Arabic Language Blog

How to Prepare Kibbeh bil Sanieh Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! (مرحبا)In a previous post, I shared a recipe that my wife and I use when we cook the popular vegetarian dish: pumpkin kibbeh. This weekend we are inviting some friends over for lunch. Our friends insisted that we cook a Middle Eastern dish. Fortunately for us and them, we could not turn down their request and we have decided to serve meat kibbeh (كبّة) for lunch on Sunday. Specifically, we are planning to cook Flat Kibbeh/Kibbeh in the Pan or better known as Kibbeh bil  Sanieh (كبّة بالصينيّة). They have hinted a couple of times before that they are huge kibbeh fans and have not had a decent and well prepared (Middle Eastern standards of course) kibbeh dish in quite some time. To be honest, kibbeh is not one of those easy dishes to prepare, but with time and patience, I am sure you can learn to prepare it. In this post, I would like to share with you all the recipe, especially if you are meat-lovers and/or simply interested in learning to prepare a great and impressive Middle Eastern dish.


You can cook kibbeh in two ways: you can either make it a football like shape or in a flat oven/deep dish platter. Some folks opt for a third way and enjoy eating uncooked or raw kibbeh. In some places in the Middle East, like Lebanon and Syria for example, raw kibbeh (كبّة نيّة) is a popular breakfast dish that goes along with other types of raw meat, like liver for example.

Like some of the other websites that I have used before, today I am borrowing this recipe from another good Lebanese website called My Lebanese Market. I have also added a YouTube video that provides you with cooking instructions (تعليمات الطبخ) visually. There is a beautiful song in the background of this video by the magnificent Arab artist Fairouz. If you plan to cook this excellent tasty Middle Eastern dish, I think the instructions in this video are good. In all cases, if you do not want to cook kibbeh, please do enjoy the beautiful song by Fairouz playing in the background.

Quantities: (الكميات)
2 oven pans size 12.5″x8″ for kibbeh bil sanieh (aka. flat kibbeh)
Servings: 10-15

Timing: (التوقيت)
Cooking phase: 20 min

Resting phase: 2hrs or more


STUFFING (الحشوة)

This inner stuffing is what goes inside or between layers of outer dough. It is best to use fresh ground meat (rather than frozen) as it will not stick as much. The goal is to breakdown the meat into very small pieces, which is difficult when the meat is sticky.

Ingredients (1 of 3): 1 lbs of ground beef or lamb (لحم بقر أو غنم مفروم), salt, 1 onion, 1 tbsp of Lebanese 7 spices  (سبع بهارات) , 1 tbsp of cinnamon (قرفة) , ¼ cup of pine nuts (صنوبر), 1 tbsp of vegetable oil  (زيت نباتي)

1. Cut 1 onion into very small pieces
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot. Add the pieces of onion and let them cook until brown
3. Add 1 lbs of ground beef or lamb and crush into very small pieces
3. When meat is cooked, add ¼ cup of pine nuts, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of 7 spices and 1 tbsp of cinnamon
4. When the pine nuts turn brown, turn the heat off and let the meat cool down
5. Once chilled, place the meat in the refrigerator for at least 2hrs


OUTER DOUGH (العجينة الخارجية)

Ingredients (2 of 3): 1 lbs of ground beef or lamb, 2 cups of bulghur (No. 0)  (برغل ناعم), ½ onion, 2 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of Lebanese 7 spices

1. Grate the onion into very fine pieces
2. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients: ground beef or lamb, bulghur, onion, salt and 7 spices. You can also add a little bit of chili pepper (بهار حر)
3. In a food processor, place 2 hand full of mixture and let it process for about 10min until the dough becomes a paste and everything sticks together
4. Repeat until all of the mixture has become a paste
5. Let the dough rest for at least 2 hrs



Ingredients (3 of 3): 5 teaspoon of butter (زبدة), 2 tbsp of wheat starch  (نشاء) , salt, 2 cups of cold water, 3 ice cubes

MAKING KIBBEH BIL SANIEH (aka. flat kibbeh)

1. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tbsp of wheat starch, salt & 2 cups of cold water. Mix well until the wheat starch has melted in the water. Then add 3 ice cubes to keep the water cold
2. Grease a large oven pan with 1 teaspoon of butter. Set the pan in the freezer for 5min
3. Preheat the oven at 450F
4. Divide the outer dough into 4 even pieces. Spread 1 of the pieces in the pan in an even layer. Wet your hands in the wheat starch & cold water mix and smooth the surface of the outer dough
5. Spread half of the stuffing evenly over the dough in a loose manner. Do not apply pressure on the stuffing or outer dough below it
6. Spread a 2nd layer of outer dough on the stuffing. Again, wet your hands in the wheat starch & cold water mix and smooth the surface of the outer dough
7. Use a knife to cut the kibbeh (all 3 layers) in 4 rectangles, and then cut the upper layer into small diamond shapes (picture below)
8. Add a little bit of butter on top of the kibbeh
9. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20min
10. With the rest of the stuffing & outer layer, store it in the freezer and make a new kibbeh dish quickly and easily at a later date.
Serve warm with plain yogurt (لبن) or Yogurt Cucumber Dip.


Give it a shot and enjoy this great Middle Eastern dish.

Sahtein! (صَحتين)

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.


  1. Win Quibids Auctions:

    This is the initial time I have commented here and I ought to say you give genuine, and top quality facts for bloggers! Wonderful job.

  2. english guru:

    football shape looks awesome man i will try this in weekend

    • jesa:

      @english guru Great try it and let me know how it goes!! Have a good weekend.