The perfect side: Middle Eastern tabbouleh

For this salad, try to use fine burghul to yield the traditional texture. If you’re short on time, you could opt to use tomato paste and/or pepper paste in lieu of smoking the chillies and tomatoes.

Old-Country Tabbouleh

Serves 4-6
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients
300g fine burghul
3 tomatoes
2 fresh green chillies
125ml olive oil
5-6 spring onions, thinly sliced
handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped mint
2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes or dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
baby gem lettuce leaves, to serve

Method
Place the burghul in a bowl with 375ml just-boiled water, add a pinch of salt, stir, cover and soak for 10-15 minutes.

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Char the tomatoes and chillies, and peel them, following the instructions below. Finely chop the flesh to near paste and then add to the burghul. Stir together, adding oil as you go. Toss in the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust accordingly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Also try…
You can bulk this up by adding cooked chickpeas, or try it with chorizo tossed in.

Charring tomatoes & chillies
Place the tomatoes directly on the flame of a gas hob (depending on the size of your hob, you may be able to fit 2-3 tomatoes on each) or barbecue and char them for 5-6 minutes each, turning them halfway through, until blackened and beginning to peel. Repeat with the chillies. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Place the tomatoes on one baking tray and the chillies on a separate one. Roast in the oven until blistered and blackened. Transfer to a pan and cover with the lid. Set aside to steam. Peel the skins from the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Wipe or brush off the burnt skins from the chillies.

 

Extracted from The Jewelled Table by Bethany Kehdy (Hardie Grant, approx €29). Photography © Nassima Rothacker.

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