Chi Kofte (Armenian Steak Tartare) also has a Lebanese cousin called Kibbeh Nayyeh. They are nearly identical, featuring raw meat and bulgur wheat, but are shaped and served differently. With this recipe you can easily make both variations!
1green Italian pepper (Cubanelle)¼-inch diced (about ¾ cup)
⅓cupfinely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½cupsgrade #1 fine bulgur(cracked wheat)
1 ½cupscold waterplus more as needed
1 ½poundsvery fresh top roundtrimmed of all fat and ground 3 to 4 times until fine like a paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoonkosher salt
½teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoonchopped flat-leaf parsley
Extra-virgin olive oilfor serving (optional)
Start by making the gheyma. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When melted add the ground beef, stirring and breaking up into small pieces. When the beef has started to brown but is not completely cooked yet, add the onions and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to cook until the beef is well-browned and cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. The gheyma can be made ahead and reheated as needed. It can also be frozen.
For the salad, mix together all the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve. It will be quite juicy.
Fill a small bowl with some water to use to wet your hands as needed during the mixing and shaping process. In a large mixing bowl, soak the bulgur with the 1 ½ cups cold water for about 15 minutes until absorbed but still wet. Add the meat and mix thoroughly with your hands. Season with salt, paprika, and pepper and mix well. Mix in ¼ cup scallions and ¼ cup chopped parsley.
To shape the kofte, dip your hands in the water and grab a small handful of the mixture. Form it into a ball and then lightly begin to make a fist with your hand to make it a bit more oblong (but not completely flat) and leave finger imprints on one side. Place on a serving dish, dip your hands in water and repeat the process until all of the mixture has been used to form koftes. Garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley and serve with the gheyma, salad, and olive oil (if desired) on the side for topping.
To make Lebanese Kibbeh Nayyeh, reduce the bulgur and water to ½ cup each (for 1 ½ pounds of meat), omit the herbs from the chi kofte mixture and instead of forming it into chunks, pat the entire mixture flat on a large serving dish, use the tines of a fork to draw decorative crisscrossing or diamond-shaped lines across the top, drizzle the top with olive oil (optional) and serve with a cake server or spatula for cutting and serving onto individual plates. Serve with pita bread to scoop up the kibbeh.
This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.