Freekeh, gosh this is fabulously good for you! Three times the fibre of brown rice, packed full of vitamins and minerals, very filling so great for a diet and low in gluten as the grains are harvested before this develops. Where has this been lurking for all these years!
Well used in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and Lebanon, with recipes dating back thousands of years.
Freekeh or Farikah is a roasted green wheat with a nutty slightly smoky flavour. It is harvested from immature grains of wheat, which are carefully set alight to remove the outside husks, hence the smoky flavour. Further thrashing and sun drying makes the colour uniform, it is then cracked and the final product resembles a green bulgur.
Some of the top UK chefs have been using it for some time, Ottolengi has a great recipe in his new book Plenty, and Sam and Sam Clarke from Moro are serving a delicious version at their restaurant.
The smoky flavours of freekeh call for stronger seasonings; cinnamon, cardamom and fresh coriander are all good. It can be made into a pilaf, used as a stuffing, or makes a great accompaniment to grilled meats.
Please find below Maroque's freekeh pilaf, an adaptation of an Ottolengi's recipe, but with a bit more kick. This can be served with grilled chicken kebabs or served at room temperature with any barbecue dish. A garlicky yoghurt makes a great accompaniment!
Spiced Freekeh Pilaf
Serve with chicken kebabs, and garlicky yoghurt
Serves 2 to 4
2 onions thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp or 1 dried red chilli, chopped
270ml of strong vegetable stock
10g parsley, finely chopped
10g mint, finely chopped
10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
1. Place the onions, butter and olive oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and cook gently until onions are soft and brown.
2. While the onions are cooking, soak the freekeh in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse really, really well under lots of cold running water. Drain well.
3. Add the freekeh and spices to the onions, followed by the stock and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, bring to the boil, the cover, reduce the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid had been absorbed.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and leave to cool for about another 5 minutes. Stir the herbs into the warm (not hot) freekeh. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve with garlicky yoghurt and chicken kebabs.
A must for so many kebabs, pilaf and lots of other dishes.
200g full fat Greek yoghurt
3 tsp lemon juice
1 plump garlic clove, crushed
1. Mix the yoghurt, lemon, garlic and a little salt together, taste and adjust seasoning.
2. The longer this sits the more garlicky it will be, 1/2 hour is good, but serve straight away if you don't want it very garlicky.
Lemon and sumac chicken kebabs (taken from Maroques Little Orange Cook book)
The smell wafting through the air as these grill on the barbecue will have you transported to the Middle East.
2 skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground allspice (pimento)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp sumac
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Mix all the ingredients except the chicken together in a large bowl.
2. Add the chicken, stir well to coat and leave to and leave to rest for a few hours, over night in the fridge is best.
3. Thread the chicken onto metal skewers and cook on a hot barbeque until cooked through.
4. Serve with a selection of salad
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a mixed selection
Enjoy the recipe?
Why not down load the cook books. Here