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Easy and Tasty: Kibbeh bil Saniyeh

Kibbeh Bil Saniyeh is a classic Middle Eastern dish that epitomises the region’s rich culinary heritage. This dish is a delightful combination of textures and flavours, meticulously crafted to create a harmonious and satisfying meal. At its core, Kibbeh Bil Saniyeh involves a flavourful mixture of bulgur, ground lamb, and beef, seasoned with a symphony of spices and herbs, which is then filled with a savoury, spiced meat mixture and cooked to perfection.

The kibbeh mixture is a blend of finely minced onions, ground lamb, ground beef, and bulgur, seasoned with an array of spices and the zesty addition of orange and lemon zest, thyme, and fresh mint. This mixture is combined to form a dough-like consistency, which is then chilled to set.

The filling is a rich concoction of chopped onions and minced lamb, sautéed and seasoned with 7-spice powder, pepper, and salt, then enriched with pomegranate molasses, sugar, sumac, and walnuts, creating a filling that’s both flavorful and texturally appealing.

Kibbeh can be prepared in various ways – shaped into balls or a flat layer, filled with the meat mixture, and then baked or fried to achieve a crispy exterior and a moist, flavourful interior. This dish is often served with a cooling yoghurt sauce, which complements the rich flavours of the kibbeh perfectly.

The step-by-step preparation involves soaking and processing the bulgur, preparing the kibbeh mixture and the filling, shaping the kibbeh, and then cooking it to golden perfection. Each step is crucial in achieving the final taste and texture that makes Kibbeh Bil Saniyeh a beloved dish in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Whether served as a main dish or as part of a larger feast, Kibbeh Bil Saniyeh is a testament to the culinary artistry and cultural richness of the Middle East, offering a taste experience that is both unique and deeply satisfying.

Basic Ingredients for Kibbeh bil Saniyeh 

Kibbeh Mixture:

Bulgur: A staple grain in Middle Eastern cuisine, bulgur adds a nutty flavour and a hearty texture to the kibbeh. It helps bind the ingredients together and absorbs the flavours of the spices and meats.

Ground Lamb and Beef: These meats provide the kibbeh with richness and depth of flavour. Lamb is traditional in Middle Eastern cooking, offering a distinct taste, while beef adds robustness to the dish.

Onions: Finely minced onions are essential for adding moisture and sweetness, enhancing the overall flavour profile of the kibbeh mixture.

Spices (Salt, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Cinnamon, 7-spice, Cumin, Coriander): This blend of spices gives kibbeh its signature flavour, with each spice contributing its unique characteristics, from warmth to a hint of sweetness and earthiness.

Citrus Zest (Orange and Lemon): The zest adds a bright, aromatic touch, cutting through the richness of the meats and complementing the spices.

Thyme and Fresh Mint: These herbs introduce a refreshing and slightly earthy element to the dish, balancing the flavours.


Olive Oil: Used for sautéing, it adds richness and helps carry the flavours of the onions and meat.

Lamb: The minced lamb in the filling mirrors the ground lamb in the kibbeh mixture, providing a consistent flavour profile throughout the dish.

Pomegranate Molasses: Adds a tangy sweetness that contrasts with the savoury elements of the filling.

Walnuts: Introduce a crunchy texture and nutty flavour, adding another layer of complexity to the filling.

Sumac: Offers a tangy, lemon-like flavour, enhancing the overall zestiness of the dish.

Yoghurt Sauce:

Yoghurt: Serves as a cool, tangy counterpoint to the rich, spiced kibbeh, offering a refreshing balance.

Cucumber and Mint: Add freshness and lightness to the sauce, complementing the dish’s flavours.

alternative ingredients

For Ground Meats: Chicken or turkey can be used for a lighter version.

For Pomegranate Molasses: Balsamic reduction mixed with a little honey can be a substitute.

For Sumac: Lemon zest mixed with a touch of salt can mimic the tangy flavour of sumac.

For Walnuts: Pine nuts or almonds can be used as alternatives for a different texture and flavor.

Preparation Tips for Kibbeh bil Saniyeh

  • Consistency: Ensure the bulgur is well-drained to prevent the kibbeh mixture from becoming too soggy.
  • Blending: Blend the kibbeh mixture until it reaches a dough-like consistency for easy shaping.
  • Filling: Cool the filling before adding it to the kibbeh to prevent it from cooking the meat prematurely.

Serving Tips for Kibbeh bil Saniyeh

  • Presentation: Serve kibbeh on a bed of lettuce or with a side of tabbouleh for a refreshing contrast.
  • Accompaniments: Offer a variety of dips such as tahini sauce, hummus, or garlic yoghurt to complement the kibbeh.

storage tips

Refrigeration: Store uncooked kibbeh in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking.

Freezing: Freeze uncooked kibbeh on a tray before transferring to a freezer-safe bag. They can be cooked directly from frozen.

Reheating: For best results, reheat cooked kibbeh in an oven to maintain their texture.

Kibbeh bil Saniyeh

Servings: 8 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


Kibbeh Mixture

  • 500 g bulgar
  • 500 g lamb, ground
  • 500 g beef, ground
  • 2 onion, finely minced
  • 5 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp 7-spice powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • handful fresh mint


  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g lamb, roughly minced
  • 1 tsp 7-spice powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sumac, ground
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Yoghurt Sauce

  • yoghurt
  • cucumber
  • mint


  • Wash and soak bulgar for 10 minutes, and then drain the excess water. To make the kibbeh mixture, in a food processor, finely minced the onions. Add ground beef, ground lamb, soaked bulgar, all the spices, mint, orange zest and lemon zest until it reaches a dough-like consistency. Add a bit of water if necessary until you get the right consistency. Put the mixture in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until the filling has been prepared.
  • To make the filling, sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent and keep aside. Wipe the pan, add the minced lamb and fry the meat until it has browned. Season the meat with 7-spice powder, white pepper powder, black pepper powder and salt. Add the sautéed onions, pomegranate molasses, sugar, ground sumac and walnuts; mix and cook on low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow the filling to cool.
  • To make the kibbeh, take a ball of the kibbeh mixture (about the size of a golf ball). Hold the meatball in your hand and make a hole pushing the index finger of your other hand into the mixture. Widen the hole by turning the mixture and pressing its inside walls gently against your palm. Some people like a thin shell and others like a thick shell, either way make sure it is uniformly thick. Throughout this process moisten your hands with cold water to avoid the mixture from sticking to your hand, and to create a smooth finish to the kibbeh. Fill the hole with about 2 teaspoons of the filling and close it, forming an oval shape with pointed end.
  • Preheat a pot with vegetable oil and deep-fry each kibbeh until it turns a beautiful golden-brown colour.Alternatively, for a healthier option, you can preheat the oven at 200°C, coat each kibbeh with vegetable oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they turn a golden-brown colour.
  • Serve the kibbeh with a side of yogurt or salad.


TIP: Make extra kibbeh to freeze. Layer the kibbeh balls in a tray, freeze for a couple of hours before removing and storing in an airtight container or ziplock bag. You can deep-fry directly from the freezer without thawing them. If you want to bake the kibbeh, make sure to thaw them before baking.

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