In Iraqi and Syrian Jewish communities, a cook’s skills were once judged by her kubbeh, which are also called kibbeh, kubba, and kobeba. The shell of the meat-filled dumplings takes practice and adept fingers to make just right — too thick and the kubbeh will be overly dense, too thin and the shell will break. Like many dumplings around the world, these can be made with the help of friends and family sitting around a table together. This recipe was featured on “Bringing Israel Home” and the Jewish Food Society’s recipe archive.
Check out more kubbeh recipes and explore the centuries-long history of this iconic regional dish here.
1 tablespoon baharat spice (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Soup:
5 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cups chopped celery
4 beets, peeled, sliced in 1/8ths
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
½ cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
Chopped parsley and dill, to garnish
In a medium bowl mix the semolina, oil and salt. Add the water and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the meat and cook while breaking it apart, for several minutes. Add the parsley, garlic, baharat, salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Drain most of the oil from the pan and set aside to cool.
Take the dough and pinch apart small balls about half the size of a golf ball. Roll it out into flat, thin rounds. Place a little less than a tablespoon of meat in the center of the dough and bring the sides around it and pinch to seal. Pick it up and roll it in your hands a bit to form into a smooth ball. Place on a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the refrigerator until ready to place in the soup.
Using a large soup pot so that the kubbeh do not stick together, heat the canola oil over medium heat and then sauté the onion until translucent but not browned. Add the beets and celery and give it a nice mix. Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Gently add the kubbeh to the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley and dill. Serve hot.