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Syrian Cracked Wheat Salad

printable recipe

One custom for Tu B’Shvat is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the Seven Species (shivat haminim) described in the Bible as being abundant in the land of Israel: Wheat, barley, grapes (vines), figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (honey) (Deut. 8:8). You can make a nice vegetarian pilaf from the shivat haminim: A bed of cooked bulgur wheat or wheat berries and barley, topped with figs, dates, raisins (grapes), and pomegranate seeds, served with a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar (grapes) and pomegranate juice. This recipe comes from Joyce Goldstein's Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean (Chronicle Books).

This recipe originally appeared in the story Sephardic Salad Days.

2 cups bulgur wheat or finely cracked wheat
Salt to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamarind paste dissolved in cup boiling water, or 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put the wheat in a bowl and cover with lightly salted water. Let soak until the grains are tender, 30 minutes or longer. Drain well. Transfer to a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, tamarind mixture, tomato paste, lemon juice, and spices together.

Add to the wheat and toss. Season to taste. Fold in the nuts and parsley and mix well. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or as long as overnight. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

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