The hardest part of starting a recipe series on Girl vs Globe wasn’t cooking, writing or even taking photos. It was finding the perfect recipe.
I’ve eaten so much delicious food on my travels that I had absolutely no idea where to begin. Should I take your taste buds to the Moroccan des(s)ert? Or would they prefer a quick dip in the cold waters around Finland?
My research eventually led me to my Instagram gallery. I was searching for something – what, I wasn’t quite sure. So imagine my surprise when I found it, in the form of a quick snap from Lebanon!
As you may already know, last October I went on a round-the-world trip to film a cinema ad for the European Commission. If you haven’t watched it yet check it out here – it’s a short video full of wonderful development projects and inspiring people.
The countries I went to – in just ten days – were Ethiopia, Tanzania, Philippines, Dominican Republic and Lebanon. In that short time I obviously didn’t get to explore much, but I did get to eat.
I was excited to try all those new flavours, but the country whose food I was most curious about was Lebanon. I already knew I liked Middle Eastern food but had never been to the region before, save for a quick trip to Jordan and Israel when I was 15. Would it be different? Would it be better? Spoiler alert: the answers are yes and yes.
I ate at two wonderful restaurants in Beirut – one near Zaitunay Bay (first photo) and one on Rue 78 in Hamra (second photo). I spent an hour trying to find their names and still haven’t cracked the case… Bad blogger and bad detective, I know. I promise to update this post if I do!
Their names aren’t too important though. What matters is how delicious the food was. I obviously tried some new dishes – makanek sausages with pomegranate sauce, kibbeh fried balls and fatayer meat pie.
But it was the classics that really blew my mind – the hummus and tabbouleh. I’ll be posting a delicious hummus recipe in the near future, but for now let’s focus on tabbouleh.
Oh, tabbouleh. What a delightful bowl of crisp parsley, ripe tomatoes and zingy lemon! Who knew a bunch of leaves could turn into something so delicious?
Whenever I tried tabbouleh back home, it was far from the lush green mixture I was served in Beirut. It was a bowl full of grains with a few sad wisps of parsley thrown in. And I still liked it, so you can only imagine how much I enjoyed the real tabbouleh!
- large bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
- small bunch fresh mint leaves
- 25g bulgur wheat
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2-5 spring onions
- 2 lemons
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp baharat spice mix*
- pomegranate arils (optional)
1. Rinse bulgur in a sieve until water runs clear. The pour over 200ml boiling water, cover with cling film and leave to soak for 30 mins or so.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop the tomatoes and spring onions and add to your bowl of bulgur.
3. Add the juice of 1 ½ lemons and 1 tsp baharat spice mix (see * for all the ingredients) to the bowl.
4. Wash fresh flatleaf parsley and mint cold water. Pick the leaves off and chop them up as gently and finely as possible. This takes time and patience but it’s definitely worth it.
5. Add parsley and mint to the bowl along with olive oil, and toss well. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or spice mix to taste. Scatter with pomegranate, if using, just before serving.
*paprika, pepper, cumin, cassia, cloves, coriander seed, cardamom & nutmeg
Have you ever tried tabbouleh or made it at home? What did you think? Let me know if you try this recipe and don’t forget to rate it!