Quipe or Kipe is the Dominicanized version of the Lebbanese Kibbeh, and is made with minced beef and bulgur. It is one of our most beloved appetizers, parties-must-have, and this is the recipe that has inspired many others on the internet. See why it's so popular.
Why we ❤️ it
We're not from around here. The Dominican Republic consists of people who arrived from many continents, all amalgamated into one. We are, after all, a nation of people who all came from somewhere else: Taínos, Africans, Europeans, Asians. They came in waves, each giving us bits and pieces of their culture and food to make what is today the Dominican Republic.
This is well illustrated in our adopting kipe as a Dominican food and one of our favorite picaderas, without which no fiesta or feast is complete.
What is kipe?
Quipe or kipe is the Dominicanized version of the Lebanese kibbeh. Quipe originated in the East and South of the Dominican Republic and was brought to our shores by a wave of Middle Eastern immigrants that arrived in the Dominican Republic at the end of the 19th century.
You can learn more about the history of kipe and other Middle Eastern-influenced Dominican dishes here.
Kipe vs. kibbeh
Kipe has undergone some drastic changes from the traditional Middle Eastern kibbeh, starting with the preparation and, just as importantly, using beef in place of lamb (which isn't popular in the DR) and leaving out many spices and herbs (like mint, cumin, pine nuts, and others). Kipe is made with minced beef, bulgur, and spices that may differ from the original kibbeh.
What is bulgur?
Bulgur is sometimes sold under the name coarse bulgur wheat. It would not be hard to find in Middle Eastern and Latino communities. You will need bulgur no. 2 for quipes, but no. 1 also works well.
Best meat for quipe
Dominican quipe is made with ground beef.
Using lean meat produces a kipe that is more fragile. Go with minced beef with a high amount of fat, which will help keep the quipe from breaking. If you are worried about your cholesterol or weight, check this baked recipe, or this vegan baked kipe.
About our recipe
After the recipe for Dominican Cake, this is the recipe that seems to give people the most trouble; this is why we have added a video and detailed instructions that will help beginners get a good result on the first try.
The most important thing to remember is to read the recipe carefully and follow the instructions to a T. If you already know what you're doing, then, by all means, stray from the instructions, as these steps are just what I've found to work for me.
[Recipe + Video] Kipe or Quipe (Dominican-style kibbeh)
Before you start
- Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl and add enough water to cover and let it rest overnight, stir a couple of times while it rests (see notes).
Seasoning the meat for the kipes
- Pulse onion and basil or parsley in the food processor until you obtain a coarse paste.
- In a bowl, mix meat, bell pepper, basil, and onion. Add a pinch of pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Using your hands, mix the meat with the vegetables until you get a uniform mixture.
- Split the meat into thirds and set aside ⅔ of the meat for later use.
To make the filling
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add ⅓ of the meat you've taken out. Brown the meat.
- Add tomato sauce and mix well. Stir in ½ cup of water and the raisins and simmer over medium heat.When all the liquid has evaporated, remove it from the heat. Let it cool down to room temperature. Set aside.
To assemble the kipes
- Drain the leftover water from the bulgur and sieve to get rid of all the water (this is very important!). I suggest squeezing the bulgur with a clean cotton tea towel if you are not sure if there's water left after sieving.
- Add the remaining raw meat to the bulgur. With your hands mix the bulgur and raw meat, kneading it until it is mixed uniformly. This is a crucial step, the better mixed this is, the better chances of kipes not breaking apart in the hot oil. If you want, you can also pulse for a couple of minutes in the food processor for a more compact texture.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the mixture on the palm of your hands and roll it into a ball.Make a deep indentation in the ball by poking it with your index finger.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the indentation. Gather around the hole, closing it, and roll the kipe with the palm of your hands making it as compact as possible. Pinch the ends to give it its traditional shape.Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- Pour oil into a deep pot, and heat over medium-high heat (350 ºF [175 ºF]). The oil has to be very hot, cool oil will make your kipes break down and possibly ruin the oil too.
- When it is time to fry them give them another quick squeeze to make them even more compact.Being very, very careful with splatters (hot oil and cold liquids do not get along well) fry your kipes, preferably one at a time, dropping them in the oil with a slotted spoon to avoid burning yourself.
- After frying, the kipe has to be deep brown outside. Open the first one when you are done; if there is any pink part inside it means there is still raw meat, a bad thing, fry the next one longer. Place them on a paper towel to drain excess oil before serving.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutritional information.
Quipe is the Dominican version of the Middle Eastern kibbeh, known in the English world as kibbeh, or kibbe.
Kipe is made by mixing bulgur and ground meat (typically beef for kipe, and lamb for the Lebanese kibbeh). This is made into a hollow roll and stuffed with cooked ground meat, then deep fried.
The main ingredients in quipe are bulgur and ground beef. Seasonings and spices are also added.
Published May 3, 2011, and last revised