Beef Kubbeh and Fasoulia Stew. Photo by Armando Raphael.
As anti-Jewish sentiment grew in Iraq in the mid-20th century, Annabel Rabiyah’s grandparents, uncle, and father, left for North America — never to return. In Boston, where Annabel grew up, “food was the primary way they held onto their culture and history,” she explains. Today, Annabel celebrates her family’s Iraqi heritage and recipes through Awafi Kitchen, a project she co-founded, that hosts cooking classes and pop-ups.
Among her family’s recipes are several for kubbeh, a type of dumpling. This version is served in a soup made with green beans and whole dried limes, which are available at Middle Eastern specialty shops and some spice stores. Read more about Annabel and her family’s recipes on the Jewish Food Society’s archive.
Check out more kubbeh recipes and explore the centuries-long history of this iconic regional dish here.
1 ½ cups semolina or ¾ cup each of semolina and farina
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
For the fasoulia stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups broth of choice
½ pound fasoulia (green beans), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 whole dried limes, washed and pierced all over with a fork
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
Make the kubbeh: In a medium bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, parsley, 1 ½ tablespoons salt, dried lime, and pepper until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix the semolina, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of the meat filling. Add ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of water until the dough forms a ball and can be molded easily, and knead for 1-2 minutes.
To shape the kubbeh: Flatten a small circle of dough in your palm, about 1 heaping tablespoon, as thin as possible while still workable. Cover the unused dough with plastic wrap or a damp cloth to prevent it drying out. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center of the dough, and wrap the dough around the filling, forming a ball. Make sure it is well sealed, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until you have 16 kubbeh.
Make the soup: In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and saute until they soften, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir frequently, until it darkens to a dark brick color. Add the green beans, stirring to incorporate, then add the broth and dried limes.
Gently add the kubbeh to the broth, making sure they are fully covered. Add more broth if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until the kubbeh are fully cooked. Try not to stir the broth for at least the first 5 minutes so the kubbeh remain intact.
After the kubbeh has finished cooking, burst the dried limes by pushing them against the wall of the pot with a spoon. Add the lemon juice, mix, and serve hot.