The days leading up to Christmas are filled with a jolly amount of eating. With a roast to look forward to only few days away, you’d think we were more conservative about what we eat before the big day, but we aren’t. However, this year I decided to sub at least one of my meals with something green, but not in the way you know it. This time last year if you remember, I was gushing about hara chana (green chickpeas) and ponkh (tender jowar and wheat seeds) that become available in the winters and in that window of time, you must snatch up these sweet grains by the kilo if you can. Not only are they perhaps the season’s most nutritious offering, but they taste absolutely delicious.
My ponkh Tabbouleh obviously subs ponkh for bulgur or cracked wheat and is eaten cold once the flavours of tomatoes, onion and parsley have been left alone for some time to marinate. Subbing a smaller grain for something slightly bigger and with more bite to it makes this a hearty salad. Chopping your herbs uniformly and with a sharp knife is important when making a tabbouleh, as is the use of parsley. Using flat leaf parsley instead of the curly variety is better for this tabbouleh, but because I know it can be a pain to track down sometimes, you can sub it. Since you can only find ponkh between the months of November and February, I suggest you make this today.
This tabbouleh recipe has been my go-to recipe for years now though we mostly make it with a medium-sized lapsi or broken wheat. At times I hold back the lime juice and even add a dash of pomegranate molasses to the salad for a different flavour.
Ponkh 1 cup (wheat or jowar will do)
Tomatoes 1, medium sized
Parsley 1 cup flat-leaf preferably, but if you can’t find it, curly will do
Coriander 1/4 cup
Mint 1/4 cup
Scallions 1/4 cup, green parts only
Red onions 2 small
Limes 2-3, juiced
Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
Pomegranate seeds from 1 pomegranate
Salt and pepper
Get a large bowl out that makes for easy tossing. Add in the ponkh.
Finely chop the parsley and other herbs with a sharp knife. Add these to the bowl too.
Next, finely chop the tomato and the onions and add these in. Lightly toss everything together.
Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil, add in some salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime to begin with, then adjust the acidity as you go. Cover with clingfilm and let the tabbouleh sit in the refrigerator for half an hour at least before serving.