Kibbeh nayyeh
Place of originLebanon[1]
Region or stateLevant[2]
Main ingredientsMinced raw lamb or beef or Goat meat, bulgur, spices
Food energy
(per serving)
0.1 kcal (0 kJ)

Kibbeh nayyeh or raw kibbeh (Arabic: كبة نيئة) is a Lebanese[3][4][5] mezze popular in the Levant. It consists of minced raw lamb mixed with fine bulgur and spices.

Kibbeh nayyeh is often served with mint leaves, olive oil, and green onions. Pita bread is used to scoop it. It is sometimes served with a sauce of garlic or olive oil. The dish has a unique versatility in that any leftovers are cooked, creating a different dish.

Many recipes call for kibbe nayyeh as the "shell" for cooked kibbe, as well. In this case, however, the kibbe nayyeh is rolled into a ball and stuffed with lamb, onions, pine nuts and spices, then fried.

As in other dishes based on raw meat, health departments urge to exercise extreme caution when preparing and eating this kind of food.[6][7] Kibbeh nayyeh is a popular dish among Christians in the Middle East on regular and holiday occasions such as Christmas and Easter.[8] It is also a popular dish among Palestinians of the Galilee.


The origin of kibbeh nayyeh goes back to the late 13th-century. In 1283 the Mamluk Sultanate invaded the Maronite region of Jebbet Bsharri (modern day Bsharri and Zgharta districts in North Lebanon) razing many villages and slaughtering or taking captive the inhabitants. When the Mamluks reached the village of Hadath El Jebbeh its inhabitants fled and took refuge in the 'Asi-al-Hadath grotto. The Mamluks then built a watchtower at the entrance of the grotto to monitor the Maronites. As a result of this many Maronites starved to death in the grotto. In order to survive the Maronites started to eat raw meat, mixed with bulgur pounded in a stone mortar, to avoid revealing their location to the Mamluks as cooking the meat would alert the Mamluks from the smoke of the fire. The siege ended after seven years when the Mamluks discovered the canal which fed water to the grotto by making their horses thristy to discover the water source which they subsequently cut off from the grotto. This forced the Maronites to leave the grotto which led to the slaughtering of the men with the women being taken into captivity and the village of Hadath El Jebbeh being burnt to the ground. The tradition of kibbeh nayyeh was preserved and passed into present times as a reminder of the oppression and injustice that the Maronites went through.[9][10]

See also


  1. ^ Abood, Maureen (2013-02-07). "Why Lebanese Love Their Raw Kibbeh". NPR. In the old days, says Mouzawak, "the Lebanese used to kill an animal on Sundays and on feast days. Raw meat was eaten immediately." Lebanese traditionally relied on that freshness to help guarantee the meat's safety.
  2. ^ Marks, Gil (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 978-0-544-18631-6 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Hage, Ghassan (2021). The Diasporic Condition: Ethnographic Explorations of the Lebanese in the World. The University of Chicago Press. p. 120. ISBN 9780226547060.
  4. ^ Annia Ciezadlo (2012). Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. p. 349. ISBN 978-1-4391-5753-4.
  5. ^ "Kibbeh nayyeh". AtlasMedia Ltd.
  6. ^ Whipp, Ted (26 June 2012). "Raw meat dish banned by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit". Windsor Star. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  7. ^ Minicuci, Angela. "Salmonella Outbreak in Southeast Michigan Linked to Consumption of Raw Ground Beef". Michigan Department of Community Health. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  8. ^ Edelstein, Sari (2010). Food, Cuisine, and Cultural Competency for Culinary, Hospitality, and Nutrition Professionals. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 585. ISBN 9781449618117.
  9. ^ Douaihy, Estephan (1951). Tārīkh al Azminah. Beirut: al-Maṭbaʻah al-Kāthūlīkīyah. p. 146.
  10. ^ "شو قصة "الكبّة النيّة"؟". جريدة الرأي. 4 February 2023.