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Culinary authority Ghillie James' new book, Amazing Grains, is full of sweet and savory recipes for any meal of the day. Learning how to work with a variety of grains — and there are a lot — will expand your cooking repertoire without breaking the bank. Make these meaty Middle Eastern bites as an appetizer or main course.

Culinary authority Ghillie James' new book, Amazing Grains, is full of sweet and savory recipes for any meal of the day. Learning how to work with a variety of grains — and there are a lot — will expand your cooking repertoire without breaking the bank. Make these meaty Middle Eastern bites as an appetizer or main course.

The Arabic word kubbah means ball, and these crispy morsels of ground meat with bulgur and onion are a classic in Levantine cuisine. The paste is stuffed and then usually shaped into mini torpedoes (a role commonly given to a prospective bride in Lebanon and Syria). They are then fried or grilled and served with salad and a tahini or yogurt dip. Known around the Middle East variously as kobeiba, cubbeh, bulgar koftesi or kubba, they can be made bigger or smaller depending on whether you want to serve them as a nibble, an appetizer or as a main course. I like to eat the kibbeh with crunchy leaves, flatbreads and a Greek-style salad. And I prefer them made with beef but they are most commonly made with lamb or even goat; it’s best to use non-lean, good-quality meat. You can prepare the kibbeh earlier in the day and keep in the fridge.

Reprinted with permission from Amazing Grains