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Kubba Halab on a red plate with tabouli in a bowl
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5 from 5 votes

Kubba't Halab (Meat-Filled Rice Balls)

These Syrian appetizers are filled with spiced meat and have a crunchy shell made with a mixture of rice and potatoes.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Soaking Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Appetizers, Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Syrian
Servings: 40 kubba
Calories: 61kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


Shell / Paste

  • cups Basmati rice
  • 1 medium potato (8 ounces)
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium egg
  • ¼ cup fine breadcrumbs (or more, if needed)


  • ¾ pound ground beef or lamb (lean)
  • 1 small onion (minced)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoon Baharat (recipe, or see recipe notes)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley


  • 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)


Shell Dough/Paste

  • Wash and rinse the rice and chopped potatoes. Soak both in cold water for 20 minutes. While they are soaking, prepare the filling.
  • Drain rice and potatoes and add to a medium-sized pot. Pour 5 cups of water over them and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Add rice, potatoes, salt, egg, and turmeric into a food processor. Pulse to form a paste or dough. Mix in the bread crumbs.

The Filling

  • Saute meat, minced onion, and filling spices and seasoning. Break up the meat as you stir the ingredients in the pan so that no large clumps remain. Add parsley and cook for one more minute, then cool. While the filling is being cooled, cook the rice and potatoes.

How to Assemble Kubba Halab

  • Take a walnut-sized portion of the rice-dough and roll it into a ball. Make a dent in the center, to form a bowl. Add one tablespoon of filling into the center, then pinch the dough closed.
  • Dip your hands in cold water, as needed, and shape the filled dough into a torpedo or football-shaped dumpling with pointy ends. Continue until the dough and filling ingredients are used up.

Frying the Kubba

  • Fry the Kubba in 375° F vegetable oil until golden brown or approximately 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels and serve while hot.



  • Be sure to wet your hands often, while you're forming the dumplings. The dough is a lot easier to work with when you have wet hands.
  • If the paste is too sticky, add bread crumbs, a little at a time, until it's manageable.
  • To freeze the Kubba, place in a single layer on a tray to freeze, then store in freezer bags.
  • You can also freeze Kubba AFTER it's been fried. Reheat Frozen Kubba in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.
  • Reheating the Frozen Kubba in a microwave will give the Kubba a soft texture, instead of crunchy.
  • You don't need to defrost Kubba Halab before you fry it in oil or air-fry it.


Serving: 1Unfried Kubba | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 922mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g