Freekeh with Grilled Vegetables (Frikeh Bel Khodra)
11/2 hrs 11/2 hrs ACTIVE: TOTAL:
Soaking the freekeh and cooking it with a load of caramelized onions results in an almost risottolike texture. Grill up your favorite vegetables in place of the zucchini, carrots and scallions, if you like—or skip the vegetables altogether and serve it as a simple whole-grain side. It’s really that good on its own.
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 pounds onions, finely chopped
11/4 cups cracked freekeh (see page 110)
3 cups water, plus more for soaking 11/8 teaspoons salt, divided
2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
(1/2 inch thick)
2 large carrots, sliced diagonally
(1/2 inch thick)
8 scallions, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1. Heat corn oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, and reducing the heat if necessary, until very golden brown and almost like a paste, 40 to 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place freekeh in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Soak, skimming any that floats to the top, for 40 minutes. Drain well.
3. Add the drained freekeh to the caramelized onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is just starting to stick to the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high. 5. Toss zucchini, carrots and scallions with olive oil, pepper and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Grill the vegetables, turning once, until tender, about 3 minutes for the scallions, 6 to 8 minutes for the zucchini and 15 minutes for the carrots.
6. Transfer the freekeh to a serving dish. Serve topped with the vegetables.
SERVES 8: 1 cup each
CAL 249 / FAT 10G (SAT 1G) / CHOL 0MG / CARBS 35G / TOTAL SUGARS 8G (ADDED 0G) / PROTEIN 7G / FIBER 8G / SODIUM 354MG / POTASSIUM 435MG.
Abu Malik (right) stands in a field of wheat in the southern town of Halloussieh. The land has been in his family for hundreds of years. Malik harvests the wheat while it’s still green, then smokes it over a fire to make freekeh. His cousin Zeinab Kashmar (left) cooks it with fried onions and tops it with chicken and pine nuts to make her signature dish,friket djej, at Tawlet Beirut.