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Kibbeh (Arabic: كبة‎), also kubba and other spellings, is a Levantine dish[1] made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice).

Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked, cooked in broth, or served raw.[2] Kibbeh is considered to be the national dish of many Middle Eastern countries.[3]

Kibbeh is a popular dish in Middle Eastern cuisine.[4][5][6][7] Mainly, it is found in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt (kobeiba), Iraq, as well as Armenia (kuefteh), Iran, Israel, Cyprus (koupes) and in Turkey it is called içli köfte.[citation needed]

It is also found throughout Latin American countries that received substantial numbers of immigrants from the Levant during the late 19th and early 20th centuries,[8][failed verification] as well as parts of North America.[9]


The word is derived from the Classical Arabic kubbah (kibbeh in North Levantine Arabic), which means "ball".[10] Various transliterations of the name are used in different countries: in English, kibbe and kibbeh.


In Levantine cuisine, a variety of dishes made with bulghur (cracked wheat) and minced lamb are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types.[11] These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (kibbe sumāqiyye), yogurt (kibbe labaniyye), quince (kibbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (kibbe ḥāmḍa), pomegranate sauce, cherry sauce, and other varieties, such as the "disk" kibbeh (kibbe arāṣ), the "plate" kibbeh (kibbe biṣfīḥa or kibbe bṣēniyye) and the raw kibbeh (kibbeh nayyeh).

Kibbeh nayyeh is a raw dish made from a mixture of bulghur, very finely minced lamb or beef similar to steak tartare, and Middle Eastern spices, served on a platter, frequently as part of a meze in Lebanon and Syria, garnished with mint leaves and olive oil, and served with green onions or scallions, green hot peppers, and pita/pocket bread or markouk bread.

Kubba Mosul from Iraq is flat and round like a disc.[5] Kubba halab is an Iraqi version of kibbeh created with a rice crust and named after the largest city in Syria, Aleppo. Kubbat Shorba is an Iraqi-Kurdish version prepared as a stew, commonly made with tomato sauce and spices. It is often served with arak and various salads.[citation needed]

A Syrian soup known as kubbi kishk consists of kubbi "torpedoes" or "footballs" in a yogurt (kishk) and butter broth with stewed cabbage leaves. Another soup, known as kibbeh hamda, consists of a chicken stock with vegetables (usually leeks, celery, turnips and courgettes), lemon juice and garlic, with small kibbeh made with ground rice as dumplings.[12][page needed] In the Syrian Jewish diaspora this is popular both at Pesach and as the pre-fast meal on the day before Yom Kippur.[13]

On Colombia's Caribbean coast, the most local variations of the dish use ground beef instead of lamb, but the original recipe, or one with mixture of beef and lamb, can be found served by the large Middle Eastern population of the zone. The dish has acquired almost vernacular presence and is frequently served in social occasions at both Arab and non-Arab households. When served as an adopted local dish, it is offered often as a starter along with other regional delicacies, including empanadas, tequeños and carimañolas.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Annia Ciezadlo (2012). Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. p. 361. ISBN 1-4391-5753-7.
  2. ^ "Contemporary kubbeh". Retrieved 13 November 2017.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ " – Best Travel Deals". Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Middle Eastern Recipes". Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b Davidson; et al. (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 244, 444–445. ISBN 978-0191040726.
  6. ^ Howell, Sally (2000). Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 9780814328125 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Helou, Anissa (4 October 2018). Feast: Food of the Islamic World. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781526605566 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Burghul meatballs with hot sauce (quibe)". Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Kibbe at the Crossroads: A Lebanese Kitchen Story". Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  10. ^ Maan Z. Madina, Arabic-English Dictionary of the Modern Literary Language, 1973
  11. ^ "NPR web: Food Lovers Discover The Joys Of Aleppo".
  12. ^ Claudia Roden, A Book of Middle Eastern Food
  13. ^ Poopa Dweck (2011). Aromas of Aleppo. Harper Collins. p. 97. ISBN 9780062042644.
  14. ^ Cepeda, María Elena. Musical imagiNation : U.S.-Colombian identity and the Latin music boom. ISBN 9780814772904. OCLC 967261642.