food for thought

by michelle

freekeh salad with lamb

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Freekeh (or farik) is roasted green wheat which derives it’s name from being rubbed (farīkor) or threshed. The wheat is harvested when the grains are yellow and the seeds soft and is first sun-dried then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn. The high moisture content of the seeds prevents them from burning. It has been used in Arabian cooking since the 13th Century and is still widely used in North Africa and the Middle East. My salad uses a mix of these influences.


To cook the freekeh, boil it in water until the grains are soft but still a little chewy. This will take quite a long time -even with a pressure cooker the grains will take 20 minutes to cook. When they are cooked, shock them with cold water, drain and place in a bowl. Meanwhile season some fresh diced beetroot with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook in a generous amount of olive oil in a covered frypan over medium heat. When the beetroot is becoming soft add an equal amount of seasoned diced pumpkin. Cover again and cook until beginning to soften. Add some diced garlic to the pan and cook for a further minute or two. Cool the vegetables a little then add them to the freekeh along with handfuls of chopped mint, coriander (cilantro) and spring onions, the juice of 1-2 lemons (to taste), more olive oil if necessary, salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the dressing combine equal parts tahini and yoghurt with some grated or crushed garlic, sumac or lemon juice (or both), salt, black pepper and enough water to make the desired consistency. Pile the salad onto some baby spinach leaves or greens of your choice. I topped my salad with roasted lamb but if you prefer a vegetarian version try feta or grilled haloumi. Drizzle with the prepared dressing and garnish with either dukkah or za’atar (both are available from Middle Eastern stores).


Written by michelle picker

March 11, 2016 at 5:45 am

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