Beef “Kubenia” Recipe

Beef Kubenia

This “raw ball” may be easier serve than the traditional beef tartar usually topped with raw egg.  With its colourful “Israeli-style Chimichurri”, fresh and full of flavour, beef “Kubenia” makes an impressive starter!



½ c par-cooked bulgar wheat (it’s a little sad to boil such a little bulgar, so make some for a salad the day before, and use ½ cup cooked bulgar to make this Lebanese style tartar.)  

Healthy pinch of salt

400g best beef fillet, trimmed (of its sinews and “blue” skin) and finely chopped

4 T toasted pine nuts

4 T fresh lemon juice

6 T extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper, coarsely ground

4 T tahini sauce (mix equal parts tahini and water – you can stop when you have a thickness that you like, then lemon juice and salt to taste)

A rough Israeli-style “chimichurri”:

3 T freshly chopped Italian parsley

3 T finely chopped coriander

2 T finely shredded (snipped with your scissors) mint

2 T finely chopped red onion

5T finely chopped (cubed) tomato

4 T pomegranate jewels

4 T fresh lemon juice

3 T Extra virgin olive oil

1 T Banhoek Chili Oil (or more to taste)

Salt to taste


In a large bowl (so you can mess and mix with impunity), mix the beef, bulgur, pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and freshly ground black pepper together.  As you do a little pulverising massage, not only do you flavour the meat but the proteins of the meat begin to break down and allow it to bond with the bulgar. Be careful to only use the tips of your finger for this mix-massage. (you don’t want the meat getting warm!). Check to see if you need more seasoning.

Mix the “chimichurri” together in a separate bowl, season with salt and black pepper.

To serve, put a dessert spoonful of tahini sauce in the centre of each plate.  Shape the tartar together into a quenelle shape (about 5 – 6 cm) using two spoons or simply shape it into a ball (golf ball sized) with your hands.  Place the shaped Kubenia on top of the tahini. Spoon over the diced tomato herb mix. Drizzle with the Banhoek Chilli Oil and serve!


The Recipe was created by Karen Dudley

Karen Dudley (born 1968) is a South African cheffood writer and restaurateur best known for her restaurant, The Kitchen in WoodstockCape Town, which was visited by former First Lady Michelle Obama in June 2011.

Karen has appeared on CNN and TEDx and has been interviewed by New York Times and The Guardian. She has been a guest judge on the reality cooking show My Kitchen Rules South Africa and is often interviewed on national TV.

If you’re keen on trying this beef kubenia recipe out, you’ll need some of the goodstuff.

Japanese fried chicken