Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

Having been brought over by the small Lebanese community, beef and bulgur wheat balls, or kibe, are a wonderful illustration of Brasil’s mixed culinary heritage.


Quantity Ingredient
150g bulgur wheat
1 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g good-quality lean minced beef
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
vegetable or groundnut oil, for deep-fat frying
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges, to serve
Chilli mayonnaise, to serve
Mango salsa, to serve
or Molho vinagrete, to serve


  1. Place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl and pour over 250 ml boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 30–45 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and half the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Season a third of the minced beef with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Break up any large chunks and cook, stirring frequently, over a high heat until the moisture has evaporated. Set aside and leave to cool.
  3. Put the remaining beef mince in a food processor. Add the bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, remaining garlic and season with salt and pepper. Blend to a paste. Cook a little and taste it to check the seasoning, adjusting if needed. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Moisten your hands, take a tablespoon (about 30 g) of the raw mince paste and shape it into a ball. Holding it in one hand, use the other one to make a hole in it. Fill the pocket with the cooked mince, then seal and shape it into a small rugby ball. Place on the tray and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 170°C. Fry in batches until dark brown and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then serve warm with lime wedges and sauces to dip.
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