Couple of weeks ago my friends and I grabbed a bite at a pub. On the menu was an Ottolenghi style filled aubergine served with tabbouleh. My friend ordered it and I went on about how amazing Ottolenghi is, how we have all the cookbooks, and how delicious tabbouleh is. Said friend had never eaten tabbouleh so I described the pang of parsley with the great texture of bulgur and the hint of mint, upgraded Ottolenghi style with tart little pomegranate seeds. Imagine our surprise when the dish arrived and the tabbouleh was nothing of the sort, it was a dry pale cous cous with what appeared to be the ghosts of dried fruit. Just about the saddest thing I've seen on a plate for a long time. So here is my interpretation of tabbouleh, not exactly like the Ottolenghi version, nor probably terribly traditional but it sure hits the spot. Healthy, quick and full of flavour, I like to eat it on its own or perhaps served with fresh feta and flat-bread.
- 1 big bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint
- 2 small tomatoes, or 1 big one
- 1 shallot
- pomegranate seeds
- 3 tblps bulgur
- juice of half a lemon
- half a tsp ras al hanout, or substitute with some ground cumin or coriander
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
Rinse the bulgur, a parboiled cracked wheat, and set aside in a bowl. Pour over some boiling water and let it steep while you chop the herbs.
Grab your largest knife and go to town on the parsley. You can use a large part of the stalks, just discard the bottom 3 fingers width. You'll need to chop it quite fine so have at it. Add the mint leaves, without the stalks, and chop them through the parsley.
Chop the tomato flesh and a shallot finely and add this and the parsley and mint to the bulgur. Mix it up and let it sit for a while so the flavours can combine and the bulgur can soften. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds before eating.