21 April 2005: Spiced burgul salad

Continuing with the festival of flat-leaf parsley recipes, here's a warm salad of burgul, chick peas, pine nuts, spices and fresh herbs, adapted from Zest by Michele Cranston. Annoyingly, the photo in the recipe book is pretty misleading, showing the salad looking all suave and spice-toned, rather than the more colourful version you see above. Never mind - colour's a good thing! It just wasn't quite what I was expecting. This salad tastes great, though, and does well for lunch the next day, too, if you have leftovers.

150 g burgul
olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
a finger of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
200 g cooked chickpeas
50 g sultanas or currants
50 g pine nuts, toasted
1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1 small bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toast the burgul in a frypan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring, until it is turning golden and you can hear a gentle popping when you put your ear near the pan. (This step is optional if you can't be bothered, but it makes the burgul taste a bit nuttier.) Tip it into a bowl and add 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in the frypan over medium heat, and add the onions, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and ginger. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft.

Add the onion mixture, celery, chilli, chickpeas, sultanas, pine nuts and most of the herbs to the burgul mixture, which should be softened by now. Season with salt and pepper, and fold everything together.

Serve with the remaining herbs scattered on top. Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

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