From Dubai – Lebanese Meze, Kibbeh Nayeh
I was first introduced to this dish many years ago at a Lebanese restaurant in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles called Alcazar. It quickly became a meal I craved. I would alter my schedule to create a chance to get back to the Valley to have it.
Ever since then, Lebanese food has been my favorite food above any other cuisine on the planet. Hands down, without question!
Lebanese restaurants are few and far between in Los Angeles and I needed to use every effort so I could indulge in this meal. While I was in Dubai, I was so happy to see that Lebanese restaurants were seemingly on every corner and I was able to indulge in this dish on a daily basis.
Kibbeh nayeh is a traditional Lebanese meze (small dish). It’s like a steak tartare made from very lean meat from a leg of lamb, with all tendons and fat removed, finely minced with onions, fresh herbs (mint, basil, parsley) and salt. Traditionally, it’s made by pounding the meat in a stone mortar until it is a smooth, almost like a creamy-looking paté, but modern Lebanese cooks often use an electric grinder or even a food processor. Spices—black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cumin—are also added and a handful of bulgur (burghul) is kneaded in. It’s served garnished with slivered scallions, pine nuts and a dribble of olive oil, along with romaine leaves and/or wedges of toasted pita bread to scoop it up. Top it with a sprig of mint for an added flavor. To be really decadent, quarter a raw onion and peel slices of the onion back to use as a scooper into the kibbeh to create a real tear jerker of a meal. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it!
Here is one way to prepare it:
Juice of 2 large lemons
1 cup 100% Whole Grain Quick Cooking Bulgur Wheat, 28 oz.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Simply Organic Organic Cumin ( 1×2.31 OZ)
2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Method: Soak bulgur wheat in lemon juice for 1 hour to soften then drain.
In a blender, blend all ingredients together until into a smooth paste, then leave in refrigerator for 2-3 of hours to cure.
Serve dip drizzled with olive oil and garnish with mint leaves, serve with pita bread or raw onions.
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