Continuing on with my exploration of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook, I recently made kibbeh. Kibbeh is a bulgur-based ball or patty-shaped dish. Ottolenghi’s take on it is to make it open, which reduces the labour that goes into the dish. I highly enjoyed it and it reminded me a lot of shepherd’s pie which was one of my brother’s favourite homemade meals. Just like shepherd’s pie, it has a heavier carby base, topped by meat, and then is baked. This seems like the spicier, more flavourful version of it. I also discovered what bulgar is, and it’s similar to quinoa, but has a nuttier taste, is heavier, and you don’t necessarily have to cook it!

Despite taking a while to make, it was delicious and I’d serve this on a cold day when you’re craving something more substantial and warm. You’ll need a springform pan – the kind used to make cheesecake where the bottom detaches from the sides so you can release the dish easily.


  • 125g fine bulgar wheat
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 350g minced lamb
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour, plus a little extra if needed
  • 50g light tahini paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • salt and black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 350F and line the springform pan with parchment paper.
  • Soak the bulgar in 200mL water.
  • Fry onion, garlic, and chili in the oil. When soft, remove, and set aside.
  • Cook lamb in the same pan until browned. Return the onion mix and add in the spices, cilantro, salt, pepper, and most of the pine nuts and parsley (leave some for garnish). Cook for a couple more minutes and set aside.
  • The bulgar should have absorbed all the water by now. Mix with the flour, 2Tb olive oil, salt and pepper. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to create a base. Add the lamb mixture and press down as a layer on top of the bulgar layer. Bake in the oven for 20min.
  • While the lamb is in the oven, mix together the tahini paste with the lemon juice, 50mL water, and some salt. You will get a pourable, but thick mixture.
  • Remove the lamb from the oven, top with the tahini paste, and top with the rest of the pine nuts and parsley. Cook for another 12min.
  • When done, drizzle with olive oil and sumac. Serve by carefully cutting slices.

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