although consumed throughout the middle east, and regions surrounding the mediterranean sea, tabbouleh is the first thing that comes to mind when i think of lebanese cuisine. it’s a cold salad-like dish, often served as a meze. its colors are like that of the lebanese flag: red, white and green. parsley, tabbouleh’s main ingredient, is believed to deodorize bad breath (which you’re sure to have, eating toum (like i do) in hoards). tabbouleh, as such, is seen as a palate cleanser. it is delicious and accompanies grilled poultry and meats wonderfully. this is my mother-in-law’s recipe, so as should be imagined, i must share as it was relayed to me. feel free to modify to your likely, just don’t add garlic or massive amounts of bulgar, that’s just counter intuitive.
this is a recipe that can be easily modified to preference. feel free to add more tomato or lemon juice of you like; i recommend the juice of two lemons as the bare minimum. some people like more bulgar in their tabouleh, but parsley should be the star of this dish. if you are one of those people, however, i’d recommend adding 1/4-1/2 a cup of bulgar (no more or you’ll have a barley salad), but also do add more lemon juice and olive oil to ensure the bulgar is able to soften.
be prepared for a major arm workout. this dish involves dicing by hand, which is incredibly tedious if not used to doing so, but highly recommended (to some, any other method is sacrilege). the idea is that the parsley should be finely chopped, but not bruised, and hand-dicing successfully accomplishes this. as in many cultures, there is usually an indicator of the esteem of the chef or homemaker. how fine the parsley is chopped in tabbouleh serves as such an indicator. here’s to hoping i made the cut (you get it?).
2 large bunches of fresh parsley, minced very finely
1 medium yellow (or red onion), minced very finely
3-5 medium tomatoes, minced very finely
1/4 cup of mint, minced finely
1 tbsp of fine bulgar
4 tbsp of good olive oil
juice of two lemons
1/2 tsp of coarse black pepper
salt to taste
wash parsley thoroughly and dry completely before chopping finely. finely dice mint and tomato. dice onion very finely and add black pepper to it. add dry bulgar. add to a bowl and mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste and allow to sit for at least five minutes.