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Chamusta Kubbeh

Kubbeh with Okra:Bamia

I always thought of kubbeh as the Sephardi equivalent to matzo balls, but the truth is, they are meat filled dumplings with a very flavorful broth, not quite soup, (in the way I think of a big bowl of soup at least) and it is usually served over rice.  

A Tunisian woman who is married to an Iraqi recently taught me how to make this kubbeh with a lemony broth and the addition of okra (bamia in Israel) as well as the more traditional (according to her) Baharat Kubbeh.  

Chamusta kubbeh refers to the lemony broth and in this recipe we added okra. 

She makes this version round and the other one she makes flatter and larger.  I found I preferred the smaller round dumplings, but if you're making two at the same time it is nice to make them different. 

The most important thing I learned from my day of cooking is that there are not really any rules.  Don't like okra? Leave it out.  Add zucchini or a vegetable you prefer or something you have in the house.  The important ingredients are the spices and they are a combo of basic spices most people have in their house. 

I included measurements for the spices, but it is best to use them to taste, and use a heavy hand. 

Here's a short video to see how they are made. 

Note, the broth is vegetarian so it is easy to make these vegetarian using a fake meat mixture in place of beef.   

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 20 dumplingsServings

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups semolina, about 500 grams or 1 pound
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1-2 cups water

Filling

  • 1 pound (about 500 g ground beef)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Broth

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chicken soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 cup okra
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preparation

1. In a large bowl mix semolina with salt.  Add oil and 1 cup water.  Mix with your hands, adding more water as needed to make a cohesive, slightly sticky dough. Set aside. 

2. Place beef in a bowl.  Prepare a wide shallow pot with a light coating of oil.  In a food processor or chopper, finely chop onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro. Place about a tablespoon of mixture into the prepared pan.  Add remaining mix to the beef with turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.  Mix until combined. 

3. Turn heat to medium flame under pan.  Once the oil begins to shimmer, add turmeric, paprika, salt, chicken soup mix, and pepper. Stir and add water.  Bring to a simmer uncovered. 

4. Prepare dumplings next to soup and add to the broth as they are formed. Take a small golf ball sized piece of dough.  Flatten in your hand.  Add a bit of the beef mixture, wrap the dough around and roll to seal well.  Add to broth and repeat with remaining dough and meat. 

5. Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add okra, stir.  Add lemon juice and taste, adjust flavor as needed.  Cover and simmer another 15-30 minutes.