This article is about the Middle Eastern dish. For the type of Ethiopian and Eritrean butter, see Niter kibbeh.

Kibbeh or kibbe (also kubbeh, kebbah or kubbi) (Arabic: كبة‎) is an Levantine dish[1] made of bulghur, minced onions and ground red meat, usually beef, lamb, goat or camel. The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb. Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked or cooked in broth.[2] Kibbeh is considered to be the national dish of Lebanon. [3]

Kibbeh is a popular dish in Levantine cuisine. Very popular in Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.[4] It is also found in Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt (where it is called kebbah or koubeiba), Cyprus (where it is called koupes), the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey (where it is called içli köfte), and several Latin American nations which received part of the Lebanese and Syrian diaspora during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico.


The Arabic word kubbah means "ball".[5] Various transliterations of the name are used in different countries: in English, kibbe and kibbeh and in Latin America, quibe, kibe, or quipe (Argentina). Other names for the dish derive either from the Persian word کوفته kofteh (literally "ground [meat]"), such as the Turkish içli köfte, and the Armenian իշլի քյուֆթա išli k’yuft’a; or from the Arabic word كُتْلَة kutla ("chunk"), as the Kurdish name kutilk, and the Levantine Northeastern Neo-Aramaic כותילה kutele.[6]


One variety of kibbeh is a 7-to-15-cm oblong bulghur shell shaped like an American football, stuffed with a filling of spiced, minced lamb and fried until brown. British soldiers in the Middle East during the Second World War used to call these kibbeh "Syrian torpedoes".[7] It is similar in concept to the Sicilian arancini.

In Levantine cuisine, a variety of dishes made with bulghur and minced lamb are called kibbeh. The northern Syrian city of Aleppo (Halab) is famous for having more than 17 different types.[8] These include kibbeh prepared with sumac (kәbbe sәmmāʔiyye), yogurt (kәbbe labaniyye), quince (kәbbe safarjaliyye), lemon juice (kәbbe ḥāmḍa), pomegranate sauce, cherry sauce, and other varieties, such as the "disk" kibbeh (kәbbe ʔrāṣ), the "plate" kibbeh (kәbbe bәṣfīḥa or kәbbe bṣēniyye) and the raw kibbeh (kәbbe nayye).

Kubbat Halab is an Iraqi version of kibbeh made with a rice crust and named after Aleppo. Kubbat Mosul, also Iraqi, is flat and round like a disc. Kubbat Shorba is an Iraqi-Kurdish version made as a stew, usually with tomato sauce and spices.[9] It is often accompanied by arak and various salads. Kibbeh is sometimes served with a tahini dip. Brazilians, though, tend to add shoyu (Japanese fermented soy sauce), aside sometimes raw garlic, worcester or red chilli pepper sauces, directly from their bottles.

Fried, torpedo-shaped kibbehs have become popular in Haiti, Dominican Republic[10] and South America – where they are known as quipe or quibe – after they were introduced by Levantine immigrants.

Kibbeh nayyeh is a raw lamb dish frequently served as part of a meze in Syria and Lebanon, garnished with mint leaves and olive oil, and served with green peppers, scallions and pita.

Kibbeh can also be a mixture of chopped meat (lamb or beef), burghul (burghul wheat), onion, mint and spices pressed into a flat baking pan. Then it is scored with a knife into diamond shapes about one or two inches in length, topped with pine nuts (snobutt) or almond slivers and butter, then baked in the oven until done. Alternatively this dish may consist of two layers of meat/wheat mixture baked with a ground meat/green pepper/onion/pine nut mix (hushwi) in between, known as kubbi siniyee.

In Israel, Kubbeh matfuniya and kubbeh hamusta are staples of Iraqi-Jewish cooking.[11] Kubbeh soup, served in many oriental grill restaurants in Israel, is described as a rich broth with meat-stuffed dumplings and vegetables.[12]

A Syrian soup known as kubbi kishk consists of kubbi "torpedoes" or "footballs" in a yogurt (kishk) and butter broth with stewed cabbage leaves.

See also


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