The Lemony Freekeh experiment

Oh, it has been quite long since I posted last. This break was full of new culinary experiences and I guess number of those new things would seep into my food blog posts in the new year.

Today’s post however records a brand new adventure. On Saturday, while on our grocery shopping spree, we also visited the Mediterranean food store.  We wanted to replenish our couscous pot in the pantry. Of course, once we entered the shop and picked what we were looking for, we had to spend another forty minutes in wandering through z’ataar spices, Turkish coffees, tahini jars, and schawrma wafts. During this jump down the rabbit hole, we stumbled upon Freekeh. Always excited in diversifying our staple, we bought this packet of roasted green wheat.

The packet had mentioned the cooking instructions which were quite similar to those of cooking quinoa. So accordingly, I took one and half cup of freekeh in a saucepan and gave it thorough wash. As you soak it, you can smell its nice smoky aroma. So while enjoying that, I chopped up an onion, and washed a packet full of greens- baby spinach and rocket leaves. In a pressure cooker pot, I heated a dash of olive, and sautéd chopped garlic, bay leaves, cumin, a small dried red chili in it. Once the spices started giving off their aromas,  I added chopped onions, greens with a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. After the greens wilted and onions cooked to translucent, I added soaked freekeh to it and further sauté it for five minutes.  During these five minutes, I could slice two preserved lemons, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives for that tagine like middle-eastern flavors. After these enhancers, I added three cups of water and put the pressure on the cooker. After five whistles and letting go off the steam, I had a perfect one-pot freekeh. 🙂 Preserved lemons really pair so well with freekeh.

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It turned out to be a great weekday lunch which is light and tasty. Freekeh retains its smoky flavor even after cooking and adds to that a distinct nutty note. I would experiment with it more in coming days for sure.

Surprise of the reckless one-pot

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It was surprisingly a warm day here, so we headed out to enjoy the local festival in the nearby countryside. It was fun to watch so many families out, enjoying live music, shopping for holiday decorations, enjoying their coffee or mulled ciders. We came back home while it was still sunny. When the dinner time approached, I had no clue what would I cook. So I thought maybe that could be the theme of tonight’s dinner.

Few days back, I had cooked one-pot kidney beans. Today I had a packet of tender chickpeas in the frozen section. I decided to use it for a similar one-pot but wondered if I could use altogether different flavors than a usual chili or curry ones. So, in my precious pressure cooker, I put the usual mix of:

– green chickpeas
– chopped onions
– handful of kidney beans, which I had saved from the last one-pot
– a sliced potato
– crushed garlic, thinly chopped green chillies, a teaspoon of red chili powder
– dried fenugreek leaves
– pinch of turmeric
– mix of coriander powder and cumin powder

If I had stopped at this list, it would have been a simple tasty Indian curry. But my mind today was crying out loud for RECKLESS. So I also threw in the unexpected cameos of:

– Sun-dried tomatoes
– Preserved lemons
– And a fistful of dried blueberries 🙂

As I shut the lid of the pressure cooker after adjusting the water (mixed with some soup stock), I was wondering how those surprise flavors would play with each other and whether the end product would be palatable. Thankfully, my partner is equally open to try out new tastes and is never disdainful of failed experiments.

Anyway, after five whistles and some more time in which, the steam let itself off, I opened the cooker. It smelled curious but inviting. We had it over our brown rice bowls and found it to be a pleasant medley of sour, sweet, and nutty flavors.

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As we chomped on our surprise stew with rice, we made a pledge to keep trying our hand at such reckless food experiments every now and then, even with the risk of occasional boomerangs.