Bethany Kehdy

A Champion of Middle Eastern Food & Recipes

Kebbeh Zghortaweeyeh & An Old Tradition

Kebbeh Zghortaweeyeh & An Old Tradition


Back in the good ol’ days when there was no twitter, facebook, television, oh and a food processor there were lovely ladies who made kebbeh b jorn; minced lamb pounded for at least an hour in a jorn or mortar. Those days are long gone! I had to state the obvious.


As you can imagine making kebbeh this way is lengthy, exhausting, dramatic and I’m not sure makes that much difference in taste or texture. I couldn’t tell and nor did anyone else.

But, it is a very beautiful process to watch.


Kebbeh is Lebanon’s national dish. It’s an art. It was one of the very early dishes I posted about, on this blog. Follow the link for the recipe on making the kebbeh mixture. Kebbeh is one of my favorite dishes in Lebanese cuisine.

So, what goes into kebbeh exactly? The freshest of minced lamb (same day-especially if you’re going to eat it raw), burghul (durum wheat), onion and spices. Then with that mixture you can;

Eat it raw (Kebbeh Naye) which is similar to steak tartare and is one of the popular methods of consumption in Lebanon.


You can spread it in a pan and bake it or you can mold it into torpedo shapes like in kebbeh qrass and stuff them with mince meat, onion and pine nuts. They are then fried or grilled.

Then, there is kibbet samak or fish kebbeh. There is also kibbeh b 3addas or lentils, kebbeh b batata or potatoes and I’ve even seen and made fusion versions such as aubergine kebbeh. So, basically substitute the lamb with the desired ingredient. Oh, and I almost forgot kebbeh ma laban or with yoghurt. Talk about stuff dreams are made of!

And then there is kebbet shaham or grilled kibbeh that is the specialty of a mountain village in north Lebanon, called zghorta. The kebbeh mixture is molded into qrass and then stuffed with small white, solid pieces of fat before it is grilled. The restaurant we had it at still pounded it by hand using  a mortar and pestle.

If you like to look after your arteries you can change the filling to incorporate whatever your heart desires. How about a herbed butter; perhaps mint? or adding pomegranate molasses, or tomatoes, or  cumin or chili or ginger or caramelized onions or almonds…whatever you think will compliment the lamb or the mixture ingredient of choice.


Don’t forget to remove the rims of meat. Also, the lovely meat pounding lady, said they keep them in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 1hr before sending them on their way to the grill. In any case, when you decide to make kebbeh make a huge batch and freeze them for a lazy day! I find it tastes even better.


Alf sahtein! Thousand Healths!


23 thoughts on “Kebbeh Zghortaweeyeh & An Old Tradition

  1. I love kibbeh although i’ve never made it. My mom makes it when she visits me in Arizona. She makes it and freezes it for later. Maybe now i’ll give it a try.

  2. Such a delicate and lengthy process. We can learn a lot about the devotion the old methods put into cooking, truelly cooking with love. Thanks for this post.

    I realllllly enjoyed the videos!

  3. Again a very cultured post. I really feel if i had never been to Lebanon i could get a good feel for the country from your most recent posts.

    Thank you.

  4. I agree, your videos show the blogging world the culinary, cultural, and landscape of our pearl, the Paris of the Middle East.

  5. Not to mention the people too, they are so hospitable and open to share their methods, history, and photos with DKS.

    I enjoy this site for many reasons; the food, the culture you captivate on all your journeys, and the realness in all of it with – your dash of simplicity of course!!

  6. The first and only time I had kibbeh naye was in Lebanon. I can still remember there was a large group of us, we were all sitting around a long table, and the only dish I remember from all that time was kibbeh naye. It was so incredibly fresh as well!

  7. Come over (Ehden-Zghargta North of Lebanon) and taste the Kebbie and others delicious meals, and specially enjoy our lovely weather during all four seasons.

  8. Hi Bethany,

    I loved to see this recipe of Kibbeh. My grandfather came from Lebanon to live in São Paulo, Brazil. My father later moved to Rio de Janeiro, where I was born.

    Kibbeh is extremely popular there as a bar snack and you can find it everywhere! We tend to form little ‘spinning top’ shames with it and deep fry it, but I helped my dad prepare it and we end up eating a lot of it just raw!

    I moved to London some 23 years ago and work as a designer, web designer and budding video-maker. I’d love for you to check my own version of Kibe (that’s how we spell it in Brazil) and would love to meet up one day (I’m in SW18) for a chat.

    All the best,
    Nando Cuca.

    Here’s that video recipe link:

  9. You have an amazing blog!! i really love getting inspired by the pictures and your style of writing, your recipes are authentic and so unpretentious if that’s even a word! I just started my own middle eastern food blog, it is very exciting! any tips for a newbie like me? i would love to hear from you!

  10. Do you know of a good place for getting Lebanese spices in the USA? I have found some of the places do not have good recipes for their spice mixtures. I would appreciate any help you can give. Like you I grew up in Lebanon and came to the US at the age of 17.

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