Chefta (Kubba Halab) | Nana's Kitchen

Chefta (or kubba halab) are stuffed rice dumplings. The shell is made with boiled rice, then filled with a spiced meat mixture. They're then deep-fried until crunchy and golden brown. Chefta is also perfect for meal prepping. Make a large batch of chefta and place them single layer on a tray in the freezer. Transfer them to a freezer bag once they're frozen; this will keep them from sticking to each other. Let them thaw halfway, then deep fry them.
The shell:
  • 4 cups of long grain rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

The filling:

  • about 600 grams ground beef 
  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 4 red onions
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • about 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Put your rice in a bowl and soak it in cold water for at least 30 minutes. While your rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water. Add the salt, cinnamon and turmeric (for colour) and then let it come to a boil.
  2. Drain your rice and add it to the boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes; it should be slightly overcooked. Drain your cooked rice and leave it to cool.
  3. Once the rice has cooled completely, transfer it to a large bowl. First, wet your hands to prevent sticking. Knead until the rice forms a mostly smooth dough; it shouldn't be too sticky.
  4. Finely chop your onions; you can use less if you like.
  5. Put your ground beef in a pan with some oil over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to break up the beef into small pieces. You don't want large clumps.
  6. Let your beef cook for a little bit then add your onions, spices and salt. Cook until your onions have softened and the beef is browned and fully cooked. Make sure no liquid remains or it'll make your chefta soggy after frying. Take off the heat and stir in your parsley. Leave the mixture to cool completely. 
  7. Fill a small bowl with water. Use it to wet your hands frequently while shaping the chefta to prevent sticking. Wet your hands and grab a ball of dough about the size of a mandarin. Make a hole in the middle with your finger. Using your thumbs, press the sides of the ball against your palms, flattening them. It should look like a pouch with thin walls.
  8. Spoon a good amount of filling into the pouch and press the open ends together to form a seam. Use your hands to shape them into skinny little footballs. Fill in gaps or tears with extra dough and use wet hands to smooth out any bumps or seams. Click the link at the bottom of the recipe to watch how Nana forms them. 
  9. You can make plain rice patties if you run out of filling. Fry them until crispy like regular chefta; they're just as delicious!
  10. Fill a pot or high-walled pan with about an inch of canola oil over high heat. Make sure your oil is hot before frying your chefta or they will break apart. Add your chefta about 30 seconds apart. This will keep them from sticking to each other.
  11. Fry until one side is golden brown and then flip. Place onto a plate lined with paper towels once both sides are cooked.
  12. Serve with pita, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and whatever else you like! Enjoy!

You can watch how Nana makes it here: