Stewed kubbeh - easy Middle Eastern dumplings

    1 hour 50 min

    Green hamousta kubbeh. This is a Kurdish version of the famous dumplings from Iraq, throughout the Levant and Turkey. There are many Kurdish tribes in Iraq and each has similar yet distinct recipes attributed only to them.


    Cambridgeshire, England, UK
    5 people made this

    Makes: 16 dumplings

    • For the shell
    • 190g fine cracked wheat, not bulgur, uncooked
    • 240ml water
    • 165g semolina
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • For the meat filling
    • 700g fatty stewing meat, such as chuck, shank or neck (I use beef because of availability but lamb is more traditional)
    • 50g lamb tail fat
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 15g celery leaves, minced
    • For the soup
    • 4 green onions
    • 60g celery leaves
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 1 bunch Swiss chard (white beet leaves)
    • water as needed
    • 2.5L chicken or beef soup stock or water
    • 2 sticks celery, chopped
    • 2 zucchini, chopped into large pieces
    • 2 turnips, chopped into large pieces
    • 180ml fresh lemon juice

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Extra time:30min soaking  ›  Ready in:1hr50min 

    1. The shell: Soak cracked wheat in 240ml water for 30 minutes, or until it has absorbed the water and has expanded. It shouldn’t be soupy. Add the semolina and ½ teaspoon salt and knead until the dough is soft and elastic like playdough. Add more water if necessary to create pliable dough. If the dough is too wet, let stand for 30 minutes or add small amounts of semolina. Remember that different batches of semolina and cracked wheat absorb water differently.
    2. Meat filling: Fry the chunks of meat in lamb fat using a cast iron skillet until the meat is browned on all sides, adding a few drops of water to the pan if the bottom begins to burn. Cover the meat with water and let the water boil down completely and until the meat loses about half of its volume (this is an improvised khelia). Set aside to cool. Fry the onion in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil or lamb fat until dark brown, add to meat. Add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the chopped celery leaves. Cool completely.
    3. Soup: In the blender add the green onions, celery leaves, garlic and about ½ of the chard leaves. Add a little water and blend until all the vegetables are pulverized. Roughly chop the remaining chard. Boil the chicken stock or water. Add the vegetables and chopped Swiss chard (and whatever didn’t fit into the blender) and cook for about five minutes. Add the pulverized vegetables in the stock and cook for another 10 minutes. Add about 180ml lemon juice. It should be very sour.
    4. Kubbeh: Take a piece of dough the size of a walnut, shape the dough into a ball, and with your thumb make a hole for the stuffing. The sides of the shell should be thin, about 2mm, as the dough will expand in the soup. A bowl of water is useful to dip your hands in to keep the dough from sticking. Stuff the shell with the cooled meat filling. For every piece of dough, try stuffing with about the same volume of meat. Flatten the stuffed kubbeh into discs. Place them on a lightly oiled surface such as a baking pan. Only when the soup is boiling add the kubbeh. With a long wooden spoon stir the soup gently to make sure the kubbeh have not stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the kubbeh begin to float. Remember the kubbeh will disintegrate if cooked too long.

    Freezing tip

    Remember the kubbeh will disintegrate if cooked too long. Uncooked stuffed kubbeh can be frozen. To freeze put a tray of kubbeh in the freezer until frozen to the touch. Take them out and put them in a freezer bag.

    Ingredient note

    It is also possible to use ground meat instead. Combine all the ingredients for the filling and stuff the dough uncooked. This is a much easier method since the meat is clumped together and not crumbly.

    See it on my blog

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