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A recipe for kubba halab – A Middle Eastern Mezze

Kubba Halab is a middle eastern dish which is most commonly consumed in Iraq and Syria. The name Halab was an ancient city in Syria. It is made out of rice and cooked by forming the rice into a dough. The inside is filled with minced lamb or minced beef and then fried.

Kubba is synonymous with middle eastern food and arabic catering and comes in many different varieties. An example being Lebanese Kibbeh – this is very similar to Kubba Haleb, however, it is made out of bulgar wheat rather than rice. Kubba Mosul is another variety of Kubba, again derived from Iraq. This is similar to Lebanese kibbeh but instead of being fried this is usually set into a tray and cooked in an oven. It is very flat and long in shape in comparison to kibbeh which is torpedo shaped.

Kubba Haleb is quite a time consuming dish mainly due to the fact that a lot of preparation is needed. This is largely due to the fact that rice needs to be overcooked in order for it to form a dough. However, it is an integral part of a middle eastern food and is definitely worth the time taken to prepare it.

Ingredients (to serve 10)

500 grams of long grain rice

1 tablespoon of turmeric

500 grams of minced lamb

1 Onion

1 Tablespoon of Paprika

1 Tablespoon of salt

300 ml of Sunflower Oil

Cooking Instructions

Cook the long grain rice until it is slightly mushy and then proceed to add the turmeric, this is important as the rice needs to be made into a dough later. Then cook the mince and prepare the onion by chopping it finely. Afterwards, add the chopped onions to the mince along with the paprika and salt.

Put the cooked rice into a blender until a dough consistency is formed. Once a dough is formed, shape small parts into torpedo shapes and fill with mince. Then place them in the freezer for 3 hours. They need to be frozen so that they do not disintegrate when frying.

Remove the kubba from the freezer and fry them until golden right around. Afterwards, serve with fresh mint and yogurt.

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