Tabbouleh

Note: This makes the amount you usually get in a restaurant as a side dish, half a cup or so? For my family of four, it is the perfect amount.

2 tsp fine bulgur wheat
Juice of 1 large lemons, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 1/4 bunch)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint (optional)
1 ripe tomato, very finely chopped
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped or 1 scallion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place the bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 30 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and press the bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion and salt.
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight, so that the bulgur can continue to absorb liquid and swell.
  4. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings.
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Syrian Baba ghanoush

2 large eggplants
2 large vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 roasted red pepper, roughly chopped (from a jar is fine)
1 small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped, reserving a few whole leaves for garnish
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pomegranate, seeds only
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Pierce the eggplants with a knife and roast in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until really soft and tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, peel the aubergines and scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, peppers and parsley and mix well. Add the garlic, pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  5. Arrange in a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the reserved parsley leaves and some pomegranate seeds.

 

Syrian Roasted Red Pepper Dip

aka Muhammara

2 roasted red peppers (jarred is fine)
75g/2½oz walnuts
75g/2½oz white breadcrumbs
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh mint leaves, to garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Blend the red peppers in a food-processor until smooth and put in a large bowl.

  2. Blend most of the walnuts until you have fine crumbs and add to the pepper purée. Mix in the breadcrumbs and season well.

  3. Stir in the tahini and pomegranate molasses and loosen with olive oil and a splash of water, if necessary.

  4. Arrange in a serving dish and garnish with fresh mint and the remaining walnuts

Syrian Chickpea Salad

Syrian-inspired brunchChickpea Salad

400g tin fava beans/broad beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans OR half of the cooked chickpeas
handful fresh parsley leaves
1 beef tomato, roughly chopped
squeeze lemon juice
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
good pinch ground cumin
2–3 spring onions, thinly sliced

  1. To make the chickpea salad, mix half the remaining cooked chickpeas with the beans. Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste.

 

 

Syrian Falafel

Falafel

NOTE: Do NOT NOT NOT use canned chick peas or your recipe will break apart when frying. Ask me how I know..

TO SOAK THE NIGHT BEFORE:

450g/1lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, with 1 tsp baking soda
handful fresh coriander leaves
handful fresh parsley leaves
1 garlic clove
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
25g/1oz sesame seeds

GARNISH

1 litre/1¾ pints vegetable oil
good pinch sumac, to garnish

  1. Drain the chickpeas and tip two-thirds of them into a saucepan, reserving the last third for the falafels. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45–50 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the falafels, put the reserved uncooked chickpeas in a food processor and blend with the fresh coriander, parsley, garlic, spices and sesame seeds. Add a little warm water if the mixture is too thick. Season to taste. Shape into 20 falafels.
  3. Deep fry. Drain on paper towel lined plate.

Tahini Sauce

3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp plain yoghurt
good squeeze lemon juice

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

To Make the Falafel Sandwich

2 large Arabic flatbreads (or pita bread)
1 beef tomato, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper