I wanted something fresh and Summery that would be nice to have as a side salad alongside some chicken or ham – Tabbouleh was just the thing. With this dish you can add whatever you fancy, so I added some more tomatoes, radishes, sliced garlic and a few green olives and balsamic vinegar to make it sing a little more.
Tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad traditionally made of bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion, and garlic and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, although there are various other variations such as using couscous instead of bulgar.
When I first made the tabbouleh I thought I hadn’t soaked the bulgar wheat long enough, as it had a bit of a bite to it, but once it had soaked in all the juices from the olive oil, lemon juice and tomatoes, the bulgar wheat became much softer.
I included ground cinnamon in mine but felt it over-powered the dish and I had to add more of the other seasonings to get rid of the strong cinnamon flavour coming through. So I’ve left the cinnamon out of the recipe.
- 100g (3½ oz) bulgar wheat
- 2 medium shallots (thinly sliced)
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 2 pinches allspice
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One clove of thinly sliced garlic
- 2 tasty ripe medium tomatoes
- 8 cherry tomatoes halved
- about 50g (2oz) each (or to taste) of flat-leaf parsley leaves and mint leaves chopped
- Wash the bulgar wheat thoroughly in 2-3 changes of water.
- Drain, place in a bowl, pour over 150ml · 5fl oz boiling water, cover with clingfilm and leave for 15 minutes for the grains to absorb the liquid. (Don’t worry if there’s a bit of water in the bottom of the bowl as it will all get soaked up in the next stage of the recipe.)
- Remove the clingfilm, stir in the spices, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper and leave for a further hour to soften.
- Meanwhile, put the tomatoes into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a minute, then peel off their skins, deseed and slice into thin strips.
- Add to the bulgar wheat when it’s ready, along with the cherry tomatoes, sliced garlic, shallots, radishes and celery and mint and parsley. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if required.
- Stir together and serve. Can be kept for a day or two.