mini-kibbeh/kufteh ball soup

Kibbe is the Armenian term, kufteh the Arab term for a ground meat bulgur mix used to make larger football shaped ground meat and spice mix stuffed balls as well as a layered flat version in a large round pan. bob tried the extremely skilled task of opening up some raw kibbeh paste to form the football shell in which the filling can be inserted before closing, but did not have beginner's luck. It takes experience to master this technique, and patience to execute it. Our Armenian-Lebanese master home cook Isgouhi has both, lucky for us.

But this is a terrific skill free application for the kibbeh mix. You just skip the filling part and roll it into little balls to anchor a very tasty soup.


1 – 1 1/2 lbs small bulgur
1 medium onion, quartered
2 lbs lamb or beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
 2 t salt or to taste
1 T freshly ground pepper or to taste
1/2 t allspice
1/4 c ice chips
soup stuff
20--24 mini-kufteh balls made with left over kufteh shell mix
1 can chick peas
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 T butter
1T light olive oil
1/4 t red papper flakes
1 T tomato paste
1/4 T pepper paste
1 c chicken broth
1 c water
2 T butter
5 sizable garlic cloves, pressed
2 t dried mint


  1. Fry the onion. Put aside.
  2. Fry the kibbeh/kufteh mimi-balls 5 minutes till lightly browned.
  3. Add the drained rinsed chick peas, fry 2 minutes with the tomato and pepper pastes.
  4. Add 1 c warm water with chicken broth cube or package, dissolve, add to pot with 1 more c water.
  5. After 5 minutes, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, and black pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a boil.
  6. Test and adjust for spices (personal taste). bob needs consultants for this step, having little spice talent.
  7. Boil 5–10 minutes covered.
  8. Meanwhile put 2 T butter in a skillet and press the garlic cloves into the butter, then add the dried mint. Lightly brown the garlic.
  9. Add to the pot. Add a bit of hot water to the skillet to clean out any remains stuck to the pan to add to the pot for extra flavor.
  10. After 5 more minutes, remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with crusty bread.

kibbeh/kufteh instructions

  1. If you cannot buy these miniballs and do not have someone to make them for you, it is not a big deal to tackle the job yourself.
  2. Wash the bulgur in a bowl, then drain and cover with water.
  3. Food process the onion until pureed, then remove and set aside half.
  4. Next food process half the meat and seasonings with the remaining onion into a paste, then remove and repeat with the other half of the onions and meat and seasonings. Then  mix them together.
  5. Drain the bulgur and press out the excess liquid with a big spoon.
  6. Again in two food processor passes with half of the meat mixture and bulgur each time, sprinkle some ice chips over and process until swell mixed, then mix together in a large bowl.
  7. Roll the mixture into small balls about 5/8 inch in diameter.
  8. These can be frozen for later use. We have no idea how much of this batch is needed for the soup, but just take out as many as you need for the quantity of soup you make. This soup recipe is for 2 or 3 people, depending on the side dishes, if any.


  1. The kibbeh/kufteh layered version
  2. Our source cookbook is Secrets of Cooking Armenian/Lebanese/Persian by Linda Chirinian, page 194: Ground Meat with Kibbeh.
  3. Illustrations available.
minikuftehballsoup.htm: 27-oct-2019 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]