Recipe: Iraqi Rice & Potato Balls

I’ve officially found my new favorite side dish. I’ve only known about this delicious dish from my Iraqi neighbor for a few weeks, but I’ve made it at least 5 times. It’s that good!

It’s one of those appetizers that you can never have just one of.

You will always want another and another. There’s a crispy layer of potatoes and rice fried outside with a delicious flavorful beef filling inside.

Give this a try the next time you want to make something impressive and I promise you won’t be able to stop at just one!????


  • 2 medium potatoes diced in 4ths
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked Basmati or jasmine rice
Meat Filling:
  • 1 pound Ground beef lamb or chicken can also be used
  • 1 tablespoon of Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic. diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Chili powder or paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped (parsley can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup of Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups of Frying oil
  1. Cook potato and rice: Place potatoes in a medium pot. Fill with 3 cups water; cover and boil for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked.
  2. Remove from water and set aside. Cook rice according to manufacturer instructions. set aside as well to cool.
Cook Meat Filling:
  1. While the potatoes and rice are cooking, prepare the meat filling. Heat a large pan on medium/high heat.
  2. Add ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onions are soft. Next, add the spices (salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon) and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add the cilantro and set meat mixture aside to cool.
Prepare shell mixture: 
  1. Place cool 2 cups cooked rice, 2 cooked (cut in 4th) potatoes, 1/4 cup cornstarch and salt in a large bowl of a food processor or electric mixture. Processor for about 1 minutes or until the mixture comes together.
  2. Do NOT over processor or mixture will turn into a paste. (If you do not have a food processor or mixer this can be also done by hand, vigorously combine and mash all the ingredients with your hand until fully combined).
To Shape:
  1. Have a bowl of cold water nearby. Handling with slightly moistened hands, take a small amount of dough, size of a small lime, and shape it like a football or regular round ball.
  2. Hold the ball of dough in one hand and hollow it with the thumb of the other hand until you get an elongated oval shell about ¼ in. thick and 3 in. long, it does not have to be perfect.
  3. Fill and close the opening, and roll it gently from left to right between the palms to make it look like an egg with two pointed ends. Moisten your fingers whenever dough feels sticky. Put the finished ones on a big tray in one layer.
To Fry:
  1. Heat a medium or large pan with 2 cups oil; about 2-inch deep hot oil. Once the oil is hot place balls in oil, cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden in color.
  2. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oils. Repeat until all the kebbah balls are cooked. Serve with fresh salad or a yogurt based dipping sauce. We also like to have these with just ketchup and hot sauce as well. Enjoy!

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