This is a vegan pâté called kammounieh (from kammoun or cumin). It is a Southern Lebanese specialty. It is easy to make and consists of fine bulgur mixed with onion, herbs, cumin and chiles. The recipe is just a guide as each family in the South have their own personal spice mix for the kammounieh.
Once the pâté is formed it is served at room temperature with a garnish of fresh mint or basil, radishes, diced tomatoes or peppers, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil; served with pita bread or chips.
The one pictured above was bought at Souk el Tayeb from a southern farmer.
The following recipe can be altered according to your taste. The idea is to gather herbs and spices, grind them in a mortar like a pesto and let the bulgur get imbibed with them; tomato paste or a diced tomato is added with olive oil and creates the pâté or kammounieh.
Suggested kammouneh mix:
- 1/4 cup of cumin (if in grains, grind in a mortar or coffee grinder)
- 1 tbsp of hot Aleppo pepper or 1 red chile pepper
- 1 tbsp of marjoram
- 1 tbsp of basil
- 1 tsp of mint (fresh or dried)
- 1 tsp of ground cloves
- 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp of rose petals (from the fragrant rose Damascena) (omit if needed or replace with geranium petals)
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
NOTE: The rind of an orange was a suggestion from Dana, whose family is Southern Lebanese.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 1 cup of fine bulgur
- 1/2 of the kammounieh mix
- 3 tbsp of dried onion flakes
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste or 2 large diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of hot red pepper paste
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- Boil 2 cups of water and dissolve the tomato and red pepper paste in the water; pour over the bulgur and onion flakes and let it swell; when the bulgur is tender and cool, drain and press excess moisture; combine the bulgur with the spice mix and the olive oil. Pat it to form a compact and moist pâté-like paste, adding more tomato or red pepper paste according to your taste.
- Serve with radishes and fresh herbs and extra olive oil and some pita bread or crackers.
NOTE: This kammounieh is served with meat in the South.
The tomato paste suggested here can be substituted for a thick tomato sauce with some chili peppers (can omit the peppers).
For a richer taste, some people add ground walnuts (about 1/2 cup).
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