a ball.
- - With a finger, press down on the center of the ball and wrap your hands around it to make a oval shape with a finger impression.
- - Fill the pocket with the cooked meat or filling of your choice. Add a few raisins if you like them.
- - Press down the filling until enough dough covers the sides. Close the pocket and roll with both hands to make the popular torpedo shape.
- Once all Kibbeh rolls have been formed fry them in deep hot oil.
- Fry them for about 3-5 minutes until golden brow, but cooked and warm through.