DUBAI: Freekah is a rich-tasting grain that is roasted over a fire to give it its signature smoky flavor. It is often called the new super grain, with much more protein and fiber than other carbohydrates such as quinoa and rice.
Freekah in Arabic means “rubbing” and the grain has Arabic origins. It is said to date from when an eastern Mediterranean city was set on fire. In a desperate attempt to salvage their burnt crops the citizens rubbed the charred grains and discovered Freekah.
Freekah can be eaten in all sorts of ways. You can add it to salads, soups and stews. If you have more of a sweet tooth, it makes for a great-tasting and healthy bowl of cereal and even looks and tastes good with yogurt parfaits —very Instagram-worthy.
However, what suits the spirit of Ramadan better is a Freekah and Chicken Soup to warm the souls of people fasting. First prepare the rich chicken broth with a whole chicken cut in quarters (do not debone the chicken), a whole onion, a leek, three carrots and two stalks of celery. For the spices in the broth add one cinnamon stick, allspice, a bay leaf, and six pods of cardamom. Pour in three liters of water and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
While the broth is simmering be sure to remove any impurities that collect on the surface with a spoon. When the chicken is tender strain the broth and set it aside. Fish out the chicken as well and shred it for later.
Dice an onion and sauté it in a separate pan. Once the onion is softened add a cup of freekeh. Stir for two minutes, then add the cooked chicken and the sieved chicken broth and simmer for twenty minutes. Before serving garnish it with chopped parsley, and it will bring happiness to everyone’s faces around the table.