This is my third in a series of Armenian recipes that I have been making lately as I revisit the time that I lived in an Armenian community in Boston in the early 1980s.
I talked about Gram (here) in an earlier post. She was the Armenian woman who introduced me to many of the foods from her homeland. She made homemade yogurt (madzoon), which I loved, so I started making it, too. She had a garden with fresh parsley and mint – my first experience with freshly grown herbs. I thought the only way to use a spice was to buy the dried stuff from the grocery store. My mouth came alive with the tastes of freshly grown herbs, freshly pickled vegetables, freshly made pastries, and freshly made vegetables. I ate stuffed grape leaves and eggplant and Armenian bread. I ate a raw meat dish called Keyma. And it was all good.
I grew up as the world’s pickiest eater, but my taste buds and palate came alive with the many ethnic foods available in Boston including the Middle Eastern “delicacies” from Gram’s kitchen.
One of these dishes was a bulghur wheat salad called Tabouleh. There are many variations of spellings for this Middle Eastern dish – tabouluy, tabbouleh, tabouli, tabbouli, taboule – which is common in Greece, Lebanon, and throughout the region.
The following recipe is Gram’s actual recipe which I have adapted to include more exact measurements (rather than a little of this and a little of that). This dish can be served as either an appetizer with pieces of Pita bread or as a side dish. Using freshly grown tomatoes and freshly squeezed lemon juice will result in a dish that I like to describe as “tasting like Summer.” Try it. I think you’ll agree.
Gram’s Tabouleh Salad ingredients.
First of all, pour one cup of boiling water over ¾ cup of fine bulghur wheat. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the wheat will have soaked up all of the water, and it will look like this. While the wheat is soaking, you can cut up the parsley, scallions, and tomatoes. Squeeze the lemon juice and mix with the olive oil.
Place the wheat into a large bowl and add your finely minced parsley, finely minced scallions, diced tomatoes, and finely minced mint. Stir to combine well. Add your olive oil and lemon juice mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to combine and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Gram’s Tabouleh Salad – ready to eat with some Pita bread or serve as a side dish. Truly like a taste of Summer in your mouth.
Gram’s Armenian Tabouleh Salad Makes about 6 cups ¾ cup fine bulghur wheat In a large bowl, pour one cup of boiling water over the bulghur wheat and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the remainder of the ingredients, stir well to combine, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours prior to serving. Serve as a side dish or with pieces of pita bread as an appetizer.
1 cup of boiling water
2 bunches of parsley, finely minced (about 1½ to 2 cups)
1 bunch of scallions, finely minced
4 to 5 tomatoes, diced into small chunks
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil
1 TB finely minced fresh mint
1 TB salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Gram’s Armenian Tabouleh Salad
Makes about 6 cups
¾ cup fine bulghur wheat
In a large bowl, pour one cup of boiling water over the bulghur wheat and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the remainder of the ingredients, stir well to combine, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours prior to serving.
Serve as a side dish or with pieces of pita bread as an appetizer.