Georgina's Round Kibbeh Recipe
aka "kibbeh Aras"
Round Kibbeh or "Kibbeh Aras" is a spherical ball of kibbeh (a mixture of bulgur and minced meat) encapsulating seasoned goat fat. When served hot off the grill, the fat liquifies and seeps into the kibbeh giving it a delicious, rich flavor. We traveled to Zgharta, Lebanon to learn the recipe from Georgina Bayeh who is famous throughout her hometown for Kibbeh. Try out this amazing traditional Lebanese recipe below!!
Kibbeh Aras ingredients
800 g Fine Bulgar (cracked wheat)
1 kg Minced Meat
.5 kg Goat Fat (in pellets)*
1/2 Bunch of Fresh Mint
1 Small Onion
2 Small Chili Peppers (optional)
1 tsp Seven Spices**
*You might have to ask your butcher if they can put the goat fat through a meat grinder to form the pellets. You can also fill the inside of the kibbeh with anything you like, it does not have to be fat pellets, so have fun and get creative with this delicious Lebanese specialty!
**Seven Spices is a common middle-eastern blend of spices that can be found at most Armenian, Arabic, and Turkish grocery stores.
Items Needed of Note:
two identical small bowls to form the kibbeh
plastic or saran wrap to make sure that the kibbeh does not stick to the bowls,
and a bowl full of cold water to wet your hands.
kibbeh Aras Recipe
1. Combining the bulgar with minced meat
Rinse the bulgar with cold water until the water runs clear. Combine the bulgar and the minced meat until it is evenly dispersed. Set this kibbeh mixture aside.
2. Creating the stuffing.
Dice the onion, mint and peppers very finely. Combine the diced vegetables, 1 tsp of seven spices and the fat pellets in a bowl. Gently mix them around with your hands. Set this mixture aside.
3. Preparing the plastic wrap and bowls
Place a piece of plastic wrap in the interior of the bowl. The piece should be large enough that it hangs well over the bowl. Using your hand, dab your fingers into the water and lightly wet the plastic wrap in the bowl.
4. Form the half-spheres of kibbeh. This step involves molding the raw kibbeh to the inside of the bowl so that a thin layer of kibbeh hugs the interior of the bowl on top of the plastic wrap.
Begin by rolling a clementine-sized ball of kibbeh. Using your hands, press the ball down into a flat disc. Place the flattened kibbeh inside of the plastic wrap that is lining the bowl. Using your 4 fingers, push the kibbeh disc against the bowl and rotate the bowl as you press the meat down. Dab your hand in the water every so often to keep the kibbeh moist and malleable.
*Make sure to leave an overhang of kibbeh at the edge of the bowl (see pictures below). Repeat this step to create another identical half-sphere of kibbeh.
Her son Anthony
5. Encapsulating the seasoned fat pellets within the two half-spheres of kibbeh.
Inside one of the half-spheres of kibbeh, place a handful of seasoned fat pellets. Next, align the two bowls together so that their edges meet in perfect unison. Press the two bowls together tightly, encapsulating the fat pellets inside. Once the two edges of the bowls meet with pressure, slightly twist until the overhanging kibbeh breaks off where the two bowls have come together. Pull off any remaining overhanging kibbeh. At this point, you should easily be able to pull the glass bowls and saran wrap away from the kibbeh, leaving you with the perfect spherical ball of kibbeh aras. To ensure that the two spherical halves are firmly affixed, add a dab of water to forefinger and lightly rub along the line that connects both half spheres. Repeat Steps 1-5 until all of your ingredients run out.
Made with Love Tip: If it is your first time making kibbeh aras, try a test run with forming the spherical kibbeh balls. For this trial, you do not need to fill the inside with fat, since it’s just to see if your kibbeh has the right consistency. If the kibbeh does not stick together when forming the spheres because it is too dry then you will need to add a couple teaspoons of water or more meat to make the kibbeh stickier. If the kibbeh sticks to the interior of the glass bowl but does not hold it’s own form or deflates when you pull the two half-spheres away from each other, then your kibbeh is too wet and you will need to add more bulgar and begin again.
Grilling the Kibbeh Aras:
Place the kibbeh aras on a grill to the side of a flame. Cover the Kibbeh and let the cook for 4-5 minutes, before flipping them over to grill on the other side for 3-4 minutes (also covered). You will know the kibbeh is ready to eat when its surface becomes golden and dense. Another tell-tale sign is to shake the spherical kibbeh ball next to your ear, if you can hear the liquid fat splash up against the interior wall then they are ready to eat, but if you hear the hard pellets patter against the edge then they still need a few minutes of grilling.
Enjoying the Kibbeh Aras:
As any Lebanese can tell you, the best way to enjoy Kibbeh Aras is to crack open the spherical ball while it is still piping hot and to dip the other half into the rich and delicious seasoned fat. Zahtan!! Enjoy!!!