The Best Vegan Kibbeh Recipe (video)
Kibbeh is one of those Levantine dishes when craved you want it now. I have vivid memories of my belated grandmother sitting in the courtyard with a huge stone pestle and mortar (JIRN). She would pound the meat to where it’s like butter, then slowly add the bulger while pounding along. This was almost a day’s job by the time the kibbeh made it to the table.
Kibbeh is formed and cooked in many ways. The traditional shape for fried kibbeh or kibbeh labanieh (cooked in yogurt) is that of an American football ball shape, but far smaller. It also comes flat or rolled in a swirl and baked in the oven (kibbeh bil saynieh). The texture of kibbeh changes depending on what the dough consists of. The traditional dough is made from bulgur (cracked wheat), meat and onions and the filling from fried spiced meat. Having been asked by many for a the perfect vegetarian recipe, I wanted to veer from the usual potato or rice kibbeh, so I ran a test kitchen over the course of one full day to achieve the perfect vegan kibbeh in shape, texture and flavour. I was extremely thrilled with the end result which, I have to confess, prefer over the meat kibbeh.
I have tried to simplify the method of making it by forming patties rather than the traditional shape in order for everyone to give it a go with successful results. The beauty of kibbeh is that you can freeze it for later use, and deep-fry it frozen. In this video I made fried kibbeh which marries well with a warm bowl of lentil soup, mutabal or hummus. I encourage you to think outside the box and make your variations of filling.
Servings: 28 patties
For the dough:
- 2 cups fine bulgar
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons salt, Himalayan
- 1/4 cup potato starch
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups onions, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 1 teaspoon 7 spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- For the dough, place all the ingredients but the potato flour in a pot and cook over low heat for 10 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the bulger is cooked but not too dry. Cover and set aside until it cools down.
- Meanwhile, for the filling, heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and sauté the onions until softened. This would take about 5 to 8 minutes. Grind the walnuts in a processor to the size of rice grains. Add the walnuts and filling seasoning to the onions and stir for 1 minute, then set aside until it cools. Then add the pomegranate seeds.
- Once the bulger mix has cooled down, mix in the potato starch. Place in a food processor and pulse until you get a sticky dough when compressed. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and add very little water to bring it together and form a soft pliable mix with no cracks.
- Have a small bowl of water handy next to you. Wet the palms of your hands and take a golf size piece of the dough and form a ball (if it is too dry and cracks wet the palms again and knead it in your hand. Make a hole in the middle of the ball with the index finger and try to create a cup thinning the walls as you turn the ball in the palm of your hand. Add 1 tablespoon of the filling and seal the opening, then gently press the pattie between your hands in order to form a disc. If you see any cracks on the surface just seal them by wetting the finger and brushing over the cracks.
- Make sure as you make the discs to keep them under a wet cheese cloth or towel to avoid any dryness which causes cracks.
- Deep fry the patties in vegetable oil at 180 C until golden and serve immediately.
- To freeze, simply place the patties on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen, put them in a sealed plastic bag.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 84 Calories; 4g Fat (39.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 194mg Sodium.