Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kibbeh Nayyah & Homusah ( Middle Eastern Tartare)

                                                      Kibbeh Nayyah & Homisah

**This breath-taking dish takes me back to my childhood when our families went to Alabama to stay with Sitti and Jiddeh (my Lebanese grandparents.) It was a hay day treat for all the young cousins playing in the summer air, then sitting at outdoor picnic tables that were covered with pans of beautiful tabouleh, stuffed cabbage and grape leaves brought out by all the aunts and uncles from the kitchen. The fragrant spices lured us as we all sat down to pray and enjoy the art that fell from Sitti's wonderful hands!
 If you're one who likes a different take on a familiar group of flavors, you'll adore this Syrian meat meal. The loaf of raw meat is blessed with beautiful spices and extended with bulghar wheat (cracked wheat). If you're not one who is comfortable with eating raw meat or want a comparable example, it compares to steak tartare, only covered with a steamed tomato and meaty gravy sauce.  (See below for BAKED  or fried version.)

Ingredients For The Nayyah:

~21/2- 3 lbs ground sirloin or a combination of ground lamb with sirloin and/or ground round or chuck
~ 2-3 medium minced white onions (yellow is okay)
~1 3/4 cups  #1 grain bulghar wheat soaked in 1/2 cup tomato juice.
~2 tbs each of:allspice, cinnamon
~3 tbs ea: Kosher or Sea Salt and black pepper More as you mix for selected taste. ( You may also mix those portions with a low sodium soy sauce.)  
~1 teaspoons each: cayenne pepper and garlic
~1 14-15 oz can of drained stewed or diced tomatoes. 
~ Ice water
Extra Virgin Olive oil
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped  (extra sprigs
for garnish.)
1/2 cup of pine nuts ( best when slightly toasted)
       In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with your hands, folding over and over again, then mixing in a circle till it becomes the consistency of a dough. Sprinkle ice water off and on during this step so that the spices evenly flavor the meat dough. (Taste a tiny bit on your tongue for confirmation.)
Form raw meat in oval form on a dish layered with any soft lettuce and some mint leaves. Brush with olive oil, top with a quarter of an onion, more mint twigs. (I form a cross on top as my faith believes will bless the uncooked beauty!) Refrigerate at least one hour.

The Homisah Sauce:
Brown  1/2 -3/4 lb. ground chuck in medium sauce pan. Drain. Add 1 small diced onion, 1 can of stewed tomatoesl Add 2 tbs each: cinnamon, allspice, and 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Cook on low heat till it thickens.

When serving, add sauce over the raw portion along with buttered warm pita bread and fresh green onions.
My Sitti 
 loved serving her ice cold "Coke-Cola" to refresh the spice-drenched taste buds. They DO go together so well!
Any questions, comments? Feel free to do so. Enjoy!

** If you don't want it raw, no problem...just BAKE or fry OR make both!
Simply prepare as suggested,  pour a thin stream of olive oil on the bottom of a 13 X 9 metal pan (preferable), pack and press meat dough.  With a knife, cut  criss-cross diagonally into approximatedly 3 inch diamond shape pieces; with the point of the knife, poke a tiny slit in the center of each piece so steam escapes, cover pan with a sheet of foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until very brown. When done, remove foil. Pour off extra liquid into a can or container and serve with Greek or plain fat free yogurt! Absolutely divine! ( I let mine rest uncovered for about 10 minutes.)

**  For fried, just "patty out" an amount that fits your palm till smooth and fry 5 at a time in 1/4 cup of olive oil till toasty brown. Remove each cooked piece and place on paper towel lined plate. Serve with the yogurt.

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