Red Kubbeh Soup

Sunday, 26 July 2020

This is one of the most popular soups in Israel. It originated in Iraq and was brought to Israel by the Iraqi Jews who had made Aliyah. It’s common to eat this soup on Friday, before the Sabbath—but we like it any day of the week!


18 oz./500 gr. wheat semolina
½ cup flour
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
Cold water

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
12 oz./350 gr. ground beef
1/3 cup pine-nuts
½ cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped

4 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
3 carrots, peeled
3-4 celery stalks cut into chunks, including leaves
5 beets, peeled
3 bay leaves
5 whole allspice balls
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Pinch chili flakes


Make the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, place semolina, flour, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon and add water slowly and gradually. Continue adding water until dough becomes flexible. If too sticky, add more semolina.
  3. Start kneading by hand and after a short time of kneading, the dough should be like soft play-dough and easy to work with. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Make the filling:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry cumin seeds, garlic, and onion for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until beef is completely brown.
  3. In a separate pan, toast pine-nuts slightly. Add to meat, turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  4. Once the meat is cooled, add parsley or cilantro.

Filling the Kubbeh:

  1. Place a bowl of cold water on a work surface.
  2. Make 16 balls from the dough, about 1-1 1/2 inch in diameter.
  3. Take a ball and hold it in one hand. With the other hand, make a hole in the centre with one finger. Slowly enlarge the hole with a finger until a little bowl is formed. Thin the edges so it can hold a lot of filling.
  4. Hold the dough “bowl” in one hand and fill it with a spoon (about 2 tsp.).
  5. Close the dough over the filling and, using wet hands, roll into a ball again.
  6. Repeat until all the balls are filled.

Cooking the Kubbeh:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil with 1 tbsp. salt.
  2. When the water boils, put the balls in. Bring back up to a gentle boil and cook for 10 min. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.

Preparing the soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry onions, garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds for about 3 min.
  2. Cut carrots lengthwise and each half into 1-inch chunks, then add to the pot. Add 10 – 12 cups of water.
  3. Cut each beet into 8 slices and place in the pot. Add all other ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the soup boils, add kubbeh balls and bring the soup to a boil again. Cook together for an hour on medium-low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Just before serving garnish with a handful of chopped parsley or cilantro.
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