Zucchini and cracked wheat pilaf (Jreesh el-koossa)

blog zucchini pilaf

Here is a very simple and rustic dish from Syria’s Kurdish community; it is just zucchini and onions, fried a bit in olive oil and cooked with some cracked wheat (jreesh). The cracked wheat can be replaced by any whole-grain in your pantry, with bulgur being the best substitute (pick a coarse bulgur if possible). The traditional drink with this meal is a yogurt drink (ayran or daw). These yogurt drinks are sold in all Middle-Eastern stores in the US or can be made at home very easily by diluting water in some yogurt until the consistency is liquid. 

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound zucchini (or Mexican calabasas in the US), diced
  • 1 cup cracked wheat (or bulgur #3 or 4)
  • Optional: 2 cloves garlic, mashed with a teaspoon of salt 

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and fry the onion till translucent and golden; add the zucchini and stir-fry a few minutes; add the cracked wheat and about 1 1/2 cup of water; add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cover. Check the pilaf after about 20 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. If adding garlic, do so after frying the onions. Serve with yogurt or yogurt drink (ayran).blog zucc wheat

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  1. Posted March 17, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Hm… this looks delicious. Looks healthy as well

  2. Posted March 17, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I love bulghur.
    This looks lovely. I’m going to make it tonight as a side dish for something,,,,,maybe some fish?

  3. Joumana
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    @Coco in the Kitchen: whatever you decide will be smashing!

  4. Posted March 18, 2014 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Never had or even heard of cracked wheat: will look out for it

  5. Posted March 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait for zucchini to come back in season in my part of the world! It’s likely my favorite all-around vegetable. Love the combination here.

  6. Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    I love cracked wheat and use it as much as possible. This dish must be vary tasty!

  7. Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    This would be delicious when we have farm fresh zucchinis this summer. This would make a great side dish for a summer BBQ.

  8. Posted August 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    This looks and sounds utterly delicious…I love bulgur wheat in salads! Thanks for another great recipe!

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