In The Media

The versatile taste of Kibbeh – Lebanon Traveler

Kebbeh, considered one of the national dishes of Lebanon, is an old and representative dish of all Near Eastern countries. The Food Heritage Foundation’s Zeinab Jeambey takes us on a journey to discover its regional adaptations in villages across Lebanon.

Check out the full article in Lebanon Traveler magazine.

Kebbeh: Lebanon Traveler

Kebbit El Arous – Bride’s kebbeh

“Kebbeh of the bride” beautifully presented at a wedding Henna party in Baalbeck

Kebbit El Arous” or Kebbeh of the bride is a traditional Lebanese cuisine mezze (appetizer), part of the special wedding rituals in the region of Baalbeck, northern Bekaa. This type of Kebbeh is served to guests attending the “Henna party” at the bride’s house one night before the wedding day.

Serving: 25

Preparation Time: 1 hour


1 kg of fine bulgur

2 kg of ground lean beef

2 tbsp. of table salt

1 tbsp. of Kebbeh spices (kammouneh spices)

1 tbsp. of cumin

1.5 of water

250 ml of extra virgin olive oil

1 kg of onions

2 tbsp. of paprika

2 tbsp. of dry basil

Preparation steps:

  1. Wash the fine bulgur thoroughly and then soak in a small amount of water (enough to make it wet) for 15 minutes
  2. Use a manual or electrical grinding machine to grind the onions. Or you can just grate them
  3. Mix the with salt, kebbeh spices, cumin, paprika and basil
  4. Add the ground lean beef to the mixture of onion and spices and use your hands to mix them very well for 5 minutes
  5. Add bulgur and mix again for another 5 minutes
  6. Add olive oil to the mixture and then make round balls equal to the size of a peach
  7. Reshape the balls into elongated pieces while inserting your fingers in the middle of the ball
  8. Serve with plenty of vegetables such as mint, cucumber, green sweet pepper, cabbage and tomatoes

Lentil and fennel kebbeh (kebbit aadas b shoumar)

Fennel kebbeh ready to be cooked

This recipe from the northern village of Endket (Akkar) is a vegetarian type of kebbeh usually prepared during lent season. Lentil and fennel kebbeh can be fried or boiled in salty water. The boiled kebbeh is either served with oil and garlic sauce or with fried julienne onions.

Serving: 4

Caloric content: 250 calories / serving


For the dough:

½ cup of fine bulgur, soaked in water for 30mns

1 cup of flour

1 medium onion, shredded

½ tsp of salt

½ tsp of pepper

¼ tsp of hot pepper (optional)

1 tsp of orange zest

½ tsp of dried marjoram

For the filling:

1 medium onion, chopped in julienne and fried

½ cup of small red lentil, cooked

1 cup of fennel, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation method:

  1. Combine all the kebbeh ingredients to obtain dough. Add a little bit of water to avoid stickiness
  2. In a skillet, add the filling ingredients and cook on medium fire for a couple of minutes
  3. Form small dough balls to make the kebbeh
  4. Hold the kebbeh in one hand and with the index of the other hand, make a whole in it while turning the kebbeh and pressing it against the palm of your hand to widen it. Make sure your hands are wet so that the kebbeh doesn’t stick
  5. With a spoon, stuff the kebbeh with the lentil and fennel mixture
  6. Close the kebbeh and cook for 2 minutes in boiling water to which 1 tbsp. of salt was added
  7. Make sure not to boil for long to avoid breaking of the kebbeh
  8. Serve the kebbeh with a sauce of garlic and olive oil.
  9. You can deep fry the kebbeh in vegetable oil if you like it crispy


Eat Local

Lebanese kebbeh in all its shapes and tastes

Grilled potato kebbeh

Kebbeh, considered one of the national dishes of Lebanon, is an old and representative dish of all Near Eastern countries. Food heritage expert Zeinab Jeambey takes us on a journey this time to discover the regional adaptations of kebbeh in villages across Lebanon.

Gubibate, a dish made with cracked wheat and meat, is one of the many delicacies that once adorned the table of the King of Assyria in 9th century BC; the ancestor of what is now known as kebbeh.

Kebbeh’s main and constant ingredient is bulgur, cracked parboiled wheat. The most common type of kebbeh is made by kneading finely minced meat with bulgur and shaping it into balls or patties, with or without meat stuffing.

In Lebanon, one of the most famous meat kebbeh is Kebbeh Zghirtawiyyeh (from the village of Zgharta, North of Lebanon), a meat kebbeh that is shaped in a glass bowl to obtain an oval-shaped kebbeh, stuffed with minced sheep fat and baked over charcoal.

