Christmas Kubbe

Kubbe is Christmas.  Growing up, I always knew that Christmas was around the corner when my mother starter frying up these glorious crispy bulgar bites stuffed with spiced beef and nuts.  Mama would fry them up in the hundred during the autumn and freeze them in bags of 12 so that we could slowly work through them over advent, Christmas and New Year.    Each family has its own Christmas day traditions, and ours included eating these kubbe for breakfast around the tree with tea while we slowly opened all our presents.

While my own little family now have our own traditions, I couldn’t imagine not having kubbe over the festive period.  I remember once when I was a teenager, we almost did have to go without them when my brothers and their friends came home from the pub and ate through most of a tray my mother had left to cool in the kitchen overnight.

Mama and I used to use an ancient metal crank mincer to manually mix the beef and bulgar together, however recently a friend lent me her magimix and it is a complete game-changer.  I urge you to all use a machine!


bulgar mix

3 cups bulgar wheat

500 g minced beef

1 large onion

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp mixed spice

salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil



750g minced beef

1 large onion

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp mixed spice

¼  tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cinnamon

200g pine nuts, toasted

4 tbsp olive oil

vegetable oil


soak the bulgar wheat in water for 30 minutes, then thoroughly drain until all excess liquid is removed.

prepare the stuffing by frying the beef and onion in the olive oil until browned and then add all the spices.

Add the toasted pine nuts and mix well then set aside to cool.

Prepare the bulgar mix by putting the bulgar wheat, meat and onion in a food processor until a thick paste (you may have to do this in batches).  Then put the mixture in a large bowl and add the spices and knead together.

Cover your hands with olive oil and keep in a small bowl nearby to keep hands oiled.  Make the kubbe by shaping egg sized ovals in your hand and then push you thumb in to create a well and stuff with the cooled cooked meat stuffing mixture and then close the bulgar mixture back over the stuffing and seal.  Continue to do this until all the bulgar and stuffing mixtures are finished. Should make 30-40 kubbe pieces.

Then in a heavy bottomed pan, add the vegetable oil and deep fry the kubbe in hot oil a few at a time until crisp and golden  brown- about 3-5 minutes in the hot oil.  Continue until all are fried and then eat warm with yoghurt or cool down to store or freeze.  Will last 6 months in the freezer.

 Photographs:  Mark Kensett and Phoebe Rison

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