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Lamb and Buckwheat Kibbeh with Beetroot, Cucumber and Mint Cacik

Kibbeh are a Lebanese/Turkish torpedo-shaped meatball cut with the addition of bulgur wheat. This is a great way of reducing your meat consumption without really noticing.

As I have an allergy to wheat and need to be gluten-free, I developed these Kibbeh using cooked toasted buckwheat and delicious they are too. Buckwheat is not a grain but a seed related to the sorrel and rhubarb family. It was once widely cultivated but since the introduction of nitrogen based fertilisers, production fell as other grains were able to be grown more easily. It is chock full of nutrients: manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, and is rich in phytic acid which increases the absorption of the above minerals. It is also believed to lower cholesterol and protect against CanSur.

I have a bit of an obsession with beetroot at the moment, partly because it is so good for the body, but also the flavour and the colour enlivens any dish to which it is added and is just so summery and pretty. But not all beetroot are created equal - some varieties just do not add the same depth of colour as others. I find the organic beetroot available at Tesco to be a great variety.

This Beetroot Cacik is based on the Turkish yoghurt and cucumber side dish, but uses coconut yoghurt, which is a fine substitute for thick Greek-style yoghurts if you are vegan or dairy-free. This Cacik uses beetroot, cucumber, chopped mint and garlic and not only is it delicious as an accompaniment to the Lamb Kibbeh but also gorgeous as a colourful dip at a barbecue. On the photo this is served with gluten and wheat-free flatbreads.


Serves 2 - 4

For the Lamb Kibbeh

75 g cooked toasted buckwheat

400 g lamb mince

1 tsp toasted cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbs rose water (optional)

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbs chopped mint

3 cloves organic garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

** 1 cup of Healing Intent

For the Cacik

200 g thick coconut yoghurt

60 g coarsely peeled and thickly grated organic cucumber

2 tbs chopped mint

1 medium beetroot, thickly grated

3 cloves garlic, crushed into a little pink Himalayan salt

pink Himalayan salt and black pepper

slug of organic olive oil

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1. Cook the toasted buckwheat according to the packet instructions, for around 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and rinse and pat dry with kitchen towel.

2. For the Kibbeh, combine the cooled buckwheat, lamb, spices, salt, onion, garlic and mint and the optional rose water with your hands until thoroughly incorporated. The rose water gives a Middle Eastern flavour but leave it out if you don't have any. (Incidentally rose water is great with chocolate!).

3. For the Cacik, grate the beetroot and cucumber and squeeze to get rid of any liquid. Add half a tsp salt and leave for 10 minutes, squeezing out any further excess liquid. Combine with the yoghurt, mint, garlic and olive oil, and adjust seasoning.

4. Shape the Kibbeh into torpedo-shaped balls and dry fry (i.e. the Kibbeh will produce its own fat) for around 10 minutes until golden. Garnish with a little chopped mint and serve with the Cacik and flatbreads. I have used gluten free, wheat free breads with this.


** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.

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