24 April 2011

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة‎)

This is a delicious, healthy, colourful and filling salad and is a great served with grilled fish or meat or served with other salads as part of a vegetarian meal. It is very versatile and can be made ahead of time.  A wonderful salad to take on picnics.


120g (4oz) fine bulgur

500g (1lb) firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

salt and pepper

juice of 1 lemon or more as desired

either 4 spring onions or 1 medium white onion thinly sliced

a large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

a bunch of fresh mint finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped (optinal)

150ml (5fl oz) olive oil

(Coriander is not a part of the ingredients of this dish in the original tabbouleh recipe, but I sometimes include it in with the ingredients as it adds another dimension and flavour and makes the dish tasty, full of freshly chopped green herbs).

Soak the bulgur in plenty of cold water for about 20 minutes.  Rinse in a sieve and put into a bowl.  To this add the chopped mint, parsley and coriander, the onion, the tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.  Be sure to fluff the bulgur mixture using two forks after each of the above ingredients have been added.  When all the ingredients have been added, cover with cling film and store in the refrigerator until required.  (If you are not going to eat it on the day it is prepared, then you will need to store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two).

"Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة‎; also tabouleh or tab(b)ouli) is a Levantine salad traditionally made of bulgur, finely chopped parsley and mint, tomato and spring onion, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. 

Regional variations
Originally from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon, tabbouleh has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East.  In the Arab world, but particularly the Greater Syrian region, it is usually served as part of the mezze, and is served with romaine lettuce.  The Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish.  A Turkish variation of the dish is known as kısır, while a similar Armenian dish is known as eetch. In Cyprus, where the dish was introduced by the Lebanese, it is known as tambouli.  In Lebanon, the wheat variety salamouni cultivated in the region around Hawran and in Mount Lebanon, Bekaa Valley and Baalbek was considered (in the mid-19th century) as particularly well suited for making bulgur, a basic ingredient of tabbouleh.

To the Arabs, edible herbs known as qaḍb, formed an essential part of their diet in the Middle Ages, and dishes like tabbouleh attest to their continued popularity in Middle Eastern cuisine today.  Like hummus, baba ghanouj, pita and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has become a popular American ethnic food".
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