Akras Kibbi Maklieh Recipe - Authentic Lebanese Dish

Akras Kibbi Maklieh

Akras Kibbi Maklieh Recipe - Authentic Lebanese Dish
Region / culture: Lebanon | Preparation time: 90 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 10


Akras Kibbi Maklieh
Akras Kibbi Maklieh

Akras Kibbi Maklieh is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that combines the rich flavors of spiced meat, burghul (cracked wheat), and pine nuts into a delightful fried delicacy. This recipe is a testament to the culinary heritage of the region, offering a taste that is both unique and deeply satisfying. Perfect for gatherings, special occasions, or a weekend treat, Akras Kibbi Maklieh promises to be a memorable part of any meal.


The origins of Akras Kibbi Maklieh can be traced back to the Levant, a region that has long been celebrated for its rich culinary traditions. Kibbi, in its many forms, is considered a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, with recipes being passed down through generations. The dish reflects the agricultural practices, spices, and flavors of the region, showcasing the importance of meat and grains in the Levantine diet.


Main Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

How to prepare

  1. Wash the burghul under running water, then soak it in water for about 60 minutes.
  2. Drain the burghul, then press it to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Mash the onion in a food processor, then add the minced meat in batches.
  4. Remove the mixture and set it aside.
  5. Mix the meat mixture with the burghul, salt, green chile, allspice, and cinnamon.
  6. Process the mixture well in batches until it forms a firm paste.
  7. Knead the mixture with wet hands until it becomes a smooth paste.
  8. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.


  1. Fry the chopped onion with a dash of salt in shortening until it becomes transparent.
  2. Add the minced meat, salt, and spices to the onions and fry until cooked.
  3. Mix in the pine nuts.
  4. Set the filling aside.
  5. Divide the paste into egg-sized balls and dip your hands in cold water.
  6. Roll each ball between the palms of your hands until it becomes smooth.
  7. Make a hole in the middle of each ball with your forefinger.
  8. Work your finger around the hole until you have a shell of even thickness.
  9. Fill the hole with the filling mixture and close the opening.
  10. Moisten with cold water to seal it well and shape it with two pointed sides.
  11. If any breaks appear in the shell, close them with wet fingers.
  12. Place the balls on a tray.
  13. Heat oil in a pan, then fry the balls until they turn brown evenly and are cooked.
  14. Serve the kibbi hot with tabouleh salad, or a Hess Cucumber Salad, or a creamy cucumber dressing made with yogurt.


  • For a healthier version, try baking the kibbi balls instead of frying.
  • Substitute beef with lamb for a different flavor profile.
  • Add different spices such as cumin or coriander to the meat mixture for variety.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Akras Kibbi Maklieh, consider the following tips:

- Use the finest burghul you can find for a smoother texture.

- Ensure the meat is finely ground to blend seamlessly with the burghul.

- Keep your hands wet when forming the kibbi balls to prevent sticking.

- Fry at a medium-high temperature to achieve a golden brown exterior without overcooking the inside.

Serving Suggestions

Akras Kibbi Maklieh is best served hot with sides that complement its rich flavors. Traditional accompaniments include tabouleh salad, cucumber yogurt salad, or a simple mixed greens salad. For a complete meal, serve with a side of flatbread or rice.

Cooking Techniques

Deep frying is the traditional method for cooking Akras Kibbi Maklieh, providing a crispy exterior and juicy interior. However, baking is a healthier alternative that still yields delicious results.

Ingredient Substitutions

Bulgur can be substituted with quinoa for a gluten-free option.

- Pine nuts can be replaced with chopped walnuts or omitted for those with nut allergies.

Make Ahead Tips

The kibbi balls can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before frying. This can help save time and make meal preparation more convenient.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Akras Kibbi Maklieh on a platter garnished with fresh herbs like parsley or mint. A side of lemon wedges adds a refreshing touch that complements the rich flavors of the dish.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a refreshing beer can pair well with the rich flavors of Akras Kibbi Maklieh. Non-alcoholic options include mint lemonade or sparkling water with a slice of lemon.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Akras Kibbi Maklieh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop until thoroughly warmed.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Akras Kibbi Maklieh contains approximately 450 calories. The majority of these calories come from the combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.


