Two music graduates chronicle the culinary delights of Leeds and London and explore the height of fine dining on a limited budget.

Good food is well punk.

May 04, 2010

"The Lebanese invented everything, you know..." How to make tabbouleh, with love from Beirut.

Mmmkay, so it's been a little bit longer than a week. If anyone is particularly bothered, I'M SORRY. Like the rest of the student population, I've had work to do. This time of the year is the worst.

But anyways. Tabbouleh, done properly. I rang home to clarify and everything. The main point to remember is that you want it as acidic as possible; we're talking so sharp it will take a layer off the roof of your mouth. If you were to do a quick Google for tabbouleh recipes you will often find English versions recommending the usage of fresh mint or spring onion; this, according to my Beirutian father, is absolutely plain wrong. Far too mellow. To go over:

1. Try not to substitute ingredients. It really is worth beef tomatoes instead of normal, for instance.
2. Don't add anything else. This is my grandma's simplest and best.
3. When it says chop finely, this means 5x5mm pieces. Really small.
4. Don't chicken out! Once you've experienced the amount of zing, you will be hooked. Promise.

Makes a large salad bowl's worth of, uh, salad.

Half a mug of dried bulgur wheat
Two beef tomatoes
One large white onion
Whole packet of dried parsley, or half a pot's worth of fresh.
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (in all honesty, the bottled stuff is better in this case, it's slightly sharper)
salt and pepper

Soak the bulgur wheat for about half an hour, so it still retains a bit of bite. FINELY chop the tomatoes, onion and parsley if using fresh. Bung everything mentioned so far into a bowl, mix well.

Season well with salt and pepper. Add two or three good glugs of olive oil, so the mixture looks glossy. If you want to do the lemon juice the Lebanese way, add enough so that the lemon is very definitely the main flavour. You should find that the other flavours will still come through because of the salt, but they'll be secondary certainly. If you want to balance your flavours go right ahead I guess but y'know, I will judge you from the spheres of the internet.

And you're done! Serve with most fish, especially salmon. Get some pitta or, ideally, khobez (one of the shops on the takeaway row near The Library/Henry Price does large bags of it), tear chunks off and use as pockets to eat the tabbouleh with your hands. Scrumptious :)


  1. And I always thought Khobez was made up by the union to sell weird sandwiches. Huh.

  2. Oh God, mashed banana and sugar sandwiches using rolled up khobez is the absolute best. Could live off it. DROOL.