Saturday, March 20, 2010

Green Wheat with Chcken ("Freekeh Ma Dajaj")

One of my favorite Middle Eastern Dishes. Freekeh (or Farik) - is the type of cerela made from green weat which goes through a roasting process in its production. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farÄ«k or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur. It typically served with chicken, but variation with Lamb is aslo possible.

1/2 Chicken cut in pieces with bones and skin on
1 cup Freekeh
1/2 large onion
Olive oil
Toasted Pine Nuts
Water enough to cover chicken

1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom (or pods)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Baharat (Arabic Spice mix)
Black pepper corns
Salt to taste

1. Prepare the chicken and boil it with spices until cooked.
2. Wash freekeh in large amount of water discarding dirt and stones. Drain in colander for 30 minutes.
3. Remove cooked chicken from stock, sprinkle with spices, brush with a bit of olive oil and cook in hot oven for 15 minutes just to give it some crispiness.
4. Drain stock.
5. Cook some diced onions in the skillet with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until translucent. Add freekeh and cover with chicken stock - 3 cm. above surface. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a stir once in a while or add more water or stock if needed.
6. Serve in one plate, garnish with toasted pine nuts or browned onions.

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