I have finally made KUBBBAAAAAA !!! You don’t know how happy I am, truly ecstatic. I have been putting off making these delicious Iraqi rice patties for years. Instead I opted out to eating them in restaurants and bulk buying from my favourite Mediterranean grocers in London (Alwan Supermarket – Kingsbury High Road NW9).
So what is Kubba? They are mostly shaped like an egg or a disc or a ball pattie that is made of burghal (bulgur) or potato which is stuffed with mince meat mixture. It is usually fried, baked or boiled. Kubba is a Levantine / Middle Eastern cuisine.
Why the name Hallab? Well it is the name of a Syrian city – Aleppo, which is said to have over 12 varieties of kubba ! So this is an Iraqi dish paying homage to the Syrian city by creating a kubba using long grain rice. It only works with long grain rice, I used basmati.
The kubba is deep fried and thus giving it a crunchy shell and a soft delicious centre. The shell is usually thin and heavily stuffed. You need to be an expert at this hence why I never attempted it. I was just too afraid of the assembling part. So I faced my fear last few days ago and did it ! I can’t tell you how wide my smile was as I served them to my family. I finally achieved something that I thought was impossible. Okay so the kubba is not a perfect egg or torpedo shape nor the shell is very thin, but for a first time attempt I was impressed with myself. So impressed that I thought I should quickly share it with you all and encourage you to fica your cooking demands and just cook with courage. In Fact I owe much thanks to my FoodLovers WhatsApp group, who not only encouraged me but gave me different recipes and hints for the kubba, thank you ladies.
2 cups of rice
1 large potato (or two small potatoes)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cornflour
500g mice meat with fat !
1 large onion
1 small bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon of nomi basra (Dried lime)
1 teaspoon 7 spices (optional)
Vegetable oil to fry.
Optional: handful of sliced almonds or /and sultanas (my husband hates them so I left them out)
Step 1- Soak the rice for 20 minutes then wash well and rinse.
Step 2- In a pot of water cook the rice with a diced potato, turmeric and salt. The water level should be just above the rice. Cook on a medium heat and don’t stir. Make sure the rice absorbed all the water then turn off the heat.
Step 3- In a frying pan fry the diced onions and mince meat with the spices and seasoning. Add the chopped parsley and mix well then leave to cool.
Step 4- Once the rice and potato is cooked and tender (it doesn’t matter if its over cooked). Take the pot off the heat and cool. Then place the mixture in a large bowl with a spoonful of cornflour and mash well with a fork, or a potato masher or with a potato ricer you can even place the mixture in a food processor. DO NOT mix into a puree consistency, you need it to resemble a dough consistency, it doesn’t matter if there are lumps or some hard bits in it. Cover the mixture and place in the fridge for an hour.
Step 5- Take the kubba mix out, place a small bowl of water next to you along with the filling mix. Now you can start assembling and making the kubba.
Step 6- With damp hands take some of the rice mix and shape it in your hand into a ball. Make a dent in the middle and start shaping it into a cocoon, put your thump into it and gradually turning the kubba and shaping it in your hand into a torpedo! You can shape it into a flat-ish ball if its easier. Fill the kubba with meat and slowly close the kubba and continuously turning, shaping and slightly wetting your finger tips. (don’t went the kubba, just your finger tips so the mixture doesn’t stick into your hands).
Step 7- Once you finish making the kubbas you place them on a plate then you can deep fry them straight away and serve. Or you can freeze them. If you freeze them then do remember to LIGHTLY dust them with cornflour as soon as they are taken out of the freezer and deep fry them in hot oil till golden brown. The reason for this is so the kubba doesn’t split open. Hint: Fry in hot oil straight from freezer.