Kibbeh Nayeh or Chikoufteh is raw ground meat mixed with fine bulgur and spices. Some people have a problem eating raw meat and fish. Yes, I have a problem with eating raw fish, or any fish as a matter of fact! However, raw meat…..I have no problems! I have grown up eating raw meat, and I think it’s amazing. I have always been in love with Kibbeh Nayeh, or Middle Eastern steak tartare, like I could eat it everyday. If you live in a city where there are plenty of Armenians, you are in luck. If you visit any Armenian market and you can buy chikoufteh or Kibbeh Nayeh meat already prepared. If you don’t, you will need to ask your butcher to grind your trimmed beef top round meat multiple times to achieve a similar texture, or grind it at home the same way. It's very important to get the right texture of the meat. It should not be chunky like a French tartare. It should be smooth like a paste. Because the raw beef is kneeded and mixed with the bulgur and the spices so thoroughly , the raw meat is not even noticable.
Like I have told you before, in the Pan Baked Kibbeh recipe, each country has it's own variation using varying amounts of bulgur, meat, and spices. My recipe is a combination of the Armenian and Middle Eastern ways. This is my favorite way of making this dish, it's Armenian approved, it's Middle Eastern approved,,, It's just perfect!
3/4 cup bulgur
1 small onion, finely chopped, grated, or processed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Seven Spices Baharat
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons red pepper paste
1 lb Chikoufteh meat or very finely ground beef
Fill a small bowl with some very cold water to use to wet your hands as needed during the kneeding and shaping process.
In a large mixing bowl or tray, place the bulgur, onion, pepper paste, red pepper, salt, cumin, and seven baharat.
Add 1/2 cup of ice cold water and kneed thoroughly with your hands for about 5 minutes.
Once the bulgur begins to feel soft, add the meat. Continue to kneed, adding 1/4 cup of cold water at a time till meat and bulgur are completely incorporated and no longer stick to your hands.
To shape the chikoufteh, dip your hands in the water and grab a small handful of the mixture. Form it into a ball and then lightly begin to make a fist with your hand to make it a bit more oblong and leave finger imprints on one side. Place on a serving dish, dip your hands in water and repeat the process until all of the mixture is done. Many people just pat the entire mixture flat on a large flat serving dish and serve with a cake server for cutting and serving to individual plates.
Chikoufteh is served garnished with green onions and parsley or as is. It can also be served with spiced ground beef (gheema), jalapeños, bread, garlic spread, olive oil, lettuce, or Isreali salad.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #EATDRINKPLAYLA. I'd love to see how yours turned out!