May 19, 2007
Tabbouleh/ Bulger And Herb Salad
Salad days are here again. As the weekends start to get crowded with the hectic summer schedules and the temperatures slowly start rising, its time to unwind in the patio with someone else doing most of the work. (:)heh! heh! there is no someone else).
The masala based curries are too heat producing in this weather with all their roasting and grinding and slow cooking. So salads seem so refreshing with all the colorful produce cooling the eyes and the palate.
Now is the time when the backyard starts echoing with the intermittent sounds of squeals, laughs and splashes (from our neighbour's pools). The fresh grass has a lush green tone and is soft on the feet. The patio is freshly washed and clean and the flower beds are now sprouting the newly planted flowers and veggies. hmm...Time to take out the grill and whip up a salad. And you can enlist everybody's help for chopping.:) No excuses there!
Tabbouleh is a middle easten salad made with bulgur, scallions and a host of other stuff. It is readily available in the supermarkets but it is too dense with parsley and olive oil. It is also so easy to make that we never end up buying it but make it on a regular basis with rotis and pitas and breads. The olive oil and lemon juice compliment each other without it being too sour. Don't omit the parsley and scallions, the distinctive taste comes from that. The bulgur is also essential but sometimes I substitute it with finely chopped Romaine lettuce.
For the uninitiated, bulgur is a kind of whole wheat grain which is parboiled, dried (usually by spreading in the sun) and then de-branned. Bulgur is often confused with cracked wheat, which is made from crushed wheat grains which have not been parboiled. I do use the Indian cracked wheat (dalia)when I am out of bulgur. The cracked wheat has to be cooked more though.
The first time you make it, go slow with the dressing so that you can add more later as per taste. One festive menu is noted below with the tabbouleh, pita, hummus, kababs and olives. Chicken tikka, any kind of grilled vegetables, paneer, kababs are a natural pairing with this salad.
You Will Need:
Fine Bulgur-2/3 cup
Fresh Parsley- 1 cup
Mint(fresh or dried)-2 tbsp
Onion-1/2 small one, grated
Green Bell Pepper/Red Bell Pepper-1 seeded
Olive oil-3 tbsp
Lemons-2 or 3 tbsp juice
Salt to taste,black pepper to taste.
Place the bulgur in a microwave safe bowl with double water and cook for 3-4 minutes, till it softens. If the bulgur is fine enough and you like it crunchy,just soak it in cold water for 5-10 minutes and squeeze out the excess water. Drain well and keep aside.
Finely chop the scallions, bell pepper and parsley into tiny pieces of similar size. The white part of the scallions has to be minced or chopped finely.
Place all the ingredients including the bulgur in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the lemon juice as needed based on its sourness. Taste and adjust the salt. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.
White Bean Hummus