Why is this Tabbouleh 2? Simply because last year I posted a tabule recipe, Turkish-style (and Turkish spelling!). However, this one is different.
I think I’ve mentioned that in reading The Guardian online, I’ve discovered their great Life and Style section. It’s packed with all sorts of really interesting stuff not least the cooking section with the wonderful Felicity Cloake and her series How to make the perfect …..
So when I saw ‘How to make the perfect tabbouleh’, I clicked on the link right away (you can too). I was curious to see what an English food writer would make of this quintessential Middle Eastern salad. I also felt in quite a strong position to have an opinion!
It turned out to be a really informative article: Felicity takes some top names associated with Middle Eastern cooking eg Claudia Roden and Ottolenghi, as well as some I didn’t know like Sally Butcher and Anissa Helou, and works her way through the classic tabbouleh ingredients – the parsley, the bulgur, the onions etc – giving insights into how each chef handles them.
Since I am so familiar with these ingredients, I found it a very interesting read and appreciated all the comments.
The main difference between this tabbouleh and the one I posted last year is that here, there aren’t any walnuts or pomegranate molasses/nar ekşisi.
BUT instead, there are some interesting spices and quite a lot of them too which makes for a different kind of salad. Personally, having made this one last night, I prefer the texture of my more Turkish one with those crunchy nuts and as you know, I am a real fan of pomegranate molasses!
Felicity provides crunchiness by toasting a handful of the large-grained bulgur in the oven after rinsing in boiling water.
I thought to myself, they won’t be soft enough and sure enough, they weren’t – not for me, anyway. But the idea is good as I too like this size of grain although the finer-grained bulgur is the correct one to use.
Here is the recipe for The Perfect Tabbouleh
- Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1 if using the medium grain bulgur. Rinse the fine bulgur in cold water until the water runs clear, then drain well in a sieve and put in a bowl. Fluff up with a fork.
- Rinse the medium bulgur, if using, in boiling water, drain well, spread out on a baking tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Fluff up with a fork when done. PERSONALLY, I WOULD SOAK NOT JUST RINSE IN THE BOILING WATER OTHERWISE IT’S REALLY HARD.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the tomatoes and finely slice the spring onions and add both, plus the juices, to the bulgur. Add the juice of 1½ lemons. Mix the spices together well, and add 1tsp to the bowl.
- Douse the herbs in cold water, chop off most of the stalks off the parsley, and then take a small bunch, gather together on the board and slice it as finely as you can. Repeat with the rest. Pick the leaves from the mint and do the same, being as gentle as possible.
- Add the herbs to the bowl along with the oil, season and toss well. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or spice mix to taste.
- Scatter with the pomegranate and toasted bulgur, just before serving.AS THE POMEGRANATE SEASON IS OVER, I COULDN’T FIND MY ARILS AROUND HERE SO HAD TO OMIT. THEY WOULD CERTAINLY ADD COLOUR TO THE SALAD.