Folks seeking new taste sensations are going wild over the flavor of freekah, frikeh (Arabic: فريكة) or farik, an Arabic smoked green wheat – a staple in the Middle East for thousands of years.
Where wheat grows in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, people set aside part of the harvest to make freekeh. Its young wheat is gathered before the grain matures. Dried and briefly toasted over open fire, the freekeh grain gains a smoky, almost-sweet flavor and a greenish-gold color. It also delivers a powerful supply of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Modern chefs in Israel and the States are now discovering dozens of ways to highlight this traditional slow food‘s unique flavor in cooked dishes and salads.
The Lebanese-cuisine blog, Taste of Beirut, shares a vegetarian recipe for squash stuffed with freekah, bell peppers, and spices.
The site also features a mouth-watering recipe for lamb with freekah and tomato sauce.These recipes are in the spirit of traditional Lebanese flavors.
Look for freekeh in ethnic Arab stores, health food stores, and your local shuk. Try combining it with cooked root vegetables, as salad. Or as a stuffing for vegetables or meat, instead of rice. Or even as a hot breakfast cereal with chopped dried fruit and nuts.
Just remember that 1 cup of the smoky-flavored grain needs 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water to cook thoroughly and still be a little chewy, as for pilaf. 3to 4 cups are needed for the freekeh to burst open and become soft, as for hot cereal.
More on traditional Middle Eastern food from Green Prophet: