Friday, September 24, 2010

Heck Yes to Kurdistan!

First and foremost,  I believe I owe you each a big fat french kiss for voting me through to the second round of Project Food Blog!  I flove you!  

Secondly. It’s time you heard about my love affair with Kurdistan. 

I am going to go ahead and guess that 95% of the people reading this don’t know that I spent the majority of my senior year of college thinking about Kurdistan. (well… the part of senior year where I wasn’t expanding my palate to all types of fermented grapes…) The truth is, I (with the help of the rest of team Kurd) wrote a 75 page dissertation on the United States foreign policy with Turkey and how it should be changed.  Kurdistan is like the red headed step child of Turkey and therefore I naturally took a liking to her.  I’ll tell ya why. A-Here we go!

Reasons why I, Whitney Amuse Bouche Moss, love Kurdistan:

Kurdistan is to Turkey, as Eastern Kentuckians are to Kentucky. (I am from Kentucky, so I feel like it’s okay to say it…)
Here the red headed stepchild syndrome comes into play, only in Kentucky it’s more like barefoot toothless relatives syndrome.  Turkey actually throughout the 30’s and 40’s referred to Kurds as “Mountain Turks” and to that I say BRAVO.  We should go ahead and give Turkey credit for inspiring the movie ‘Mean Girls’.

In 2003 when American Troops entered Iraq, the Kurdish people welcomed them with dancing in the streets. 
Are you kidding me? Do you know what I would do if someone welcomed me by dancing in the streets?  Well obviously I would dance back!  Way to rage, Kurds. way. to. rage!

Finally, Kurdish traditional dishes are based off 2 of the greatest things ever.  MEAT AND CARBS PEOPLE. Meat. And. Carbs.
                And sometimes it’s fried. So obviously, I’m in.

The dishes featured in this post are traditional Kurdish recipes that are found in Kurdistan’s shared cultures: Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.  These kibbeh or kubba are also found frequently in older Jewish families, and I’d just like to call that a BONUS! (As previously mentioned in many posts, Dad is Jewish.)  Kurdish tradition most frequently fries these kubba and you’ll see an ingredient which we aren’t terribly familiar with here. Baharat.  It’s a Turkish spice that contains black pepper, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, and nutmeg.  I actually couldn’t find Baharat, but never fear, with a little research and some common pantry spices we were Baharating all over the kitchen!  Without further ado, I’d like to welcome you to our Kurd-fest 2010. Buckle up and get your fry daddy out. 

Fried Kubba from the Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking
(These are supposed to be shaped like a torpedo. Have I mentioned Kurdish people are awesome? Torpedo food? I mean way to market to an immature child like myself!)

Kubba exterior
1 cup fine grain bulgur
1 cup fresh lean lamb minced
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Baharat
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons semolina flour

Kubba Filling
1 onion
1 ½ cup ground lamb
½ cup pistachios
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ teaspoon baharat
Pomegranate seeds
Olive oil
Beef stock

To make the shell, soak bulgur in water for about half an hour. Drain excess water by squeezing it out with your hands. Puree the onions, meat and spices in a food processor until completely smooth. Add the bulgur and process until well mixed. Remove and knead until smooth.  If the dough seems too course you can add a few tablespoons of flour or egg. (I sure did!)  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. The dough should be cold, smooth and a sticky.

For the filling, saute the onion in olive oil until golden. Add the lamb and brown breaking up the meat. Add about ½ cup of beef stock and cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the nuts, baharat, and pomegranate seeds and cook for another minute. Cool completely.

To put it together, take about a walnut size piece of dough and using your thumb, make a hole to put filling in. These need to be thin, otherwise it will be too thick since it expands while cooking.  It is very helpful to have a bowl of water near you to help shape the shells if they become sticky.  Wet hands are key.   (Bubby’s all across the middle east have perfected this art of stuffing a Kubba.  What the flip! I have to get my hands on a bubby.)

Kubbat Shorba from the Essential Mediterranean Cookbook, section Turkey.
(These are more circular dumpling shaped kubba.)

8 cups chicken stock
4 large tomatoes pureed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
1-2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
1 lemon
½ teaspoon baharat
6 tbsp allspice
3 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cloves
½ tbsp cardamom

Saute onion until translucent. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, just long enough to release the flavor.  Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and cook for about 40 minutes.

Meat filling
1/3 teaspoon baharat spice
1 cup minced lamb
½ minced medium onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery leaves

Combine all the ingredients for the filling. Mix well.

Kibbeh shell
2 cups semolina flour
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients until a dough is formed. This is quick, probably 30 seconds in the kitchenaid.

Take a piece of dough the size of a half dollar, shape the dough into a ball and with your thumb make a hole for the stuffing. Work the dough around the meat and secure with wet fingers.  The sides of the shell should be thin, as the dough will expand in the soup. A bowl of water is useful to dip your hands in to keep the dough from sticking. When the soup is boiling add the kibbeh. Cook for about 20 minutes or until they begin to float.  Do not put these in until you are 20 minutes out from dinner time, they will fall apart on you if cooked too long. 

I am not going to lie to you, this kubba business takes a lot of work.  Back in the day they had entire villages making kubba because it took so long from start to finish.  Obviously, for you to learn a little bit about Kurdistan, it was well worth the troubles.   

