Kibbeh is mainly done with meat, with more than 30 different versions of it, but in coastal cities, kibbeh is made with fish! This is an easy-to-do recipe, as no special shaping skills are needed. The kibbeh is just layered in a baking pan, with stuffing below and one layer of kibbeh above it. Kebbet samak is perfumed with the coastal fragrances of seafood and orange and lemon zest.
- 4 3/4 cups (800 g) fine-grind bulgur
- 2 1/2 pounds (1 kg) firm white fish fillets, such as red snapper or bass
- 3 pounds (1.4 kg) yellow onions
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 bunches green coriander
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
- 1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
- Kamal Mouzawak
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7).
Wash the bulgur and squeeze well. Cut the fish fillets and 1/2 pound (400 g) of the onions into big chunks. Add the zest of the lemon and the orange, the green coriander, 2 teaspoons of the ground coriander, the allspice, cumin, and salt, and pass the mixture through a meat grinder to obtain a uniform kibbeh dough (a meat grinder is a better option here than an electric mixer or a food processor, which would turn the fish mixture too mushy).
Cut the remaining 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) of onions into thin slices. Add the pine nuts, the remaining 2 teaspoons ground coriander, the red chile flakes, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the vegetable oil. Combine well and spread in the bottom of a 12-inch (30-cm) square baking pan.
Form the kibbeh into balls, then flatten them into disks to cover the pan. When all the stuffing is covered, wet your hand with cold water, and beat down the surface of the kibbeh to compact it into the pan, then smooth the surface. A kibbeh should be nice to look at as well as to taste; for that, draw patterns on the surface, using a knife that will just draw on the surface without cutting into it and drawing sun patterns in a round pan or rectangular ones in a rectangular pan. Cover the kibbeh with the remaining vegetable oil and bake for 30 minutes, until it turns gold and crispy on the surface.