I don’t remember the first time I’ve heard about freekeh. Was it in a website while I was browsing through blogs, was it on a cookbook I have… No, not sure at all. But I do remember that I was immediately curious about it. So when I saw a box of freekeh in Hauler Oriental Market a while ago, I bought it right away.
Freekeh is made from green durum wheat and is roasted and rubbed to create its slightly smoky flavour. It is high in fibre (four times the fibre of brown rice) while low in carbohydrates, helps digestion, is rich in lutein which is important for eye health and it is high in protein.
I want to use freekeh in many different recipes but for the first trial, I made a freekeh pilaf which is a variation of rice pilaf my mother used to make as a side dish to chicken dishes. It is also very similar to the aromatic rice used to fill vine leaves. Freekeh pilaf just by itself is very delicious and rich in taste but you can always accompany it with other dishes or you can pour some yogurt on it if you are not following a vegan diet. Enjoy!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 big or 2 medium onions, diced
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp dried black currants
2.5 dl freekeh, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, then drained, rinsed well and drain well again
5 dl water (you can also use vegetable broth if you want)
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a pan with deep sides, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add onion and pine nuts and sauté for about 3-4 minutes by stirring frequently, until onion gets translucent and pine nuts get slightly brown.
2. Add dried black currants and freekeh and stir a little.
3. Add water and let it boil. When it starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid and lower to medium low heat.
4. Cook freekeh until water is absorbed and grains get soft. At this point, uncover the pan, add cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir. Cook like that for about 5 more minutes then turn off the heat. Let it rest covered for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can serve it as it is, you can decorate with some chopped parsley or you can serve it with yogurt if you are not following vegan diet. Enjoy!