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Nov 2, 2002 03:56 PM

Where to find Kibbee Nayeh (raw kibbee)

  • p

I'm a raw kibbee fiend, and since the decline and demise of Bishop's in Lawrence, I've been at a loss to find it.

Any restaurants around the Boston area that carry it? Does anyone have a good recipe to share?

Thanks in advance!


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  1. w
    Wendy Leonard

    I make kibbe all the time. I order ground lamb from Jamison Farms--an organic lamb farm in Pennsylvania and I've been using their lamb for many years. It comes in 1-lb packages. They have a website. I keep it frozen and defrost it about 2/3 in the microwave before use. The kibbe comes out especially good if the meat is still icy cold. If I make kibbe using any other meat I do NOT buy it ground but grind it myself. My version--the only remnant of a distant Lebanese heritage--is not so much a paste as is served in most Lebanese restaurants but is more fluffy.

    Soak about 12 ounces of finely ground bulgar in cold water for one hour. Meanwhile chop up by hand one sweet onion. Mix the onion with a couple teaspoons each of cumin, allspice and black pepper, a teaspoon of salt, some cayenne. Mix in the ground lamb.

    Squeeze out all the water from the bulgar and then mix it into the onion-meat mixture with your (very clean) hands until it is thoroughly mixed. At this point add a handful of dried spearmint leaves and salt to taste.

    To serve, flatten some on a plate, pour an excellent olive oil over it and scoop up with pita bread. Very addictive! It is even better the next morning--longer than that though and I would cook the leftovers--not that I ever have any!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Wendy Leonard

      Hi Wendy

      Welcome back! How was Thailand? I love kibbe, thanks for this great recipe. I've never ordered from Jamison, but keeping some of their ground lamb in the freezer sounds like a great idea.

      Also, I make up a bottle of this Lebanese spice mixture and keep it in the cabinet (they have something very similar called "Lebanese pepper" at the spice place in Norwood, MA). Just a little of this is great in any Lebanese meat mixture:


      1. re: Rubee

        Wendy, thank you for sharing your recipe. I've got to try it. Question: how much meat do you use in this recipe -- if you use 12 oz of bulgur, do you use 1 lb of meat, or more (I'd think more, but I don't want to assume).

        Thanks again!


        1. re: Paula
          Wendy Leonard

          No, you're right. The problem is, is that I know what the final outcome is supposed to look and feel like and I adjust the quantities accordingly. I always use 1 lb of meat--but I think I use about 7 ounces of bulgar, not 12 as you picked up on. I soak about 2 cups but I don't use it all. I add more bulgar than most recipes call for, working it into the meat until more would make it not look like meat anymore. It should still look like a meat preparation with a lot of bulgar, not the other way around. The spices too--I add them until it looks and smells like "enough" and I have tried to approximate what I think the amounts are. It is heavily spiced.

          Mistakes would be not squeezing all the water out of the bulgar or pureeing the onion in a food processor instead of chopping it by hand--both of these can result in a kibbe that is somewhat watery. Soaking the bulgar for several hours also does not work well because then the bulgar does not have the proper texture and it cannot absorb any meat juices. I also do not particularly like the elastic texture that results from making kibbe in a food processor--although that is the way most Lebanese households do it now (or so I am told; I have no firsthand knowledge). But then again, as I said, the texture of this is not nearly as pastelike as the kibbe I have had in Lebanese restaurants.

          It is actually really easy to make and once the bulgar is soaked, takes only a few minutes. Usually it needs to be salted fairly heavily at the table.

          I hope this helps and that my imprecision hasn't scared you off!

          1. re: Wendy Leonard


            Thank you for the info -- it doesn't scare me at all! (Fear is nothing when raw kibbee is at stake!).


            1. re: Paula

              I think I saw it on the board at the Meat Spot in Watertown. I couldn't quite make out the handwriting though.

              It's on Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown Center, across from the video store.


            2. re: Wendy Leonard

              3/4 cup fine bulgar (prepared as above) per pound of lamb, 1/2 onion, salt and pepper. Running all through a meat grinder twice together works best. Add cold water to soften mixture if necessary.

          2. re: Rubee
            Wendy Leonard

            Hi Rubee, Thailand was delicious! Thanks for the link to this site; I hadn't seen it before. Let me know how you like the kibbe. I'm now obsessing over how much bulgar I actually use and the fact is, I'm not sure--but the recipe really isn't that sensitive to the exact amount.

            Jamison has good lamb pies also, another excellent thing to keep in the freezer. The premium prices generally keep me from ordering anything but the pies and the meat to be consumed raw--but all their lamb is really high quality.

            Did you ever make it to the Crystal Quail? Email me!

            1. re: Wendy Leonard

              That's a great site for Lebanese cooking. A close friend is mine is Lebanese and is always cooking for us, so sometimes I like to surprise him with a Lebanese dish. He's loved the few I've tried from this site so I guess it's "approved"! (the spice blend is also great with roast chicken and the requisite lemon and garlic).

              Crystal Quail was excellent - I should have posted. What a great unique find! Thanks for the recommendation.

          3. re: Wendy Leonard
            Wendy Leonard

            It should be about 7 ounces of bulgar, not 12, to 1 lb of meat.

          4. You might try the Red Fez on Washington St in the South End.

            1. Mounir's on South Broadway (Rt. 28) in Lawrence had raw kibbee some time last year when I went there with friends who had a craving; they said it was quite good. The other Middle-Eastern food offerings there were OK, as I recall.

              1 Reply
              1. re: T.B.

                Mounirs did raw kibbe last time I checked, but because they grind the meat fresh, it's only availible on Fridays.

                We used to call ahead to order the raw kibbe for lunch and they'd tell us to give them a half-hour so they could go pick out the meat at the butcher shop.

                Their other stuff is standard middle eastern sub shop but good.

              2. This dish is called "kheyma" or "chee kufta" in Armenian. A place I have been dying to try (but feel slightly shy about because it isn't a restaurant, per se) is a neighborhood club in Watertown called the Agoump (76 Bigelow Ave. Watertown, MA 02472).

                If anyone goes, I'd love to hear all about it.


                1. new restaurant opening in cambridge has kibbee nayeh on the menu

                  26 new Street
                  cambridge, Ma
                  behind fresh pond mall