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Monday, June 01, 2009

Mock Kibbeh with Ras al Hanout


This recipe is again inspired by Kibbeh recipe in Moorish by Lucy and Greg Malouf. Kibbeh is traditionally made with lamb, but since we don't eat lamb, I decided to make it with chickpeas. In that sense this is more of a glorified falafel than a kibbeh :)

Essentially, this is an ordinary pan-fried patty. However, I had made a batch of Ras al Hanout, a Moroccan spice mix from the same book, and liked it a lot, so, was looking for ways to incorporate it in my cooking.

Ras al Hanout is sort of like Indian Garam masala blend of spices, sometimes having up to 30 ingredients some of which are exotic and hard to find. But, this recipe in the book presented a humbler version and I had all the ingredients needed for it. I did adjust the flavors a bit after the first batch which turned out a bit overpowering for my taste, so this is not an authentic spice blend.


Ingredients for Ras al Hanout:
4 Tbsp cumin seeds
4 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp whole black pepper
6 cardamom pods
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
2 Tbsp sweet paprika powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp allspice powder

  1. Toast the first five ingredients lightly till aromatic, allow to cool a bit
  2. Combine all the ingredients and grind to a fine powder, allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container

For mock kibbeh, the texture of the mixture makes it retain its structural integrity, else it falls apart easily or gets dense. I've varied the ingredients a bit each time I've made it and it has all turned out okay so far. Adjust the ingredients below to suit your tastes.

½ cup cooked chick peas, drained and crushed to paste
3-4 Tbsp fine cornmeal, or tabbouleh mix if handy
1-2 shallots minced finely
1 Tbsp Ras al Hanout
salt to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
water as needed
some buckwheat flour or all-purpose flour, as needed, to bind

4-8 Tbsp canola oil for pan-cooking the patty

  1. Combine the ingredients for the patty, knead it well so it can hold its shape; if not, refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes before pan-frying
  2. Heat some oil in a pan, cook the patties on both sides till well done on the inside; I usually "sacrifice" one patty - cut it open to see if it is done
  3. Allow to cool a bit before serving
  4. Drawing inspiration from Lucy & Greg's recipe, I serve it here with some salad made with mesclun greens from our garden

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