Northern Fish Kibbeh with Burghul (Vegetarian)
Fish Kibbeh is another Northern Lebanese dish that ensued to meet our nutritional need during the Lent period. I shared with you previously how our Northern ancestors amended meat recipes to respect our commitment to Lent.
In order to not reiterate the historical background, I invite you to read it here and enjoy it. The Fish Kibbeh with Burghul – like the Fish Vegetarian Kibbeh, the Potato Kibbeh, and the Pumpkin Kibbeh, are some of these dishes which recipes were generated for the same reason.
For us, Northerns, Fish Kibbeh is a fulfilling meal conventional of the Lent season.
However, they are also very praised fish dishes that we love to serve, any time of the year, when receiving guests from other regions for lunch or dinner. We take pride in it!
Fish Kibbeh, Crossing Through
The demographic changes and interchanges, which occurred throughout our civil war (1975-1992), have also opened up the nation to sub-cultural exchanges. Dishes typical only of certain regions, like the Fish Kibbeh, were introduced gradually to hosting areas. Loved and adopted by them, these dishes became part of their menus; some more frequent than others.
To a certain extent, the subcultures of postwar Lebanon are more dynamically opened to each others than in the prewar Lebanon.
The virtual demarcations fell as the previously displaced masses started to go back and forth their now-home cities and their native ones. And I am not talking only physically. There is much positive dynamics involved in that.
Fish Kibbeh with Burghul: A Healthier Recipe
Since our fish is waiting to be cooked, I shouldn’t keep it, and you, longer. So let me conclude by telling you that there are different new versions I have seen out and around.
For health purpose, this recipe comes with some slight amendments, aiming to reduce the fat and the cholesterol.
I am sure you will love this healthier recipe of the Fish Kibbeh with Burghul!
Fish Kibbeh with Burghul
- 500 gr Fish Filet frozen or fresh
- 1 Onion (medium) peeled
- 1 cup Burghul (cracked wheat) soaked for 1/2 hour
- Salt and Spices A mixture of 1 tsp of each of: salt, marjoram, cinnamon, white pepper, black pepper, cumin, and dried cilantro
- 2 tsps Orange Zest
- 2 tsps Lemon Zest
For the Stuffing
- 2 Onion (medium) cut in thin wings
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 tbsps Orange Zest thinly cut
- 1 dash White Pepper
- 100 gr Zaafaran or 1 tbsp Lebanese Zafaran
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp Pine Kernels
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Salt to season
- 1 tbsp Water
- Almonds poached
- Baking Pan 20 cm x 30 cm About 8" x 13"
Preparing the Kibbeh Dough
In a meat electrical blender, mix onions, spices and zests.
Add the fish and blend well to smoothness.
Drain well the water from the soaked Burghul, squeezing them between your hands.
Add them to the fish in the blender, and mix well until you get a homogeneous mixture/dough.
Preparing the Stuffing
Fry the onions in the preheated oil until they turn yellowish. Add the orange zest and the spices of the Stuffing.
Mix well over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Making the Kibbeh: Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F)
Sweep the pan with oil.
Divide the Kibbeh dough/mixture in two parts.
Extend and flatten one part in the pan for equal level.
Spread on the stuffing mixture and the Pine Kernels.
Divide the 2nd part of the dough in several parts.
Flatten each in the palm of your hands and place them gradually over the stuffing, side by side, until it is all covered.
Dampen your hand with cold water, and connect the parts with your fingers to cover the gaps.
Level and smooth the surface with gentle movements of your palms.
With a sharp knife, incise smoothly several intersected diagonal lines to have a surface of several diamond shapes. Start from the upper left to bottom right, then upper right to bottom left. Incisions should reach the bottom layer, without necessarily cutting till the end. (ref. photo)
On each diamond shape, place an almond and press gently so it sticks in.
Baking the Fish Kibbeh
Mix the oil and water, add to the Kibbeh, and bake for 25 minutes.
Turn on the oven's upper heat, and cook for about 5 more minutes to toast the surface of the Kibbeh.
Remove from oven.
Cut the Kibbeh, while hot from the oven, in 4 equal portions and place them on a serving plate. You may also serve it as is.
Serve hot with a side dish of green salad of your choice like Arugula Salad. A Fattoush salad or Tabouleh are excellent options as well.