Kebbeh comes in many shapes and forms, be it balls or patties, and can be mixed with many different ingredients that give the kebbeh dish its descriptive name.

From tomato kebbeh to frakeh – the aromas of South Lebanon

Both tomato kebbeh and frakeh are based on kammouneh, an aromatic green looking bulgur, obtained by mixing fine bulgur in a food processor with basil, marjoram, mint leaves, parsley, dried rose buds, orange rind, black pepper seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon and dried hot chilies. Kammouneh is widely known in the South of Lebanon.

Tomato kebbeh promoted by the Food Heritage Foundation during the Garden Show 2014

Tomato kibbeh, also known as tomato kammouneh, consists of kammouneh kneaded with diced raw tomatoes and dished out on a plate with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Frakeh, another southern delicacy, is made of very finely ground raw meat mixed with kammouneh, formed into oval shaped balls and offered as an appetizer before meals.

*Order tomato kebbeh at Salim el Ashkar guesthouse and Table d’Hôte (03 354558, Khraybet el Shouf) and frakeh at Restaurant Abu Naim (01 750480, Hamra street, Beirut)

From kebbeh summakiyeh to boiled pumpkin kebbeh – the colors of the Bekaa Valley

Kebbeh summakiyeh, prepared the northern Bekaa way, is made of flour and bulgur wheat kneaded to form a dough. It is then formed into balls, stuffed with potatoes, onions and spices, and boiled in sumac water. Earthy colors are reflected in the dish as white kebbeh balls turn pink upon boiling with purple sumac water.

Baked pumpkin kebbeh

In the West Bekaa, although pumpkin kebbeh (kebbit lakteen) is known as a vegetarian dish prepared during lent before Easter, it can also be stuffed with labneh and kawarma, and boiled in a light keshek soup. For many Lebanese, the light orange balls of kebbeh floating in a milky soup, is the ultimate comfort food for a cold fall or winter day.

Pumpkin kebbeh served in kishk soup at Lina’s Table d’hôte on darb el karam, West Bekaa © The Recipe Hunters

*Try kibbeh summakiyeh at the women’s coop in Hermel, led by Khadijeh Chahine (71 579547) and pumpkin kebbeh boiled in kishk at Lina Haddad’s Table d’Hôte (70 671399, Khirbet Qanafar)

Kebbeh summakiyeh 

From kebbeh arnabiyyeh to kibbet samak: the flavors of the coast

Ingredients found along Lebanon’s coastal areas, namely fish and citrus fruits, make up kebbeh arnabiyyeh and kibbet samak. Kebbeh arnabieh, also known as kebbeh bel tahini. Meat kebbeh balls are cooked in a sauce made by mixing tahini (sesame paste) with up to seven citrus juices, including different types of orange, tangerine, mandarin and lemon. The resulting dish is nothing less than majestic, combining both earthy and citrusy flavors that marry perfectly with kebbeh balls.

Equally succulent is kebbet samak or fish kebbeh, a delicate dish, but definitely worth the cooking time. Well-refrigerated fish, preferably grouper, is de-skinned and deboned. Mixed with fine bulgur, coriander, orange rind and spices, the patty is either formed into balls or spread in a pan, stuffed with lots of stir-fried onions and nuts and then either baked or deep fried.

 *Try kebbeh arnabiyeh at Socrate (01 846646, Sidani Street, Ras Beirut) and kebbet samak at Aal Baher restaurant (09 541116, Byblos) or at Al Fanar (07 741111, Tyre)

This article was published in Lebanon Traveler magazine 


Baked pumpkin kebbeh – Kebbit Lakteen bil Siniyeh

Baked pumpkin kebbeh

Kebbit lakteen” is a vegetarian and version of kebbeh. It can be stuffed with seasonal greens along with the basic stuffing ingredients such as chickpeas, walnut and onions. If shaping the kebbeh into balls is hard for you, opt for this pan-baked version easier to prepare and of course healthier!

Total Servings: 5

Preparation Time: 1 hour


500 g of pumpkin, cooked, strained and mashed
2 cups of bulgur
1 tbsp. of all-purpose flour

1 ½ cup of onion, chopped in julienne
½ cup of chickpeas, cooked, peeled and drained

2 cups of green leafy vegetables (chicory or spinach), boiled and strained
½ cup of walnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ cup of sour pomegranate seeds
3 tbsp. of sumac
olive oil
Salt, pepper, all-spice to taste

Preparation method:


  1. In a mixing bowl, add the mashed pumpkin, the bulgur, spices and flour
  2. Mix and knead well. You may need to add more flour if the pumpkin is still wet. Add flour until the dough is not sticky anymore


