• فريكة مفلفلة مع الأعشاب والبهارات •
The deep, roasted flavor of freekeh plus a blend of fragrant herbs and spices equals my recipe for Herbed and Spiced Freekeh!
I’ve always loved freekeh. Used extensively in the Middle East, freekeh is tender wheat grain that has been picked, dried, and then toasted (or sometimes set on fire) to remove everything but the wheat seed. This imparts an earthy, somewhat smokey taste that is absent in the similar wheat grain known as bulgur wheat. The processing method is what determines the smokiness, so some freekeh is subtle while some others have an intense taste. The grains are often sold cracked to speed up cooking since whole freekeh can take up to 50 minutes to cook.
You can prepare it with only water and salt, similar to how you would make rice, but I prefer to season it with a mixture of traditional Middle Eastern spices. My twist in method, however, is to blend herbs into the cooking water so that the flavors can permeate each individual kernel. The result is a fragrant whole grain pilaf with a pleasantly chewy texture that is perfect as a main course when served with salad.
Rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber, freekeh is a wonderful grain to have in your pantry. You can use it in soups, too! Because it is a whole grain, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent rancidity.
- 2 cups of cracked freekeh
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 1 cup of roughly chopped parsley
- 1 cup of roughly chopped cilantro
- ½ of a chile (jalapeño, serrano, etc. -- seeds included or removed)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2½ cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon fennel
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of chopped fresh tomato
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- reserved caramelized onions (see instructions below)
- First pick through your freekeh very well for any foreign debris. Wash and drain the freekeh twice, then cover it with fresh water to soak.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and onions and sauté with a pinch of salt until the onions caramelize. This takes up to 10 minutes. Once they start to brown, they really go quickly so you'll want to stir them frequently. You want deeply browned, but not black/burned onions. When they are done, pull the pot off the heat and remove ¼ of these caramelized onions and set them aside in a bowl.
- Drain your soaked freekeh and set aside.
- In a blender, combine the parsley, cilantro, chile, and salt with with the 2½ cups of water. Blend on high until completely blended (the water will turn a lovely green color). Bring this blended herb water over to the stove and keep it ready.
- Put the pot with the caramelized onions (the ¾ of them left in there) back on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds then add all the spices: cardamom, coriander, paprika, allspice, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, and bay leaf. Stir the spices around for 5-10 seconds to bloom them then immediately add the freekeh and the blended herb water. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for around 5 minutes or until the level of the water has gone just below the surface of freekeh and little bubbles are popping through. Then cover the pot, reduce heat to the low, and cook for 22 minutes undisturbed.
- In the meanwhile, make the Tomato Topping by combining the chopped tomato, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and that reserved portion of caramelized onions. Make some toasted almonds: Add some slivered or whole almonds to a small saucepan with a few teaspoons of oil and stir constantly over medium heat until golden.
- After 22 minutes, uncover and fluff the freekeh with a spoon or spatula. Remove from the heat and then cover it again. Let it finish steaming and absorbing for 5 more minutes, then it is ready to serve.
- Scoop onto a large platter and garnish with the tomato topping and with lots of the toasted almonds.