View Full Version : Kibbie

Short Stuff
05-01-2004, 06:17 PM
Ok, I love Middle Eastern food, but admit to knowing very little about it. Today I went to a Lebanese deli which offers Kibbie. I have had Kibbie elsewhere that looked like a mound of ground beef/meat, pine nuts, onions and spices ensconsed in a nice ball of dough that was deep fried. Today's menu said their Kibbie consists of the same kind of meat filling in a similar dough with an inner layer of "raw kibbie". The whole thing was baked, not fried. What is the "raw kibbie"? I thought that was the name of the dish? Is it safe to eat raw? I went with the spinach pies for now.

Also, over the years I have come to love cold and hot dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), but have not yet mustered up the courage and energy to try making these at home. I'm assuming my best bet would be to get the grape leaves from my local Middle Eastern market, but are there any tricks of the trade in buying grape leaves? Does one rinse them? I ask b/c the ones I've had always had a ??? taste to them (au de grape leaves??) that made me suspect they weren't rinsed. Does it matter? Also, is there anything I should know about folding them. I am assuming you plop your stuffing towards one end of the leaf and wrap it up like a small, cigar-shaped burrito, but I don't know. Ideas???????

05-01-2004, 10:04 PM
Raw kibbie would be like eating steak tartar...not for the faint of heart. Think of it this way: You have a hunk of meat. As long as the animal itself wasn't comtaminated with bacteria, you would be ok. A steak can only have bacteria only on the surface...unlike ground beef (which is all mixed up allowing bacteria to go everywhere). So if you didn't eat the outside and only ate the inside...no bacteria...in theory. If the restaurant was impeccably clean and you had a great immune system, you could eat raw kibbie with no problem. I would prefer that they grind it themselves...less contamination. There would be few places that I would try that. (Not that I like my meat THAT rare.) I am very particular about where I eat "blue" meat...and I never eat ground meat at restaurants that is not cooked through. I've had food poisoning and its not fun...

As for grape leaves...I've seen jars of them with the olives in the grocery store. I would rinse them...just so they weren't so salty. I'm sure if you had an Middle Eastern Market that their leaves would be better. If you asked them, they may give you some pointers.

05-01-2004, 10:14 PM
OK, take this for what its worth. I married an Armenian and "kibbe" as the Lebanese call it, is referred to as kirfta in my house. I have never seen kirfta "raw" but we do make it as you describe, when it is baked or deep fried.

However, there is a dish known as "che kirfta" (which translated would be "not kirfta" or "un-kirfta" or rheyma (my phonetic version). This is raw meat that is mixed with bulgar, onions, a red paste, and salt. I LOVE this stuff and usually have no qualms about ordering (or making it myself.) It s not however anything like kirfta.

As for the grape leaves, I confess I don't know much except that we always seem to have a jar of them in our refirgerator. I have seen my MIL rinse them so I assume that is what you do. She lets them dry somewhat before filling them. And yes, you basically place a teaspoon or tablespoon of filling in the middle and wrap it up. IMO hoewver, the leaves need some type of sauce once rolled to keep them moist.

05-02-2004, 04:11 AM
My neighbor is Greek and she taught us how to make them. Be sure to cut the tough stem out in addition to rinsing them! I don't know the recipe off the top of my head but I can look for it if you are interested but you may already have a recipe.

05-02-2004, 05:54 AM
There was a CL recipe for dolmas a couple of years ago. VERY good, but VERY, VERY time consuming. I can check the annuals if you would like the recipe.


Short Stuff
05-02-2004, 10:19 AM
Thanks everyone! I have a Middle Eastern cookbook, so I do have a hot and cold dolma recipe, but always love seeing new ones! As for the raw Kibbie I was just trying to make sure there wasn't something else in there! They say they bake their's so I am assuming it would cook sufficiently. I don't know though. I'll probably just try to recreate this at home to be safe!

I you want I can post my recipes for the dolmas too. The book I'm using is Claudia Roden's "The New Book of Middle Eastern Food".

Short Stuff
05-02-2004, 10:36 AM
Decided to read my grape leaves recipe and it states:

Stuffed grape leaves were served at the court of King Khosrow II in Persia in the early 7th century. There are numerous versions today of this delicacy, which is popular in every country throughout the Middle East. Meat is used in the making of hot dolma, and cold dolma are without meat. In Egypt the meatless variety is called "false" or "lying" because there is no meat, but it is the most popular. This is my mother's recipe. It is particulary aromatic. The leaves can be bought preserved in brine, but fresh ones have a better flavor. Only very young, fresh, tender ones picked in the spring will do. They freeze very well raw and wrapped in foil.

