Roasted green wheat or freekeh is a wheat berry that has been harvested early and smoked in the fields; it used to be the main cereal for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Syria before the introduction of rice; it is currently experiencing a revival of sorts amongst the foodie crowd in Lebanon because of its amazing nutritional properties.
I like to go roaming in Asian markets near my house and when I saw this beautiful Kabocha squash, I could not pass it up! It is so sweet, so mellow, so wonderful to eat alone with a pat of butter or with a bowl of freekeh.
- 1 Kabocha squash
- 1 cup of roasted green wheat or freekeh (can substitute other whole-grain of your choice)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups of a cut up peppers (green, red, yellow and orange)
- 1 lemon
- Spices: cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, black or white pepper, paprika, to taste.
- 3 cloves of garlic mashed with a dash of salt (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 3 cups of water or broth
- Place the squash in a 375F oven for 30 minutes or longer until a knife inserted in its flesh comes out very easily.
- In the meantime, prepare the freekeh:
- Rinse the green wheat and let it sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes to dust it off and get rid of any tiny stones or particles. Pour into a strainer.
- Heat some olive oil in a big pot and fry the onion and some of the bell peppers for a few minutes; add the freekeh and stir-fry it for a couple of minutes, adding the spices to the mixture.
- Add three cups of water and the tomato paste, close the lid, let it simmer for 30 minutes or more until the freekeh is thoroughly cooked and soft.
- When the squash is cool enough, cut it in half lengthwise with a serrated knife. Scoop out the seeds and filaments. Place a pat of butter on the surface and swirl it around to cover the cut surface. Place the freekeh mixture, adjust seasoning, and serve.
- Freekeh is 4 times more nutritious than brown rice.
- You can add the diced peppers raw after cooking the freekeh.
- You can squeeze a lemon quarter on your meal.
- Freekeh needs to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed before using; place in a bowl and cover with water. Rinse and repeat.
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