  1. In a pan, sauté the onions until soft and transparent using the olive oil
  2. Add the chickpeas, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, spices and the greens and simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Set aside
Cover the first layer of dough with enough stuffing

Preparing the kebbeh

  1. Grease an oven pan with olive oil and spread half of the dough into an evenly thick layer
  2. Cover evenly with the filling
  3. Sprinkle the sumac on all the surface
  4. Pat the rest of the kebbeh dough over the filling into an even layer
  5. With a knife, make decorative patterns on the kebbeh 
  6. Grease the surface of the kebbeh with olive oil
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and serve warm or cold with a salad on the side



Kebbeh Arnabieh


Kebbe Arnabieh is one of Beirut’s renowned recipes, usually prepared in winter, during the Bousfeir season. Nonetheless, this recipe contains a “cocktail” of citrus juices enriching its taste. It consists of hollow kebbe balls boiled in a tahini sauce, and can be served with rice on the side.

Total Servings: 4


500g Tahini

3 cups of orange juice

1 cup of afandeh juice (mandarin)

1 cup of Bousfeir juice (Seville orange)

1 cup of lemon juice

2 cups of water

2 medium onions chopped in julienne

1 cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight

2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to fry the onions

Salt and white pepper to taste

Hollow Kebbeh balls (frozen or freshly prepared)

Preparation Steps:

  1. Boil the chickpeas for 30 mns, drain and put aside
  2. In a large pan, stir fry the onions with vegetable oil
  3. Once the onions turn gold, add the chickpeas
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the tahini with the citrus juices until the texture become homogenous
  5. Add the tahini mixture to the onions and chickpeas to cook on medium fire, and stirring with a wooden spoon until the oil breaks at the surface
  6. Once the mixture starts to boil, add the kebbeh to cook for 10 mns (15 mns if the kebbeh is frozen)
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Serve hot with rice pilaf on the side



Kebbeh sumakiyeh

kebbe sumakiyeh.2

Kebbeh sumakiyeh is a vegetarian type of kebbeh, one of the too many kinds prepared with the simple ingredients of flour, bulgur and salt. What makes this veggie kebbeh  special is the sour sauce that accompanies it and which is constituted of cooked lentils and potatoes and sumac which gives it its name.

Preparation time:  2 hours

Total servings: 10



1 kg of fine bulgur

½ kg of flour

1 tsp of salt

5 cups of water


1.5 kg of potatoes, finely chopped

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 tsp of dried mint

1 tsp of 7 spices

1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil


1 cup of green lentils, rinsed

2 medium potatoes, chopped in cubes

1 Tbsp. of sumac

1 liter of water

Preparation steps:


  1. In a large bowl, soak the burgul in 1 cup of water with 1 tsp of salt for about 20 mns, and then add the flour while sieving it over the bowl
  2. Mix well until you get a dough texture, add water as much as needed until the dough stops sticking on your hands.
  3. Knead the dough and leave aside to prepare the stuffing
Frying the chopped onions and potatoes
Frying the chopped onions and potatoes


  1. In a saucepan, fry the chopped onions in the vegetable oil and let simmer on low fire for 10 minutes
  2. Add the potato, dried mint, salt and 7 spices and stir until well cooked
The kebbeh balls ready to be cooked
The kebbeh balls ready to be cooked in the sauce

Make the kebbeh:

  1. With the kebbeh dough, form balls the size of a golf ball. Hold the ball in one hand and with the index of your other hand make a whole it the ball. Widen the hole by turning the kebbehand pressing its inside walls gently against your palm. Make sure the kebbeh is uniformly thin.
  2. Moisturize your hands in cold water as you work to avoid the kebbeh from sticking to hour hands and to give it a smooth finish
  3. Fill the kebbehwith the stuffing and close it. Make an oval shape with 2 pointed ends.

Prepare the sauce

  1. Cook the lentils in 1 liter of water then add the potatoes and sumac and let boil

 Cooking the kebbeh

  1. Boil the kebbehballs in the sauce
  2. When the kebbeh floats to the surface, move it to the serving plate

Serving the kebbeh sumakiyeh

The kebbeh balls are served hot in individual plates with the sauce

Serve the kebbeh with a little sauce
Serve the kebbeh with a little sauce

Vegan chard kebbeh

Vegan chard kebbeh is a vegetarian Armenian kebbeh that is traditionally prepared during the lent season. It is a particular kind of kebbeh as it is boiled in salty water instead of being fried and it contains semolina and bulgur together. Vegan chard kebbeh can be served either with a hot dip sauce or with yogurt.