Thanks again for making my life and voting Amuse Bouche through to round 2 of Project Food Blog.  Voting opens Monday, September 27th. Don't worry, I'll remind you. A-shank-ayou-berry-much! I am sending a big ole piece of baklava your way!  Abig Kiss! 




  1. funny post...nice job...well'll get my vote!

  2. Congrats! Thanks for introducing me to something I'm never had before, it sounds wonderful! Good Luck!

  3. Ha ha! Excellent post!

  4. Well done, definitely enjoyed reading your post ! I actually had Kibbeh for lunch yesterday and on my list of foods that I enjoy. Good Luck !

  5. Wow, I know nothing about food from Kurdistan. The kubba looks delicious.

  6. Congrats on advancing to round 2! Unique post, very interesting - a delightful and unexpected choice! Bravo! Good luck!

  7. Congratulations! Let's hope we both make it to the next round!

  8. nice job on the ethnicity of this dish :) totally new to me. grats! :)

  9. This looks fantastic! Great job! Kurdistan, who knew (=

  10. You're so hilarious, I couldn't stop laughing. :) I've never even heard of kubba and it was great to learn about it and Kurdistan. Your kubba look great and I love the pictures. You did a fantastic job on the 2nd challenge. Congrats on making it through and good luck! :)

  11. congratulations on getting through! you have chosen an interesting culture :)

  12. Love your choice for the 2nd round, definitely going to be one of the more unique. You will be getting a vote from me. Glad to see you made it to the next round, you always make me laugh.

  13. Torpedo kubbah? That is awesome!

    Congrats on making it to the next round

  14. I thought a 75 page thesis on children and sport was difficult, but foreign policy!? you've got me beat! ha Looks like an interesting dish.. good luck in the challenge!

  15. Congrats! You have my vote. =)

  16. i just love reading your blog! Kudos to you for expanding our understanding of the culture in a part of the world most of only know as a place of conflict. Good luck in the contest! Now that I am out, you are my favorite :)

  17. I've learned a lot reading your blog! Thanks for sharing. I will vote for you!

  18. I couldn't stop giggling! Very funny approach to Kurdish cuisine. Great post and best of luck in round 2!!!

  19. Looks delicious! I loved learning about a country that I've never heard of (and I've worked in a University Geography Department - of course it was an office positions and I was dealing with finances mostly...)

  20. Congrats on advancing to the second round. Love it! Showed up as a little heart on top of a trophy when I went to foodbuzz. :)

    I suck at geography, but now I shall never again confuse Kurbistan - hope of the fried torpedo food. Thanks for keeping education interesting.

  21. Really beautiful and congrats are in order! Great entry!

  22. Go, Team Kurdistan!! I love that the torpedo guys have meat on the inside AND meat on the outside. That is some serious dedication to protein! :)

  23. Great job on your post! Pretty amazing foods. I learned alot!

  24. I love this contest because I feel like I am discovering so many fun bloggers. Your post was hillarious and you definitely get props for picking a country that is outside the expected. You have my vote.

  25. Well I guess you are my East Kentucky, because I did Turkish! Great job. Great history (personal and global). GREG

  26. Great post, I'm so loving the contest! Your humor is awesome. I voted for you.

    You can find my entry at

    Hope you vote for me!

  27. love reading your blog -and this post is no exception. great job! you got my vote!

  28. I like your sense of humor, and your food. Good luck :)

  29. Good job. You have my vote

  30. Very creative choice! Loved the post (but, from the looks of the comments you're gonna owe french kisses to a heck of a lot of people). You have my vote :)

  31. Great entry and love the dish. off to vote for you, please check my 2nd entry too!

  32. WOW, what a post! I thank you for the inclusion of the map, I'm very locationally challenged. Congrats on moving to round two, hope to see you in round three with me :-)

  33. Nice job baby...I agree let's go to Turkey and play at the Spice Bizzar :) Love this post :)

  34. Interesting made it look good! Love your blog. You got my vote! Good luck!

  35. I love that I just laughed out loud while learning about Kurdistan, which I admit I didn't even know where it was until now. You're hilarious, as usual! Voted!

  36. Yummy and interesting post! I voted for you. Best of luck in the challenge.

  37. You're hilarious! Maybe there's a lot of work involved, but you probably end up with a million of these babies, so it pays off. Voting!

  38. I've never read your blog before but you definitely sucked me in with the title of this post! Awesome recipes too :-).

  39. Awesome job of incorporating the history of the region into your post, I wish they taught it in school the way you just did. You've got my vote, best of luck moving on!

    Lick My Spoon

  40. I have to admit I clicked to see what Kurdistan cuisine would be like, and you hooked me. I wish I could taste it (and that we could taste everyone's entries -- what a party that would be!) You got our vote!

    (Our entry is: )

  41. My grandmother's family is from Lebanon/Syria and she makes awesome kibbeh! Yours looks great... and it's called kubba instead, so that makes it even more fun LOL. The soup is totally new to me, and it looks fantastic!

  42. slaw! i love kurdistan. i have many friends from kurdistan thru the net. thanks for sharing their dish. brisima!
    you got my vote.

  43. kaitlyn.rowseySeptember 30, 2010

    i read your blog religiously... and i want to eat this food like yesterday. make it for the mizzies 10 year in april?!?! miss you funny girl!!

  44. oh and huge congratulations on advancement to the next challenge!