A serving of Akras Kibbi Maklieh contains approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates. The primary source of these carbohydrates is the burghul, which is a whole grain providing a good amount of dietary fiber.


Each serving of Akras Kibbi Maklieh has about 20 grams of fat, mainly from the beef and the oil used for frying. Using a leaner cut of beef and controlling the frying temperature can help manage the fat content.


This dish is a good source of protein, offering around 25 grams per serving. The protein comes from the beef, making it a fulfilling and nutritious option for a meal.

Vitamins and minerals

Akras Kibbi Maklieh is rich in several vitamins and minerals, including iron from the beef, B-vitamins from the burghul, and vitamin E from the frying oil. The pine nuts also add a boost of antioxidants.


This recipe contains potential allergens such as wheat (burghul) and nuts (pine nuts). It is also not suitable for those following a gluten-free diet.


Overall, Akras Kibbi Maklieh is a balanced dish that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. However, it is calorie-dense and contains allergens, so consumption should be mindful.


Akras Kibbi Maklieh is a flavorful and satisfying dish that showcases the rich culinary traditions of the Middle East. With its combination of spiced meat, burghul, and pine nuts, it offers a unique taste experience that is both nutritious and delicious. Whether served at a special occasion or as part of a family meal, it is sure to be a hit with those who appreciate the depth and complexity of Middle Eastern cuisine.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a strong memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Akras Kibbi Maklieh. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in the small village of Beit Mery in Lebanon. My grandmother, who was known throughout the village for her incredible cooking skills, had invited me into her kitchen to help her prepare a special meal for the family.

As I watched her move around the kitchen with such skill and grace, I couldn't help but feel in awe of her. She had learned the art of cooking from her own mother, who had learned it from her mother before her. It was a tradition that had been passed down through the generations, and I was honored to be a part of it.

On this particular day, my grandmother was making Akras Kibbi Maklieh, a traditional Lebanese dish that was a favorite in our family. The dish consisted of crispy bulgur wheat and ground lamb patties, served with a tangy tomato sauce and a side of yogurt.

I watched as my grandmother expertly mixed the bulgur wheat with the ground lamb, adding in a mixture of spices and herbs that filled the kitchen with a mouthwatering aroma. She then shaped the mixture into small patties and fried them until they were golden brown and crispy.

As the patties cooked, my grandmother taught me the importance of patience and attention to detail in cooking. She showed me how to test the oil with a small piece of bread to make sure it was hot enough, and how to carefully flip the patties so they cooked evenly on both sides.

Once the patties were done, my grandmother spooned a generous amount of tomato sauce over them and let them simmer on the stove until the flavors had melded together perfectly. The scent of the dish filled the kitchen, making my mouth water in anticipation of the meal to come.

When the Akras Kibbi Maklieh was finally ready, my grandmother plated it up and served it to the family with a side of creamy yogurt. The first bite was a revelation – the crispy patties gave way to tender, flavorful meat, and the tangy tomato sauce added a burst of freshness to each bite.

As we sat around the table, savoring each mouthful of the delicious dish, my grandmother shared with me the story of how she had learned to make Akras Kibbi Maklieh. She had first encountered the recipe as a young bride, when she moved to Beirut with my grandfather and had to learn to cook for their growing family.

She had sought out the best cooks in the city, learning from them the secrets of Lebanese cuisine and mastering the art of creating dishes that were both comforting and delicious. Over the years, she had honed her skills and developed her own unique twist on traditional recipes, making them her own in the process.

As I listened to her stories, I realized the importance of preserving our culinary heritage and passing it down to future generations. Cooking was more than just a way to nourish our bodies – it was a way to connect with our past, our culture, and our loved ones.

Since that day, I have made Akras Kibbi Maklieh countless times for my own family, each time remembering the lessons my grandmother taught me in her kitchen all those years ago. The dish has become a staple in our household, a reminder of the love and tradition that binds us together.

And as I watch my own grandchildren now, eager to learn the art of cooking from me, I can only hope that they will carry on the legacy of our family's recipes with as much passion and pride as I have. Cooking is a gift, a way to show love and care for those we hold dear, and I am grateful every day for the lessons I learned from my beloved grandmother.


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