Sharina from Broken Hill, New South Wales, writes:

Hello Kurma! Thanks for a wonderful blog – I am a regular reader. I am learning so much from your posts, and from your cookbooks. Do you have a recipe for Tabbouleh?

My reply:

“Thanks for your kind words. Happy to hear that you’re a regular reader. Yes I have a Tabbouleh recipe in my first cookbook ‘Great Vegetarian Dishes’.
Here it is.


Lebanese Bulgur-Wheat Salad (Tabbouleh)

This Lebanese salad is probably the most famous of all Middle Eastern mezze (hors d’oeuvres). Bulgur wheat (parched, ground, par-boiled wheat grains) is not only tasty and substantial but also very nutritious. It is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, niacin, and vitamins B1 and B2.

Bulgur wheat salad is easy to prepare and is characterised by its fresh lemon-mint-parsley flavour. Traditional Middle Eastern cooks sometimes use an extra ingredient in their salads: a tart seasoning made from the ground seeds of a Mediterranean flowering plant called sumac, which adds a special lemony taste.

I have included this as optional. It is available from any well-stocked Middle Eastern grocer, as is the bulgur wheat which, incidentally, is sometimes referred to as bourghul or cracked wheat.

Tabbouleh can be served with flatbreads, and fresh, crisp lettuce leaves. Add more lemon juice if necessary, to assure the authentic fresh-lemon taste.

YIELD: enough for 6 persons

250g fine bulgur wheat
1/2 teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder
at least 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 cups finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons fresh mint
2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
1 cup seeded, unpeeled cucumber, diced into 1cm cubes
2 medium tomatoes, diced

Soak the bulgur wheat for 1 1/2 hours in warm water. Drain it and squeeze out the moisture. Dry it further by spreading it on a cloth and patting it dry.

Combine the soaked and drained wheat, asafoetida, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, mint, and sumac in a large bowl and mix well. Add the cucumber and tomatoes and toss. Serve immediately.
Posted by Kurma on 11/6/08; 4:48:45 AM

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