Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tomato Tabbouleh

Last weekend we were invited to a barbecue birthday party and, as always, I feel I should contribute some sort of food offering - even when none had been requested.

I have had a hankering for tabbouleh for the last week or so. Therefore, I could 'kill two birds with one stone' and make a tabbouleh to take with me - it would be a good accompaniment to any meats served.

I love tabbouleh and not the bulghur wheat salad you get in health/deli food store in the UK - you know the type - ones that are all bulgur wheat & no flavour with a little flake of parsley & mint and usually chickpeas. I'm talking about a real traditional middle eastern tabbouleh.

An Israeli friend of mine advised me to think of it as a parsley and tomato salad rather than a bulgher wheat one and to think of the flavours of the middle east when making it - lots of 'zing & zest'.......

So here's my version of a traditional middle eastern tabbouleh....

Serves four - generously

25g/1oz bulgur wheat
4 large, ripe vine tomatoes
good handful of cherry tomatoes - sliced
Half a cucumber sliced & diced
large bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves only, washed, dried and finely chopped 
small bunch fresh mint leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
2 tsps hot sweet thai chilli sauce (optional - as you all know I like hot & spicy)
sea salt flakes

I've just read a book all about food photography so here's my 'fancy pants' ingredients photo!

And here's another one!

I took about fifty of these I could go on
                                                                 ............. & on!!

Anyway......back to the recipe............

Place the bulgur wheat into a small bowl and cover with 2fl oz of boiling water -

a good tip is to double the amount of boiling water to the amount of bulgur wheat i.e. 1oz bulger wheat = 2 floz water, 2oz = 4floz etc.....

Stir, then set aside for 20 minutes, or until the bulgur wheat has absorbed all of the water. 

Cut the vine tomatoes into quarters, discard the seeds and dice the flesh - do the same to the cucumber - Transfer the diced tomatoes, sliced cherry tomatoes and cucumber to a serving bowl. 

Chop your parsley & mint - chop don't slice - they never ever slice herbs in the Middle East always chop! 

Add the parsley, mint, onion and lemon zest to the tomatoes and mix well until combined. 

I like a 'wet' form of the salad - not a dry - one but you will get a lot of juice out of this due to the cucumber & the volume of tomatoes - once all the ingredients (minus the bulgur wheat) have been combined place in a sieve over a bowl for about half an hour to extract most of the liquid.

Make up your dressing by pouring the lemon juice, olive oil, chilli sauce and crushed garlic into a screw top jar and shake it to combine.

When the bulgur wheat has absorbed all of the water, fluff it using a fork until the grains are separated. I then add some of the olive oil dressing to the bulgur before mixing with the other ingredients.

Add the bulgur wheat to the tomato mixture.

Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil mix. Generously season, to taste, with salt. Mix well to coat the ingredients in the liquid. 

Set aside for the flavours to develop. And serve at room temperature.

This style of tabbouleh is full of flavour and is a really 'juicey' salad it goes well with any barbecued meats and outdoor meal working especially well with Lamb and freshly made flat bread.


Sorry .... that was a really long post - I'm going to need a lie down after all that!!! Here's the printable