Cooking Class: Kibbeh Hamdah–Syrian Soup with Lemon, Mint, and Meatballs with Jennifer Abadi - Context Travel

Cooking Class: Kibbeh Hamdah–Syrian Soup with Lemon, Mint, and Meatballs with Jennifer Abadi


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What are Kibbeh, and where does the name come from? Learn a little bit about the history of this delicious Near Eastern stuffed meatball, and how to make this impressive soup at home.

The word “el’kubbetun/kubbeh(tun)” is a seventh-century Classical Arabic word for “ball,” deriving from an old term for forming a ball of thread. Whether it’s pronounced Kibbeh, Kubba, Kobeiba, Kibbee, or Koupes, nearly endless dishes made out of ground meat and grain paste have been a Near Eastern delicacy for centuries.

Today, Muslims, Christians, and Jews from all over the world continue to prepare Kibbeh in a variety of ways: raw, fried as a stuffed pastry, baked in a pan, or most commonly formed into a meatball and stewed in a sauce or broth. In the Lebanese/Syrian version of Kibbeh Ney’yeh, raw ground lamb is combined with cumin, mint, cinnamon, and chopped onion, while in Kibbeh f’il Seneey’yeh, a ground spiced meat is stuffed in-between a bulgur and meat dough and baked in a pan. In a popular Iraqi version known as Kubbeh Selek, a semolina dumpling is stuffed with ground beef, paprika, and cumin and stewed in a tangy red sauce of tomatoes, beets, and lemon. And in the well-known Kibbeh Nablisee’yeh (named after the Palestinian city of Nablus in Israel’s West Bank territory) a bulgur crusted torpedo pastry stuffed with spiced meat is deep-fried and served with a squeezed lemon.

In this hands-on cooking lesson, Jennifer will teach her family’s secret Syrian Kibbeh Hamdah recipe — a lemony soup of mint, parsley, and vegetables, with bulgur-stuffed meatballs and a whole steamed squash. Led by Sephardic and Middle Eastern food instructor, recipe preserver, and cookbook author Jennifer Abadi, this interactive hands-on seminar will teach you how to make this traditional Levantine dish. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the flavors and techniques of this classic dish and learn what makes it so special to Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the Near East and in the diaspora around the world.

Below are the items you’ll want to participate in this class. We will email attendees the full recipe with measurements and instructions prior to the class, so that you can pre-measure ingredients before joining.

Ingredients (for 4-6)

  • ½ pound ground chuck
  • 1/3 cup long-grain white rice (if you have a meat or spice grinder) or fine-grain bulgur wheat (coarseness #1) or Cream of Rice cereal (if you don’t own a grinder)
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ pound ground lamb or beef
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley leaves
  • Two 14.5-ounce cans (about 4 cups) low- or no-sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed white potatoes (any kind)
  • 1¼ cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
  • ½ cup of ¼-inch-thick carrot slices
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen and defrosted peas (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large yellow squash or zucchini

Special equipment

We don’t list every item you’ll need here (e.g., standard items like knives, bowls, cutting boards). But we do our best to identify items that may not be in every kitchen, and alternatives where possible.

  • Meat grinder, spice grinder, or food processor
  • Large soup pot
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Jennifer Abadi is a native New Yorker, born, bred and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She is half Sephardic (Aleppo, Syria) and half Ashkenazic (Riga, Latvia). She is a researcher, developer, and preserver of Judeo-Arabic and Sephardic recipes and food customs, focusing on the Jewish communities of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is the author of two cookbooks: "Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe" and "A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen." Jennifer teaches cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan (JCC), as well as privately. Jennifer has been providing Jewish Food & Culture tours on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for Context Travel since 2012."

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
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L
L.
Simple Yet Scrumptious!

This is my third cooking class with Jennifer. Always simple, easy-to-follow recipes with very clear instructions, and so tasty! I have been able to complete the dish with every class, and this is not necessarily my experience with all cooking classes I have taken. I also appreciate the history behind the dishes I have learned to cook. Looking forward to many more!

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
100%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
L
L.
Simple Yet Scrumptious!

This is my third cooking class with Jennifer. Always simple, easy-to-follow recipes with very clear instructions, and so tasty! I have been able to complete the dish with every class, and this is not necessarily my experience with all cooking classes I have taken. I also appreciate the history behind the dishes I have learned to cook. Looking forward to many more!