Swiss chard kibbe can be considered an appetizer or a side dish and it is typically served with tahini–harrisa sauce, it is basically a vegetarian dish and by substituting the yogurt in the sauce for dairy-free yogurt the recipe becomes 100% vegan!!
This a very famous traditional dish in the coastal regions of Syria, especially in the countrysides.
In the old days, Syrians used to make this dish with khreag an ancient extraction method of olive oil that is about to extinct but used to give ta distinguished taste to olive oil.
In the past, the swiss chard kibbe almost took half a day of preparations!! luckily it’s much easier to make nowadays, but definitely not as tasty as it used to be.
Vegetarian Swiss Chard Kibbe
For the Kibbe :
300g fine bulgur wheat.
1 medium onion (minced).
2 Tbsp flour (whole wheat or AP).
1 Tbsp dried basil.
2 Tbsp olive oil.
2Tbsp lemon juice.
salt & pepper to taste.
for the tahini-harrisa sauce/dip :
1/4 cup tahini.
2-3 Tbsp harrisa.
1 Tbsp yogurt.
1 Tbsp lemon juice.
1 garlic clove (crushed).
2 Tbsp olive oil.
salt , pepper and cumin powder.
For the kibbe :
1- pour hot water over the bulgur wheat without soaking, and mix, you will notice that the bulgur absorbed all the water and doubled in size, you may need to add a little bit more hot water to soften the bulgur.
Alternatively, Place bulgur in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with water just to the top of the bulgur. Place in the microwave and cook on High 1 to 2 minutes until bulgur is swollen and the water is absorbed. Toss briefly and allow to stand until cool.
2- while the bulgur is softening, wash the swiss chard and remove the stems, then chop to bite size chunks.
3- heat the olive oil in a medium size pot and saute the onion on medium heat until translucent then add the swiss chard all at once , you will notice that the swiss chard quantity is reduced during the cooking process.
4- cook uncovered until all the water is evaporated then add the lemon juice, the salt and pepper, then set aside to cool down.
5- drain the swiss chard mix from any liquids, this step is very important as any presence of liquids may cause cracking in kibbe during the stuffing process.
6- after the bulgur has soaked and softened, add the onion, the flour, the dried basil, the salt and pepper and knead (knead with wet hands or you may add 1 Tbsp of water to ease the kneading), the dough should hold its shape when formed.
7- divide the dough into balls (the size of walnut).
8- poke a hole in one end of the ball and gently work your finger into the kibbe until you have a 3-inch-long torpedo-shaped shell with 1/3-inch-thick walls. Cradling the kibbe in one hand so that the walls don’t collapse, spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling into the cavity. Pinch the end to seal, patting the kibbe into a 3-by-1 1/2-inch torpedo. Set the kibbe on a baking sheet lined with plastic. Repeat with the remaining kibbe and filling. (Use your damp hands to shape balls into small torpedoes) .
9- Boil 1 litre of water and add salt before you carefully drop the kibbe (4-5 pieces at a time).
10- Lower the heat and boil the kibbe until the pieces start spining and rise to the top.
11- Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked kibbe, then reboil the water before you add the rest of the pieces.
For the sauce :
Mix the tahini, harrisa, garlic , olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, the salt, pepper and cumin to combine .
Note : Swiss chard kibbe is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled.