What? You are curious to know why I am labeling these puppies as Caribbean’s? Well, you are right. It can be confusing, as bulgur is mainly a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine but, thankfully Middle Eastern immigrants, way back in the day, brought this special ancient grain to warm Caribbean shores.
In many Latin American countries, countless of dishes are made with bulgur. One of my favorite is called kipe / quipe. It’s a recipe that originated from the Lebanese Kibbeh, but that many probably ignore this fact because we simply have made bulgur and recipes like kipe, our own. One of the ways we have Caribbeanized (I totally made up that word, but I hope you get what I mean) this recipe is by using our traditional basic seasonings and flavors like oregano, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and onions. This recipe does not call for nuts or spices like the traditional kibbeh, but I asure you it is quite good and full of Caribbean essence.
To make it start by prepping the bulgur so it’s ready for cooking.
I am using Bob’s Red Mill bulgur Wheat, which has been parboiled, dried, toasted and cracked. I love it because it can be reconstituted with hot water in a matter of minutes. Want to learn how else you could use this powerhouse grain? Visit Bob’s Red Mill website and watch an informative video by Bob on bulgur. Or get their bulgur recipes here.
Then, season the meat with the essential Latin Caribbean seasonings. For the meat, I am using beef, but it could be pork, chicken, turkey or any other ground meat you’d like. You’ll use part of the meat as a filling, and the other as a binding ingredient mixed with the bulgur itself.
Once you have these two key elements ready, you can start assembling the little bites.
I am using small, bite-size balls as the shape but traditionally kipe is shaped as an oval, like I did here. Once all your little balls are made, bake them and be ready to enjoy!
I am serving mine with a cool cilantro cream as appetizers, but they can be added to saladas, or dipped in any sauce you’d like. Although not traditional I like them with a drizzle of siracha for some heat.
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill bulgur wheat
- 2 cups of water, boiling
- 1½ pound uncooked ground beef
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Pre-soak bulgur by placing it in a bowl with boiling water for an hour.
- The bulgur will soak all the liquid and almost double in size.
- While the bulgur is soaking you can season the meat. To do so add, salt, garlic, black pepper, oregano, onion and bell pepper to the ground beef.
- Once the bulgur has pre-soaked, add half of the ground beef mixture and combine the two very well and set aside.
- In a sauté pan heat olive oil and cook the other half of the ground beef, once it's brown and almost done add the tomato paste and cook for 5 more minutes until the paste is well mixed and all the liquid has evaporated.
- Taste the meat and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Once cooked, place in a bowl and wait until meat has cooled down before assembling.
- To assemble the balls follow these instructions and reference the visuals above.
- Form a small ball with the raw beef and bulgur mixture.
- Poke the ball with your fingers and form a hole.
- Fill with cooked beef.
- Close the hole with the help of your hands.
- Once all the little balls have been formed, place them on a baking sheet and bake on a preheated oven at 400 F degrees, for 30 minutes.
Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign but as always all of opinions and ideas are 100% my own.