Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kibbe with Bulgur, Pomegranate Syrup and Pine Nuts

November is the month of the pomegranate and vegetarian kibbe seasoned with pomegranate syrup makes for perfect autumn eating.  Add greens and tomatoes from the garden, stuff into a pita, and you've got a tasty sandwich.  This dish is from the cookbook Silk Road Cooking, A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij which traces the flow of ideas, recipes and spices along the Silk Road from China to Italy and all points in between.   The book is full of gorgeous photos and makes for fascinating reading.  Most important, the recipes have never disappointed.  This dish is not complicated, but it has several steps and requires refrigeration time in between.  Budget your time accordingly or you're in for a late night.

Kibbe with Bulgur, Pomegranate Syrup and Pine Nuts

adapted from Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij



1      pound        russet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft
1                        egg
2      cups           fine grain bulgur, soaked in 3/4 cup warm
                          water for 15 minutes
1/3    cup           unbleached all-purpose flour
1                       onion, peeled and sliced
2       tsp            salt
1       tsp            black pepper
2       tsp            cumin
1       Tbs           vegetable oil
2       tsp            pomegranate syrup (not juice,
                         available at Middle Eastern grocers)
1/2    cup           parsley


1       Tbs         butter or vegetable oil
1                      onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1                      garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/2     cup         pine nuts
1/2     tsp          salt
1/4     tsp          black pepper
1/2     tsp          cayenne pepper
1/4     tsp          cinnamon
1/4     tsp          cumin
1       Tbs          pomegranate syrup
                         vegetable oil for frying

For the Sandwiches

1/2 C tomatoes (we used Matt's Wild Cherry from the garden)
tahini or hummus to taste
1/2 C lettuce (we used mizuna from the garden)
pita bread
fresh mint

Step 1 -- Make the Shell
  1. Combine all the shell ingredients in a food processor and mix until you have a thick dough.  Cover and refrigerate 40 minutes to firm up.
Step 2 -- Make the Filling
  1. Heat oil or butter and saute onions over medium until translucent.  Add spices and pomegranate syrup and cook one more minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3 -- Make the Kibbe
  1. Using your hands, mold the shell dough into balls -- smaller than a tennis ball, bigger than a golf ball.  If you moisten your hands first, the dough won't stick too much.  Place on sheet pan lined with silpat or parchment paper as you go. 
  2. Make an impression in each ball of dough using your thumb and fill each hole with 1 tsp of filling.  Pull the dough around the filling so it is now in the center of the dough.  Flatten each ball into a patty.  You shouldn't be able to see any of the filling.  Refrigerate the patties to firm up before cooking, about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil for frying over medium, and fry each patty until golden brown on both sides.  Remove to paper towels to drain.
Step 4 -- Assemble the Sandwiches
  1. Serve kibbe with warm pita bread, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, mint and tahini or hummus.  
  2. To eat, open the pita and fill with all of the above.



  1. I want that cookbook!! This looks really good - first time hearing the term Kibbe but sounds like it's close to the falafel/burger family. Really want to try it now, but as I am a slow cooker as it is, Brian will be waiting until midnight to eat this!

  2. Vegetarian kibbe?? Oh, that is so cool. I grew up with lots of Iranian/Turkish friends and kibbe was a favorite. It's also close to kefetedes (I probably don't have to tell you that), which I had a lot as a kid raised by a Greek momma!

    I love the veggie option, thanks!

  3. This sound really delicious especially with pomegranate syrup!

  4. This sounds great! I haven't cooked with pomegranate yet, but I better hurry up ... I hear it's pomegranate month ; )

  5. These sound absolutely delicious - I've never made kibbe at home. Will have to try this.

  6. These sound incredibly appealing to me! I have all of the ingredients, except for the pomegranate syrup, so it's time for a little search.

  7. You've done it again! Jeez Louise, EVERY time I come here my mouth waters.

    By the way, the head's up on budgeting for time is most welcome. Why nobody told me about that when Mr. Other P and I decided to repaint the bedroom I'll never know. Not food realted, but... Nothing worse than not having enough time to do something right!


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