While quinoa has been gaining popularity for the past few years and was being incorporated in cuisines from around the world, another super grain is surging to record heights. This time from the Middle East, we’re talking about Freekeh!
Many traditional Lebanese dishes are served with rice on the side, but before rice was introduced to the Levant, these same dishes adopted Freekeh instead. Freekeh, (frikeh, fah-reek or farik) is obtained from wheat that is harvested while the grains are still green, soft and immature. They are gently roasted so only the chaff burns and not the seeds. After roasting, the wheat is thrashed and rubbed – thus the Arabic name fareek, which means rubbed. The grains inside are too moist to burn and the result is a smoky, nutty wheat with a distinct taste and numerous nutritional factors.
- Freekeh is high in fibre, helping to relieve constipation. Fibres help regulate the digestive system and losing weight as they make you eat less and feel fuller for longer.
- Freekeh contains protein and glutamic acid which helps synthesise glutamine; it’s also capable of providing strength and endurance to athletes and bodybuilders.
- Freekeh is an excellent source of manganese; it helps balance levels of calcium – preventing osteoporosis and calcium deficiency.
- Freekeh is rich in lutein which is important for the eyes. It prevents eye-related macular degeneration. Lutein is typically found in vegetables so it is unique to be found in a grain as well.
- Freekeh ranks low on the Glycemic Index, which can provide diabetics with a healthy option. High blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and obesity; studies have proven that the increased intake of whole grains, decreases all five lifestyle-related diseases.
- Freekeh contains iron, which is crucial for the production of hemoglobin. It is good for building muscles and increasing brain function. To keep up with your iron need, consider getting some from plant sources like freekeh and not only from meat.
- Freekeh is high in calcium as well, therefore good for bone health. It provides zinc and helps in supplying the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system.
VEGETABLES AND SMOKED SALMON FREEKEH
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 medium size white onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups of freekeh, washed and soaked for at least 1 hour
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 1 cup of zucchini, diced
- ¾ cup of carrots, diced
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 cup of vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp of fresh parsley leaves
- Smoked salmon, to garnish
In a medium saucepan, heat oil and saute the zucchinis and the carrots until cooked. Season with salt. In a separate heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter and add the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft and transparent. Add in the freekeh and cook for 2 minutes.Add wine to the softened onions and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat this process until freekeh is thick and creamy; the freekeh should still have some chew to it. Season to taste. If the freekeh is still hard, it has to be cooked with additional boiling water. Once the freekeh is cooked, mix in the vegetables and finish with 1 cup of stock. Let simmer a couple of minutes until it is entirely absorbed.To transfer this meal into a dish, put freekeh in a small serving bowl and top it with parsley leaves. Cover the bowl with a dinner plate and flip it swiftly upside down. Decorate it with smoked salmon and lemon wedges and serve immediately.
FREEKEH, FAVA BEANS AND PISTACHIO SALAD
- 1 ½ of cup freekeh
- 1 cup of fava beans, cooked and shelled
- ½ cup of pistachios, soaked in water for 2 hours
- ¼ cup of fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp of lemon zest
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp of dried dill
- Salt to taste
Cook the freekeh according to package instructions. Add fava beans, pistachios and parsley. To make the dressing, combine lemon zest, lemon juice,
olive oil, dill and salt. Drizzle over the freekeh mixture and stir until well combined. Enjoy!
Fore more info: mayasingredients.com