• كبة البطاطا بالصينية •
A dish with a diverse multitude of preparations and ingredients, kibbeh is a mainstay of Middle Eastern cuisine. My version of Baked Potato Kibbeh is an easy, hearty, and savory entrée you’ll want to make again and again.
Kibbeh, also called kubbeh, is a popular Middle Eastern dish, especially well liked in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Its ingredients often vary widely from country to country and even city to city, but it typically consists of bulgur (cracked) wheat, onions, and a binding element. Regrettably, the most frequently used binder is ground up animals, but fortunately, vegetables are also commonly used.
Potatoes, pumpkin, and zucchini all make delicious kibbeh. I’ve also posted a delicious Sweet Potato Kibbeh. Some cooks even make it with fruit! Kibbeh safarjaliyyeh, or quince kibbeh, is popular in Syria. In fact, the Syrian city of Aleppo alone claims 17 different versions of kibbeh! Transcending boundaries, it has even made it’s way into the cuisines of many Latin American countries, where waves of immigrants from the Levant introduced the dish in the early 20th century.
And as varied as the ingredients are, so are the preparation methods. Stuffed or unstuffed, deep-fried and torpedo-shaped, pan-fried patties, boiled dumplings, and pressed into a pan and baked are all popular ways to make various kinds of kibbeh. One of the easiest methods is the baked version, kibbeh bil-saniyyeh (“kibbeh in a pan”). Simply press the mixture over sliced onions in a pan and bake until the top is golden and crisp and the onions at the bottom are sweet and caramelized.
I absolutely love making and eating this dish. This Baked Potato Kibbeh is probably the easiest for a beginner to master. Make the optional stuffing or leave it unstuffed—either way, you’ll end up with an utterly delicious entrée. Keep an eye open for more of my plant-based kibbeh recipes in the future, as I hope to surpass the city of Aleppo in its esteemed kibbeh distinction! 🙂
- 2.5lbs (or a little over 1kg) of potatoes
- 1¼ cups fine bulgur wheat (sometimes labeled as #1)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- black pepper (I like at least ¼ teaspoon)
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- pinch of cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cups of chopped greens, sautéed with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes (spinach, swiss chard, kale, and bok choy are all great)
- ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts
- First you'll want to cook the potatoes. I prefer baking them, but you can also boil them. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the bulgur wheat by soaking it in lukewarm water for 20 minutes, then drain it in a sieve and let all excess water drip away.
- Prepare your baking pan by adding 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and arranging the sliced onion pieces in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Mash the potatoes with a masher or rice them until smooth. Combine them and the bulgur in a very large bowl with the grated onion, salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and parsley. You'll want to thoroughly combine everything together, so the best way, and indeed the most traditional method, is to use your hands. Squish and squeeze the bulgur into the potatoes, onions, and spices until you have a uniform mixture. This only takes about a minute. It should be soft and workable. If it's too crumbly, add a few tablespoons of water.
- You'll now want to press this mixture evenly over the sliced onions in the pan. The best way to do this is to roughly divide the mixture into fourths and place each quarter over each quadrant of the pan. This ensures that you don't overuse or underuse the mixture on some sections of the pan. (See the picture above for a visual explanation)
- Use a little water on your hands to flatten and smooth the surface of the kibbeh then use a knife to score diamond shapes (or any pattern you like) into it, going almost all the way through. Evenly pour the ¼ cup of olive oil over the entire surface of the kibbeh and bake for 40-50 minutes or until it is golden brown. If after this time it doesn't brown sufficiently, stick it under the broiler for a few minutes. (This is preferable to baking it longer and drying it out too much) Remove from oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool down slightly. Use a spatula remove pieces of the kibbeh, making sure you scrape up the delicious caramelized onions on the bottom.
-If you choose to boil your potatoes instead of baking, peel and quarter them and start them in cool water and bring it to a boil. Once they are just tender, but not falling apart, drain them and put them back in the hot pot to dry off some excess water.
-If you want to make the optional stuffed version (like the kibbeh in the round pan in the pictures above), spread half of the potato/bulgur mixture over the onions, then spread the sautéed greens and pine nuts over it, and finally spread the remaining half of the potato/bulgur mix over that. Score the top and bake as usual.
-You can make this into a gluten-free kibbeh! Use 3 cups of cooked quinoa instead of the bulgur wheat.
Check out my Sweet Potato Kibbeh — just as easy to make but with a nice twist in flavor.