A Tabouli Salad with a Difference
Tabouli is one of the dishes that is a definite hit or miss with me. (Is that statement an oxymoron?) I know that tabouli is a parsley-intense dish. Though not a major fan of parsley, I am okay with it… up to a limit. Sometimes the parsley in the tabouli sooo overwhelms everything else that it tastes of nothing else. In such cases, yeah, that polite one spoon is all that I can deal with.
But then, this friend of mine – she is from Turkey, where tabouli is a staple – made this amazing version, with cilantro instead of parsley. And boy, did it change everything! Never have I made a tabouli again with parsley. The main difference I feel, is in the texture. Cilantro has this delicate texture whereas parsley tends to be a bit coarse. Even when you manage to avoid even the tiniest stems and use only the leaves.
Another standard ingredient of tabouli is bulghar wheat or cracked wheat. The variety that gets cooked with just hot water poured over it. Recently, I tried using quinoa instead of the wheat. And, found it far superior.
Of course, you can spice up a tabouli too. And you can do that in many ways to suit your perfect tastes. A pinch of allspice powder or eastern eight spice will work very well. Or to keep it simple, teaspoon of pickled jalapenos would really add some heat too.
I start by chopping cilantro.
Then some tomatoes…
And finally chop some cucumber as well.
Plenty of lemon juice and here I used a pinch of eastern eight spice powder.
The quinoa is prepared the usual way (see recipe below for details).
Then you just keep adding the chopped stuff one by one. There is no particular order; I added tomatoes first…
And the chopped cucumbers last.
Generous squeeze of lemon, the spice powder and salt and pepper. And a squiggle of olive oil to top it all. Tabouli salad is ready to serve!
I like it served with a piece of buttered crusty warm bread. The salad tastes so refreshing, especially on a hot summer day!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 large fleshy tomato
- 1 seedless cucumber
- 1 large lemon
- 1 tsp eastern eight spice powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash quinoa thoroughly, multiple times, till the water runs very clear. Drain and keep aside.
- Boil 2 cups of water, adding a pinch of salt.
- Add the drained quinoa to the boiling water.
- Reduce heat and let cook simmering for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Switch off the heat and allow to cool.
- Finely chop the cilantro, tomato and cucumber.
- When the cooked quinoa has cooled down, add the chopped ingredients one by one and gently mix together.
- Squeeze the juice and add it to the quinoa, along with the spice powder.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add olive oil to the prepared quinoa, going twice around the bowl.
- Mix together and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.