|tabule full of colour and flavour|
I expect by now everyone has their own version of this popular Middle Eastern salad or meze which originally hails from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon.
I know I do.
The ingredients are simple: fine-grained bulgur or cracked wheat and parsley – lots of it -, tomatoes and spring onions. But then I came upon this recipe which calls for chopped walnuts. This makes it different.
|tabule ingredients before adding the dressing|
It also includes nar ekşişi or pomegranate molasses which is the single , to die for ingredient that all cooks should have! I could almost drink it out of the bottle! Contrary to what you might think, it hasn’t been a Turkish staple for all that long but it has now emerged to be a star. If you haven’t got any, go out right now and buy some to add new depths to your salads! All you do is drizzle it over the top instead of lemon. It is syrupy, tangy and deceptively sweet with slightly sourish undertones: the best nar ekşisi is free from artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. I much prefer it to balsamic, for example.
I realise that what I have happily been making all these years is actually a cross between tabule and the Turkish salad kısır. I like to use lots of fresh flat-leafed parsley which is a Lebanese touch, but I don’t use tomato or red pepper paste which is an essential kısır ingredient. I sometimes use mint and sometimes chopped cucumber. This is not tabule. Both of them, however, demand the use of the fine-grained bulgur (köftelik), not the regular larger-sized (pilavlık) which is used for pilafs.
In a nutshell, as Daughter No 1 told me sagely: tabule is white, kısır is red.
This particular recipe is fantastic as it combines just the right amounts of all the specified ingredients. Don’t alter a thing. TT and I devoured the entire salad for supper last night. I blush to tell you it’s meant to serve 6 ....
Ingredients for Tabule/Tabbouleh
From Modern Türk Mutfağı by Alev Kaman
¼ cup chopped walnuts/ceviz
½ cup köftelik bulgur/ fine-grained bulgur or cracked wheat
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (the one I’m using right now is Kemal Kükrer)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
· Wash and prepare the parsley: chop off the thick stalks and then chop the leaves as finely as you can. Prepare the spring onions and chop them finely too.
|discard the stalks|
|slice as finely as you can|
· Without peeling, dice the tomatoes.
· Wash the bulgur, place in a bowl and cover with hot water. It will soften and swell after a few minutes. Test before draining well.
· Add the chopped parsley, spring onions, tomatoes and walnuts. Mix well.
· In a small bowl, mix together the pomegranate molasses, salt and olive oil. Pour over the salad and mix so that all the ingredients combine well.
· You can serve the tabule in either a shallow bowl or on a serving dish like I did.
|a very nutritious meze or salad!|
· This is one salad that can be prepared in advance. Yes, it will make juices but the bulgur will stand up to them. I’m talking a couple of hours though, not longer!