Vegan chard kebbeh served with a hot dip sauce
Vegan chard kebbeh served with a hot dip sauce

Preparation Time: 1 hour



1 cup of fine burgul

¾ cup of semolina

1 tsp of grounded hot chili




1 cup of swiss chard leaves, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tsp of tomato paste

½ tsp of hot chili paste

1 tsp of vegetable oil

1 tsp of pepper



Spicy dip sauce

1 tbsp. of hot chili paste

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced


1 tsp of cumin

Preparation method:


In a large bowl, mix the burgul, semolina, grounded hot chili and salt with 1 cup of water. Knead well and put aside


  1. In a saucepan, add the chopped onions to the vegetable oil and let simmer on low fire for 10 minutes
  2. Add the tomato and hot chili paste, the cumin, pepper and the chopped swiss chard and stir while cooking

Make the kebbeh:

  1. Form balls the size of a golf ball. Hold the meat ball in one hand and with the index of your other hand make a whole it the ball. Widen the hole by turning the kebbeh and pressing its inside walls gently against your palm. Make sure the kebbeh is uniformly thin.
  2. Moisturize your hands in cold water as you work to avoid the kebbeh from sticking to hour hands and to give it a smooth finish
  3. Fill the kebbeh with the stuffing and close it. Make an oval shape with 2 pointed ends.

Cook the kebbeh:

  1. In a large cooking pot, add water with salt and bring to boil
  2. When the water starts boiling, add in the kebbeh balls
  3. When the kebbeh is well cooked when it floats to the water surface

Make the dip sauce:

  1. Mix the hot chili paste, minced garlic, salt, cumin and olive oil

Serve the Kebbeh with the sauce on the side


Moon-shaped almond kebbeh

Moon-shaped kebbeh
Moon-shaped kebbeh served with a bowl of soup

Moon-shaped almond kebbeh is a specialty from Latakia – Syria (Lazkye).  It is usually served with a home-made spicy sauce as an appetizer or even a main dish.

Total serving: 35 pieces

Preparation time: 1 hour



½ kg of burgul

½ kg of grounded kebbeh beef meat

2 tbsp. of kebbeh spices

1 tsp of salt


½ kg of soft meat, finely minced

½ kg of onions, finely chopped

200 g of raw almonds

4 tbsp. of vegetable oil

½ tsp of salt

1 tsp of 7 spices

Spicy sauce

1 tbsp. of hot chili paste (debes flayfle harra)

1 tsp of all-purpose flour

1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

Preparation method


  1. Clean the burgul under running cold water then soak in water for 10 minutes
  2. Drain the burgul and leave aside to dry
  3. In a food processor, grind the burgul with ½ kg of the kebbeh meat, the kebbeh spices and 1 tsp of salt until you get a dough-like consistency
Making thin disks
Making thin disks of kebbeh dough

Spicy sauce

In a small bowl, mix the hot chili paste (or tabasco) with the flour and olive oil


  1. Fry the chopped onions in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil until golden
  2. Add the minced meat, ½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of 7 spices and stir until the meat is well cooked
  3. In a separate pan, fry the almonds in vegetable oil until golden
  4. Strain the almonds from extra oil and add them to the filling

Make the kebbeh:

  1. Shape the kebbeh into balls, the size of a golf ball. Moisturize your hands with cold water as you work with the kebbeh to avoid sticking to the hand
  2. Knead each ball to obtain a thin disk shape dough (you can use a plate to press the ball
  3. Fill each disk with two teaspoons of the filling, and then close the dough forming a moon shape. Press the tips to avoid opening of the kebbeh while baking
  4. Grease a baking tray with vegetable oil and place the moon-shaped kebbeh. Brush each moon with the spicy sauce
  5. Bake the kebbeh in the oven for 15 min on 180 degrees
  6. Serve hot with cold yogurt on the side or a fresh salad
Placing the kebbeh in a baking pan
Placing the kebbeh in a baking pan

Kishk Soup or “Kheshkiye”

kebbe b kishk

Kishk soup is a nutritious soup consumed especially during winter. The soup can be served as a side with baked meat kebbeh. Alternatively, raw or oven baked kebbeh balls can be placed in the boiling kishk soup till they are well cooked. For a lighter and healthier version of this recipe, substitute kawarma with lean cow meat.

Total Servings: 6

Preparation time: 45 minutes


1 cup of kishk powder
2 tbsp. of qawarma (cow or goat meat preserved in sheep fat)
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1 small potato, finely diced (optional)
5 cups of water

Preparation Steps:

  1. Put the qawarma in a pot on the oven fire and stir slowly
  2. Add the chopped garlic and the diced potato
  3. Stir well on low heat until the potatoes are cooked well
  4. Add the kishk to the mixture in the pot
  5. Stir for 2 minutes and add the water
  6. Cook over low heat until the soup starts boiling
  7. Serve hot