While the tabouleh is Lebanon’s most famous salad, it has unfortunately been bastardized elsewhere in the world; it is a rare occurrence to find an authentic tabouleh salad outside of Lebanon! The event today was open to anyone and plates of tabbouleh samples distributed graciously; a competition was organized in three categories, traditional tabouleh, winter tabouleh and creative tabouleh.
I was intrigued by a tabouleh that contained geranium petals and was dressed with sumac in addition to the traditional fresh lemon juice and olive oil; winter tabouleh was offered by one contestant with lentils and parsley; an Armenian tabouleh was on display with bulgur and tomatoes and peppers.
NOTE: The traditional way of eating tabouleh is cupped in a cabbage or lettuce leaf; for the traditional recipe, click here.
Recipe for the creative tabouleh presented today (reconstituted):
- 1 tablespoon of sumac
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- salt, a dash of allspice
INGREDIENTS FOR THE TABOULEH:
- 2 bunches of flat-leafed parsley, stems discarded or used elsewhere, leaves chopped very fine
- 1 large white onion, chopped very fine
- 1 handful of fresh basil, shredded
- 1 handful of pink geranium leaves, unsprayed, please!
- 1/4 cup of small bulgur, soaked in lemon juice or tomato juice or water for a few minutes till softened
- 4 large tomatoes, diced small
- 2 small green peppers, diced small
- Drain the bulgur and keep the juice (if lemon or tomato) for the dressing
- Mix all the chopped and diced vegetables together; add the geranium flowers at the last minute, after tossing with the dressing, so that the flowers do not wilt.
- Serve in cabbage leaves or romaine lettuce leaves.
According to the Academy of Gastronomy in Lebanon there are several components that make up an authentic tabouleh:
- use of flat-leaved parsley
- use of bulgur
- use of tomatoes, onion, olive oil and lemon juice
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