I became hooked on Tabbouleh when I went to language school in Lisieux. Each deli in the town prepared it with the same ingredients, but in different proportions. I signed up for the cooking class at the school and Tabbouleh was one of the dishes we prepared. It is Middle Eastern but the French, in typical Gaelic fashion, claimed it as part of “French Cooking” because they had made it their own during their occupation of Morocco and Algeria. When the Pied Noir returned to France they brought their love of Tabbouleh with them.
After consulting several books, all of which had slightly different versions, this is the recipe I like devised. None of the books consulted mentioned garlic, but I include it. Play around with your own version!
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups lightly packed parsley, chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup to 1 cup chopped scallions or red onions.
- ¼ cup lightly packed mint, chopped
- 1 cucumber, seeded & diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- Measure 1 cup bulgur wheat into a large, 8 cup or more, bowl.
- Boil 1 ½ cups of water. When the water has boiled, pour about a cup into the bulgur wheat, enough to cover.
- Prepare the vegetables and as you do, place them in a large bowl:Wash the parsley thoroughly by soaking in water, then rising.
- Carefully wash the mint in the same manner.
- Spin dry or wrap in kitchen or paper towel until dry, then chop fine. (Using the food processor is quick and efficient, I have found.)
- Peel and seed the tomatoes (optional) and cut into 1/3”dice.
- Cut bottoms from the scallions and any wimpy green stalks; chop into ¼”pieces.
- Peel the cucumber, cut into fourths, then seed it by scooping out the seeds with a sharp small knife. Dice.
- Mince the garlic.
- Prepare the vinaigrette: Squeeze the juice of two lemons –which should be 1/3 cup!
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, salt, & pepper.
- The wheat should have absorbed most of the water. Pour in the vinaigrette and carefully fold in the vegetables.
- Chill for at least 1 hour. Correct seasoning.