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Freekeh, (aka frik, fireek, firik)


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Kerry Beal

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 05:48 PM

I was in one of my favorite middle eastern groceries today to get some tahina. As always I look on the shelves and see which items I can find that I've never used before. Today it was freekeh, decribed on the box as 'grilled wheat'.

I've done a little research on eG and found some information about the grain itself, but not a lot of clear recipe suggestions.

So does anyone out there make any nice savory dishes with this grain? Recipes please.

#2 ChefCrash

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 07:17 PM

Freek, as we call it, is wheat that has been harvested while the plant is still green and then smoked. The green tops (heads) of the wheat plant are spread on screens over smoking fire until the kernels are dry.
After smoking, Freek kernels remain green in color and have a smokey aroma that becomes more pronounced as it cooks.

In Lebanon the only dish made with this grain is called Freek. :cool: And can be made with Chicken, Lamb or Beef.

My favorite is with Lamb but the procedure is the same for Chicken or other meats.
Posted Image

Make a stock using meaty Lamb bones. Cover the bones with water and add:

3 kernels of Cardamom (optional)
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
3 Cloves
Salt
Pepper

Skim and simmer (tasting the stock and correcting the seasoning) until the meat on the bones is falling off.
Remove bones and meat. Pull or shred the latter and set aside.

In a small pot, melt 2 T of butter and add 1 cup of Freek (serves two). Stir to coat all the kernels with butter, sauté for one minute. Add enough hot stock to cover by ~ 1/2 inch, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and let simmer.
Check kernels for tenderness and add more stock if needed.
In the end you want the consistency of Risotto.
Add the cooked meat, taste for salt and cook few more minutes.

#3 markemorse

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 12:41 AM

Wow, that sounds (and looks) amazing, right up my proverbial alley.
ChefCrash, do you rinse your freek before cooking?
And I'm wondering in under which regional specialization I'd be most likely to find this? Lebanese? Egyptian? We have scads of (for lack of a more useful term) "Middle Eastern" grocers here in Amsterdam, but 90% of them are of Moroccan or Turkish origin....

Thanks!
mark

#4 Abra

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 01:26 AM

I love freekeh, although I haven't seen any since we've lived in France. Here's how I cook it, totally simple and basic, really wonderful.

Fabulous Freekeh

2 cups whole freekeh (as opposed to cracked)
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Bring all to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and leave covered for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

This produces a drier grain than what ChefCrash shows in his delicious-looking recipe above.

#5 BarbaraY

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:10 AM

All I can say is, "I want some of that!"

#6 Kerry Beal

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:07 PM

So here I am up north working again, and I brought along the as yet unopened box of freekeh.

Last night I sauteed a shallot in some schmaltz, browned a cup of freekeh in with it, covered with some chicken stock, a bit of salt and pepper and in 30 minutes or so had an extremely tasty dish. It was still a tiny bit soupy, and I put it over rice. Amazing! Smokey, savoury goodness all the way.

#7 melamed

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:34 AM

Wow, that sounds (and looks) amazing, right up my proverbial alley.
ChefCrash, do you rinse your freek before cooking?
And I'm wondering in under which regional specialization I'd be most likely to find this? Lebanese? Egyptian? We have scads of (for lack of a more useful term) "Middle Eastern" grocers here in Amsterdam, but 90% of them are of Moroccan or Turkish origin....

Thanks!
mark

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Freekah is used by Egyptians but also by the Arabs in Israel and Palestine. Lebanese and Jordanians are also fond of it. I am not sure about the Turks.

#8 melamed

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 10:45 AM

In general I know what farik is-
green wheat that has been burnt to remove the tough outer covering creating a smoky flavored grain.

My question is, what kind of wheat is used to make farik- spelt or duram?

Second, why is the wheat burnt in the first place? Why isn't it left to mature and picked when the grain is dry?
These are the answers and ideas I received so far:
Burning releases nutrients which would not otherwise be bioavailable
Burning kills the parasites on the grain and enables long term storage
It is an easy way to remove the tough outer husk.

Any ideas?

#9 maher

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 12:33 AM

Freekeh/fareek etc is made from durum wheat.

the reason it is subjected to burning, or any form of high heat is that deactivates the enzymes that turn the proteins in the green wheat into starch in mature wheat. the nutritional profile of freekeh is much higher in protein/lower in starch.

the long term storage issue isnt solved by the burning, you then need to dry the grain to enable it to be shelf stable, otherwise it would rot. the green wheat is typically harvested at a miosture content of about 35%. Burning only reduces that to about 28% or so. you then need to dry it to get it below the 12% or thereabouts that make it shelf stable or about the same moisture content of wheat that has been left to mature on the stalk.

the burning also produces a smoky flavor, and releases the chaff from the husk. it also makes removing the grain from the stalk easier, since most threshers would just gum up on the wet green wheat.

as for the reason this is done instead of waiting for the wheat to mature and dry on the stalk? well basically it produces a different food from mature wheat, much as wheatgrass, and sprouts are different foods from mature grains. many grains and legumes are eaten in both their green and mature forms in the middle east. as a matter of fact, its currently the season for one of my favorites, green chickpeas!!

hope the answer is useful
maher

#10 melamed

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:29 AM

thanks for the answer, it makes sense to me. If freekah has a higher protein/starch ratio than regular wheat it would
have a lower glycemic index and be better for those with diabetes. (However, proteins do not turn into starch).
fresh chickpeas are in season here as well, very yummy roasted with salt

#11 Joel Hicks

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 04:49 AM

i live in the middle east, and we know this as freekeh, it is staple and available as an acompniement to grilled meats. It is typically served with pine nuts and currents or raisins, seasoned with cinamon and cumin, its delicious.

#12 plum tart

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 09:15 AM

I just bought some freekeh. Do you cook it like rice or like cracked wheat? Do you cook it in water or soak it or steam it?

#13 ChefCrash

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 09:36 AM

I just bought some freekeh. Do you cook it like rice or like cracked wheat? Do you cook it in water or soak it or steam it?


This is how we cook it.

#14 sazji

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 03:30 PM

Freekah is used by Egyptians but also by the Arabs in Israel and Palestine. Lebanese and Jordanians are also fond of it. I am not sure about the Turks.


Yep, it's used here too, and called "firik," and best known in the Antep and Hatay regions. I'm ashamed to say I've never tried it! :( Here's a picture of it cooked (similar to Chef Crash's picture)

http://www.deryadanl...tler.com/?p=140
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#15 bloviatrix

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:32 PM

Cayuga Pure Organics sells freekeh. They're at a number of greenmarkets in NYC including Union Square and W. 97th street. They also sell it online
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