The combination of bulgur wheat, lamb and spices, sandwiching ground lamb, onions, spices and pine nuts is essentially how this baked kibbeh is constructed.
There are several forms of kibbeh, this particular version being made in a pan and baked in the oven.
Usually served with a squeeze of lemon and yogurt this is a very popular meal in the countries of the Fertile Crescent.
The other popular version of this food is the fried kibbeh.
Essentially the same ingredients, but made into a small ball shape and fried.
The fried version is a very common addition to any mezza.
I will be sharing the recipe for fried kibbeh very soon.
I had some fried kibbeh yesterday when we stopped by a local restaurant in downtown Amman.
The restaurant is called Zajal and is a place where locals go for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and to enjoy a shisha.
We had the mixed grill which consisted of lamb kofta, chicken kofta, shish kebab, shish taouk, lamb cutlets, onions, and fresh pita bread.
I’d recommend a visit to this restaurant for an authentic taste of Amman.
The menu has more than just Arabic food but I would stick to the Arabic food that is on there, and the grilled meats in particular.
Zajal in Arabic is a form of poetry known for its semi improvised style, which I can see as an appropriate name, especially for a place that does grilled meats so well.
Made the same way on the searing fire of the grill each piece of meat remains unique and turns out a little bit different from every other piece that came before it.
Kind of like a semi improvised colloquial poem, in a long and revered tradition.
One of my favorite ingredients is the ‘snobar’ the pine nuts, which bring all the tastes together and provides a whole lot of flavor of its own.
The sad thing is that the pine nuts are beginning to disappear from a lot of dishes in Jordan, for the simple fact that they are becoming prohibitively expensive.
One of the reasons for this price rise is that pine nuts are difficult to cultivate.
It takes fifteen to twenty years for trees to begin to produce nuts.
Pine nuts take about eighteen months to mature, and then are difficult to remove from the cones they grow in.
This all contributes to the high prices that pine nuts command.
Often almond slivers are substituted in many dishes that require pine nuts.
Roasted almond slivers can be very tasty indeed, but they are no alternative to the wonderful pine nut.
Give this dish a try, you will not be disappointed.
It’s different, and satisfying, appetizing, and full flavored; it is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Impress your friends with something new and distinctive, something delicious and memorable.
Serve with a salad, some yogurt, and a wedge of lemon.
- 1½ cup Fine Bulgur
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Seven Spices
- ½ tsp Cumin
- 250 grams Lamb ground
- Olive Oil for brushing
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup Pine Nuts
- 2 Onions diced
- 500 grams Lamb ground
- 1 tsp Seven Spices
- 1 tsp Salt
- Put the bulgur in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for fifteen minutes and then drain and squeeze out any extra water.
- Mix the onion with the spices and salt in a food processor and add one tablespoon of water. Process until finely chopped.
- Add the lamb and process until just combined.
- Add the bulgur, and combine until the mixture resembles dough.
- Remove and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the onions for the filling with the spices and salt in a pan with the olive oil and fry until done.
- Toast the pine nuts and add to the meat mixture.
- Split the dough into two equal halves.
- Using your hands spread one half of the dough in a 12x8 pan. Use water to wet your hands if necessary.
- Top with the filling.
- Cover the filling with the other half of the dough.
- With a knife cut through the top layer creating diamond shapes.
- Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.