Tabbouleh with radishes

Photography by Kris Kirkham, Styling by Olia Hercules

Photography by Kris Kirkham, Styling by Olia Hercules

This was inspired by my friend Linda’s recipe. I am nuts about radishes and they always add an interesting texture, juiciness and pleasantly bitter notes to a salad. I used freekeh, which is a type of toasted wheat and has an ace smoky flavour.

Tabbouleh is fun to play around with though. Add pomegranate seeds, torn cherry tomatoes, finely chopped cucumber. As long as there are bags of finely chopped herbs and a little bit of grain (tabbouleh should be mostly herbs with a little bit of grain) – you are there.

You can use any grain you have knocking about in your house – pearl barley, cous cous, brown rice, the traditional bulgar. The key is not to overcook it (the grain must have a bite) and to soak it in seasoned lemon juice while still warm.

The first time I tried tabbouleh was in Cyprus, where I lived for five years as a teenager. We used to go to The Syrian Club – our local in Limassol, I’ve never had better Arabic food anywhere. The bulgar shards in their tabbouleh were very much al dente and very zingy.

Try not to bruise the herbs while chopping. I will post a video showing you how to chop big bunches of herbs shortly.

Tabbouleh with radishes

100g freekeh
2 lemons, juice only
1/2 tsp Maldon salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of mint, finely chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
100g cherry tomatoes, torn with your thumbs (catch juices in a bowl)
150g radishes, finely chopped

1. Cook the freekeh in lots of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes. It should still have a little bit of a bite.
2. Mix the lemon, salt and sugar, let them dissolve and add the olive oil. When the freekeh is ready stir the lemon mixture through the freekeh and let it cool.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients and stir the cool freekeh and tomato juices through. Adjust the seasoning to taste and add more lemon juice and olive oil if the salad needs it. Serve with slow-cooked lamb and a flagon of Lebanese white wine.

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