Syrian Cooks are so proud of their Kibbe!

Published August 18, 2017

Sitto would proudly tell me about how #Aleppo cooks felt about Kibbe. First of all, she said that an accomplished Syrian cook would be so proud of her Kibbe-making. These wonderful football-shaped meatballs were hand-turned so they could be filled. And if you were able to make an even shell as you turned it around with your thumb, then you had “arrived”….my words, not hers!

Kibbe is one of the best “standby” dishes I found after I asked Sitto for her recipes! Not only is it delicious, but, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s so versatile. My very favorite is when she would stuff the Kibbe meatballs with her wonderful filling. That delicious filling, with a touch of her homemade Tamarind Syrup, has more ground lamb, spices, onions and chopped nuts in it, making it pure Aleppo! Find this recipe on page 90.

I remember that when I first tried making these, I was so nervous about putting a hole in the shell. I remember that Sitto said to keep a bowl of cold water nearby to dip your fingers into it. It made the molding of the meat shell so much easier to work. Of course, any hole in the meat filling could be “repaired,” but, while my grandmother watched, I wanted to do it right. She was such an expert and now I realize that it was years of cooking that gave her that ability. In any case, have no fears, it’s so delicious and even if imperfect, your family will love them! If your family is like ours, they will all get to the table in record time!