Kebab Halabi

Kebab Halabi

This recipe came to The Times by way of Dalia Mortada in a Sunday Review piece she wrote about the role of food in Syria's culture. She collected this simple yet flavorful dish from Ibtissam Masto, a 36-year-old mother of six, who fled to Beirut in 2013, from Idlib, Syria. In Ms. Masto's house, it is known as kebab halabi, or Aleppo kebab, but the dish is more widely known as kebab hindi, a simple ground beef kebab baked with a tomato-onion reduction.This version calls for adding a bit of onion to the meat mixture for moisture, and sumac to the tomato sauce to give it a kick. It’s a great 30-minute meal, best served with vermicelli rice.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Prepare the kebab: heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the beef, almonds, onion, salt and seven spice mix. Use your hands to massage the ingredients together until mixed, but not overworked.
  2. Step 2

    Lightly oil a 9-inch by 13-inch tray or Pyrex dish. Take a small handful of beef and roll into a 2 ½ to 3-inch cylinder. Repeat until you have 15 little kebabs; set aside.
  3. Step 3

    Prepare the sauce: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set up an ice bath next to the stove. Score an X into the bottom of the tomatoes and drop in the boiling water. Cook 30 to 60 seconds, or until the skin starts to wrinkle and peel back, then remove to the ice bath. Once cool, peel off the skins and dice the tomatoes.
  4. Step 4

    Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and salt and allow them to cook down 5 minutes. Stir in the sumac and set aside.
  5. Step 5

    Place the kebabs in prepared dish and bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon or pour the sauce over the kebabs. Arrange the bell pepper slices on top. Return to the oven for 7 to 10 more minutes, or until the kebabs are cooked through.
  6. Step 6

    Serve warm on top of vermicelli rice.