Thursday, 3 July 2014

Freekah In My Kitchen

Its been lovely and warm, maybe just a little too warm that when you get home after work or whatever, you really just don't want to cook, or at least spend an hour or so over a hot stove.  

Well here is a  grain, pulse and vegetable salad of sorts, its actually  Freekah Pilau made with homegrown yellow mangetout, garden peas and tinned chickpeas.  As it was my first time cooking with freekah.  I sought inspiration from my Middle Eastern cookbooks, and one book in particular gave me inspiration  Seductive Flavours of the Levant by Nada Saleh.
This recipe has two ingredients that may be new to some of you, as they were to me a while back.  These are freekah, also known as frik (burned green wheat); and Ajvar paste, a red pepper and aubergine paste. Freekah is available from Middle Eastern shops and health shops, this particular one is a brand called Artisan Grains.  
The Freekah Pilau  was lovely and made a pleasant change from plain bulgar wheat, couscous and even rice. Freekah definitely  has more texture than ordinary bulgar wheat, but for some reason I had expected it to have smoky undertones and it did not.  This is not a spicy dish at all. It is however nutty and well flavoured with plenty of wholesome texture and bite.  We have a fair bit over as the recipe makes a large amount, so we will both be having it for lunch tomorrow.

If you want to make a Middle Eastern Feast of it all serve the Freekah Pilau with falafel, dolmas and marinated green olives. 

Freekah Pilau with Yellow Mangetout, Peas and Chickpeas
Serves 6 - 8 with accompaniments
4 generous tablespoons of olive oil
2 large onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons Ajvar sauce (or tomato paste)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste.    
13/4 vegetable stock
200g Artisan green wheat freekah 
Salt and pepper to taste
Good handful of mangetout, green or yellow
Good handful of freshly podded garden peas /and or broad beans
1 x 400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
In a wide pan, heat the oil and then add the onions and saute until soft and tender, stir in the pastes, the stock and bring t the boil.  then stir in the freekah.  
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Then stir in the mangetout,  peas/and or broad beans and chickpeas. Season to taste, stir well and cover again over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
Turn of the heat and allow it to stand for 10 - 15 minutes for the flavours to mingle.  Serve with optional soured cream. 


  1. Shaheen,
    Glad I stopped by after lunch today.
    Sound delicious and I am gonna have to try, with or without the Frika.

    Peace :)

    1. Thank you Chandra. Bulgar wheat will be fine, it just won't have the textual thing going on :)

  2. Like you, when I first tried Freekeh I expected it to taste smoky (it's often described as such), but it didn't. I found that even after long cooking the Freekeh never went really soft like Bulgur does. It retains its "bite" more than any other grain I have used.

    1. Thanks Mark. I think its just an expectation because of the way it is described. Agree about the texture too, but I liked that.

  3. I've never heard of freekah before, I will have to find some. Although I've been to warm to cook after work too!

    1. I hope you get to try some in the near future sooz.


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