Kibbeh with Buttermilk-Tahini Sauce

Cook time 1 hour + 30 minutes soaking
Servings 20

Ingredients

165g fine burghul
500g finely minced lamb
1⁄2 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp plain flour vegetable oil, for frying lemon wedges, to serve

Buttermilk–tahini sauce
1 small garlic clove, peeled
Salt
3 coriander sprigs, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp tahini (hulled or unhulled)
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
200mL buttermilk

Filling
80g pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g lamb mince
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
40g (1⁄3 cup) raisins
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
40g Persian feta

Kibbeh with Buttermilk-Tahini Sauce

Method

Soak the burghul in cold water for 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and dry very well in a clean tea towel.

Meanwhile, to make the buttermilk–tahini sauce, using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, a pinch of salt and the coriander until a rough paste forms. Add the tahini and lemon juice and mix until thick and grainy. Adding a little at a time, mix in the buttermilk until a smooth sauce forms. Set aside until required.

Place the burghul in the bowl of a food processor and blend for two minutes. Now add the lamb, onion, allspice and salt and pepper and blend until a sticky paste forms. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then place in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling, toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat, tossing constantly until golden, about four minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the oil to the pan and fry the onion for 3–5 minutes until soft, then stir in the lamb and cook until it changes colour. Season with salt, pepper and the ground coriander, add the raisins, tomato and mint, and cook for 3–5 minutes until the tomato breaks down a bit. Cool to room temperature before crumbling in the feta and adding the pine nuts.

To make the kibbeh, divide the burghul mixture into golf ball-sized portions. Wet your hands with water and then cup a ball in your hand and make a hole in the centre, twisting at the same time so a hollow shell shape forms. Fill with one tablespoon of the filling and then seal the kibbeh by smoothing the burghul mixture over the filling to form an oval-shaped ball. Repeat this process until all the burghul mixture and filling have been used.

Heat about 0.5cm of vegetable oil to 180°C in a large saucepan. Gently lower in the kibbeh, a few at a time so you do not overcrowd the pan, and cook, turning every few minutes, for 4–5 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Serve the hot kibbeh with the buttermilk–tahini sauce, lemon wedges and a few sprigs of coriander.