Monday, August 25, 2008

Freekeh - a smoky substitute for bulgar or couscous

It's freekeh. Cool name.

Made of green wheat, freekeh (or farik in Arabic) is a very smoky base dish that would substitute well for bulgar wheat or couscous. The grains are harvested early, before they fully ripen and become dry, then the outer papery chaff is quickly burned off. The result is a smoky wheat that you can use just like bulgar. The generalized recipe for the whole (unbroken) wheat is: 4-5 cups of water to 2 cups of freekeh, adding 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbl olive oil if desired. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 45 minutes.

As a base for tabbouleh, it was *awesome*! The smokiness made the whole dish much rounder on the palate, almost like a baba ghanoush version of tabbouleh. This is a new favorite, I'm sure we'll be using this as a staple for a while.

Freekeh Tabbouleh
(makes enough for two - a bigger and a littler appetite)

1 cup uncooked freekeh
2.5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl Moroccan olive oil
1 large fresh tomato
1 small red pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced fresh curly parsley (Italian is less tasty for this dish)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbl Moroccan olive oil
few grinds black pepper

  • Bring the freekeh in water, salt and oil to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Take the pot off the burner and let it cool while you chop the other ingredients.
  • Chop tomato, pepper, and mince the other ingredients.
  • Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper together in a medium bowl.
  • Add the cooled freekeh and mix.
  • Fold in the other ingredients, and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Let marinate for at least an hour. Serve at room temperature.

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