If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove the salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them to soak for 20 minutes, then change the water twice, using fresh cold water. If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp and lift them out.

8 oz preserved or fresh grape leaves
1 1/4 c long grain rice
2-3 tomatotes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped, or 4 tbsp finely chopped scallions
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp crushed dried mint
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
salt and pepper
2 tomatotes, sliced (optional)
3-4 cloves garlic
2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1 lemon, or more

Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse under the cold tap and drain. Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallions, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff the grape leaves with this mixture: Place each leaf of a plate, vein side up. Put one heaping teaspoonful of filling in the center of the leaf near the stem end. Fold the stem end up over the filling, then fold both sides towards the middle and roll up like a small cigar. Squeeze lightly in the palm of your hand. Fill the rest of the leaves in the same way. This process will become very easy after you have rolled a few.

Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or leftover, torn or imperfect leaves, occasionally slipping a whole clove of garlic in between them if you like.

Mix the olive oil with 2/3 c water. Add the sugar and lemon juice, and pour the mixture over the stuffed leaves. Put a small plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan, and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, a coffee-cupful at a time, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.

-Add 3 tbsp raisins or currants and 4 tbsp pine nuts to the filling.
-Mix 1/4 tsp powdered saffron or turmeric with the olive oil and water before pouring over the stuffed grape leaves.
-Soak about 1/4 c. dried chickpeas in water overnight. Then crush them in a mortar and add them to the filling. In this case use 1/4 c less rice. You may also use drained canned chickpeas.

Kathy B
05-02-2004, 03:30 PM
The easiest way to make stuffed grape leaves is to find a Middle Eastern MIL and ask her if she will make you some! :D ;) :p

05-02-2004, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by Kathy B
The easiest way to make stuffed grape leaves is to find a Middle Eastern MIL and ask her if she will make you some! :D ;) :p

Yup, yup, and triple yup. :D :)

05-02-2004, 07:06 PM
Hi ShortStuff!

Thanks for posting that recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves. (I do not have a Greek Mother-in-Law :D )

We have a local resturant that we really like (is it called Aegean Breeze)and we always get their Stuffed Grapeleaves as an appetizer. My husband has mentioned a few times that he would be an even happier man if I learn how to make them...so (loving a cooking challenge) I bought a bottle of grape leaves...6 months ago. I forgot they were there in the pantry.

Your post reminded me I had them:eek:

I am going through the "4 times a year use up everything in the pantry, fridge, freezer before I buy anything new" phase. I actually have all ingredients to make these!! Woohoo!


05-02-2004, 07:36 PM
I'm from Lebanese descent and I've definitely heard of and seen raw kibbie, or kibbie nayeh (phonetic). My grandmother loves it.

As for the grape leaves, yes rinse them and remove the stems as stated. My mom's recipe (via my grandma) doesn't include tomatoes, cinnamon or all spice, but does include ground meat. Also she just covers them with water and the juice of about to lemons and then simmers with the whole plate thing. I can get a more specific recipe if you'd like. They're far too time consuming for me to attempt.



krispy spo
05-03-2004, 07:37 AM
We grew up with grape leaves and kibbe. My dad usually picks grape leaves during the season and freezes them in bundles of 50 or so. I can't comment on the ones in a jar because I haven't used them. Here is the recipe we use, it is very simple. I love them hot and cold.

Grape Leaves
6 ounces rice
1 pound chop meat
4 teaspoons allspice
75 grape leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice for every 1 cup water
8 cloves garlic, minced

Mix rice, chop meat and allspice together. To make the grape leaves, shape a small amount of the meat and rice mixture into a cigar and put it in the bottom center of the leaf, near the stem. Fold both sides in and then roll it up. Try to do it very tightly so they don't open while cooking. Also, don't put too much stuffing in or the rice will expand and they will 'explode' during cooking. Put in pot and cover with lemon juice, water and garlic. Cover with a plate to prevent grape leaves from breaking. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower heat and cook 20 - 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Sometimes the garlic will turn greenish blue in the pot but it is fine to eat.

Short Stuff
05-03-2004, 04:55 PM
Thanks Krispy Spo for the recipe! I think I'm just going to have to try these and maybe take the extras to work. I really do appreciate the tips - especially about the garlic changing color. I definitely would have been nervous about that otherwise!:)

BTW- I e-mailed my ex-boyfriend's father (Iraqi) the same question this weekend about the Kibbie and his answer was almost identical to mbrogier's. The Lebanese versions of these foods aren't quite as familiar to me as the Iraqi, but it's all still delicious. As far as the Middle Eastern MIL....won't be happening. We've recently broken up. But I can still enjoy the food!