Syrian Vegetarian Bulgur Patties (Kibbeh)
While I have had a few flops, most of the recipes I try are very good. It helps that I know which ingredients I am more likely to enjoy, and I also try to choose tried-and-true recipes that others have praised as well. Am I the only one that scoots down to the bottom of the comments to see if anyone else actually made the same recipe? It is the first place I go, and another reason why I love browsing people’s recipe archives.
Aromas of Aleppo is a gorgeous cookbook featuring recipes from the Jews that formerly lived in Syria. But gorgeous photos does make a great recipe. One of the recipes I was immediately drawn to was the vegetarian kibbeh recipe, which are bulgur patties with red lentils, minced tomato, bell peppers, scallions and seasoned with cumin and chili flakes. This recipe had everything going for it except one thing – the amount of oil. Kibbeh is common in the Middle East, and can be baked, grilled, fried or as in the this case, none of the above. After the bulgur and red lentils are cooked, they are chilled and then eaten as-is.
I have adapted the original recipe. First I halved it because the recipe made a TON of food. Second, decreased the oil. The original (doubled) recipe called for 2 cups of oil, which is outrageous. I almost put it all in, as I wasn’t really thinking straightly at the time. Must. Not. Follow. Recipes. Blindly. My version still had too much oil, so I plead with you not the make the same mistake I did. You can definitely work with less, but feel free to experiment with the amount of oil to get a texture you prefer.
These are very flavourful patties, but I will admit to only forming the torpedos for the photos. Otherwise, I just used a spoon to scoop out the mixture. Serve with tamarind concentrate, tahini, or alongside other appetizers.
This is my submission to Tobias’ 14th Mediterranean Cooking Event, featuring dishes from Syria.
Syrian Vegetarian Bulgur Patties (Kibbeh Neye w’Khidrawat)
2-3 scallions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1.5 cups chopped onions (about 3 onions)
3/4 cup red lentils
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the original recipe calls for 1 cup – no way!)
1 cup water
1.5 cups fine bulgur, rinsed and drained
3 oz tomato paste (half a can)
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 tbsp salt
1. Combine the scallions, pepper and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix together with half the onions and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat the lentils in 1 cup water with the remaining onions until both are soft, around 20 minutes.
3. While the lentils and onions are hot, and them to the minced vegetable mixture in the bowl; add the olive oil and stir. Add the bulgur, tomato paste, cumin, chili flakes and salt. Blend the mixture thoroughly by hand and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 5 days) to let the mixture solidify.
4. One to two hours before serving, form the mixture into torpedo shapes, about 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and tapered at the ends. Serve at room temperature.