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Shared by Jennifer Abadi

Kibbeh Hamdah (Tangy Meatball Soup With Lemon and Celery)

Yield: 8 - 10 servingsTime: 1h 30min

Kibbeh Hamdah (Tangy Meatball Soup With Lemon and Celery)

Yield: 8 - 10 servingsTime: 1h 30min

This recipe was shared by Jennifer Abadi. Read more about her family in "The Syrian Passover Soup That Came to Brooklyn." 


For the meat filling:

  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

For outer meatball shell:

  • ⅔ cup long-grain white rice, finely ground in a coffee or spice grinder (you can use rice flour if you don't own a grinder)
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

For broth:

  • 8 to 10 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 2½ cups celery, coarsely chopped  
  • 1¼ cups finely chopped scallions or white onions
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped  
  • 1 cup white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • About 1 teaspoon kosher salt (amount depends on how much salt is already in your stock!) 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons dried mint
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 large yellow squash or zucchini, stem and end discarded
Cooking ProjectsSoups & StewsPassover Meat Kosher for PassoverMiddle East


  • Step 1

    Prepare the filling: Place all the filling ingredients in a bowl and squeeze together with your hands until smooth. Taking 1 level teaspoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and place on a tray. Set aside. 

  • Step 2

    Prepare the outer shell mixture: Pour ground rice (or Cream of Rice cereal) into a food processor and pulse with the meat and salt until a smooth “dough” is formed. 
    Roll 1 level tablespoon of the dough into a ball, and place it onto a separate tray.  
    Continue until mixture is finished. 

  • Step 3

    Form and stuff the shells: Press your thumb into the center of one shell ball, and turn dough while pinching it into a thin, hollow cup. Take one of the filling meatballs and stuff it into the cup, then pinch it closed. Lightly dampen your palms with cold water, and roll it back into a smooth ball without cracks or lumps. If you prefer, you can pinch the ends to create a torpedo shape. (If you have extra meatballs, save them to toss into the soup.) 

  • Step 4

    Prepare the broth and serve: Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the celery, scallions (or onions), garlic, and parsley and mix well. Simmer partially covered, for 10 minutes.  

  • Step 5

    Add the carrots, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Grind the dried mint between your palms directly over the pot. Mix and continue to simmer 15 minutes, partially covered.

  • Step 6

    Add the lemon (or lime) juice and mix. Place the whole squash (or zucchini) into the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

  • Step 7

    Gently drop each meatball into the soup, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes. 

  • Step 8

    Serve the soup: Just before serving, remove the squash (or zucchini), slice it into 1-inch rounds, and return it to the soup. Serve hot in a large serving bowl or in individual bowls.

Excerpted from Too Good To Passover by Jennifer Felicia Abadi. Copyright © 2018.