Margarita's International Recipes


Kubba Mosul

Mosul-style meat pie

Kubba Mosul

Stuffed kibbeh, a dish of spiced ground meat stuffed in a shell made from a mix of ground meat, onions and bulgur , is eaten throughout the Levant and beyond. It was actually one of the first dishes I learned to make after I got married, over a quarter of a century ago, and it's become a favorite of my husband ever since. They can be made in the shape of meatballs/kofta and boiled, or as pies and be baked. In Mosul, they are shaped as large patties and usually boiled before being fried. It makes for a complex but unique dish that my husband and I enjoyed quite a bit.

The secret to stuffed kibbeh, I learned long ago, is to overbeat the mixture for the shell until it becomes a paste. This requires having a powerful and good quality food processor. Sure, you could do it by hand - but it requires the patience and technique that most modern women are unlikely to have. I learned the hard way that a cheap food processor won't do - I burnt a couple.

You can use either ground beef or ground lamb for both the shell and the stuffing. I've gotten used to doing the shell out of lamb and the stuffing out of beef, so this is what I did this time.

You can cook these kubba in a variety of ways, but I daresay the boil/fry method is the most effective. I did try baking them but they became way too dry. You can also freeze them and cook them directly from their frozen state.

Note: kibbeh, kubba, kubba't, kibbi, kubbat are just different transliterations of the same Arabic word.


Kubba Mosul


    For the filling

  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)

    For the shells

  • 1 1/2 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice

    For the final product

  • cooking oil


Start by making the filling

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft - about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt and spices and cook until browned. Turn off heat. Mix in the pine nuts and raisins, if using, and set aside.

Prepare the shells

In a large bowl mix the bulgur and the water and let rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands until well combined. Transfer to a food processor (you may need to do this in batches) and process until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add more semolina flour if needed to make it a workable texture.

Wet your hands, divide the meat mixture into 8 roughly equal portions and form each into a ball. Set aside.


Split the sides of two ziplock bags, so that you have two large sheets of plastic. Oil one side of each and place, oiled side up, on a working surface.

Place one of the meat balls in the middle of one of the halves of a ziplock bag. Cover with the other side. Flatten the mixture with your hands and then use a rolling pin to shape into a thin circle. Open the ziplock bag and place an 8-10" round plate or lid on the meat. Using a knife cut into a perfect circle. Repeat with the other bag.

Place filling on one of the shells, leaving a 1/2" border. Top with the other shell. Recover with the ziplock bag and flatten again, starting in the center and working towards the edges. Flip the kubba and repeat. Uncover and use your fingers to carefully seal the edges of the kubba. Set aside and repeat to make the rest of the kubba. You can cook them now, or cover them with plastic and freeze until ready to cook.


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot or pan wide enough to accommodate a kubba. Carefully place in a single kubba in the boiling water, cover, and boil for about 3 minutes if fresh, or 5 minutes if frozen. Drain any remaining water.

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add one of the boiled kubbas and cook until crispy. Flip and repeat with the other side. Repeat with the rest of the kubbas.

Kubba Mosul

Adapted primarily from a recipe at Hilda's Kitchen Blog

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