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Chourba frik | Algerian green wheat soup

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Greetings friends and Ramadan kareem saeed!

Chourba (soup) and bourek seem take center stage on Algerian tables all during Ramadan. So today, I am presenting another delicious and filling soup.

The Chourba Frik also called Jari is the traditional soup of choice in the eastern regions of Algeria. As Harira is important in the regions towards Morocco, Chourba Frik is featured on all iftar tables in the East. And also like Harira, there are so many various and tastes as there are cooks. In some regions  more or less spice, more or less herbs, with or without chick peas, with added vegetables, meat, poultry or dumplings ...

Chourba frik  is excellent and quite complete meal, delicious served with a good loaf of bread such Khoubz ifter , Khoubz Dar or Pide that is  freshly prepared.



The Frik, the characteristic ingredient in this  soup is that aggrement smoky crushed green wheat is a real winner for people seeking new taste sensations.

Frik (sometimes spelled frikeh, freekah or even  farik  is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production. It is an grain dish that is especially popular in Levantine and Egyptian cuisine, but also in the Maghreb. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

People of the Mediterranean have enjoyed frik for centuries since it mentioned in an ancient cookbook from Baghdad. Countries all over the region use this grain in their own special way. Tunisia for example has a similar soup to one I am presenting ... made with bone marrow and mutton brains called Chourbat el frik.

Frik is an ancient grain that has come back in style. I remember when some years back when I lived in the US, grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's were carrying it. But I usually brought mine at the local Arabe market- the Ziyad brand in a one pound package. And I would think in major cities, it might perhaps be found in the well-stocked Arabic, Turkish and health food grocery shoppes. I have also seen Frik sold in France. And one friend told me it is readily availible in Australia as well.

I normally do not do advertising but since I feel this grain is worth trying I am linking a place to buy Frik (((click here))). In fact, I would gladly send out samples to anyone really interested I think.

Otherwise, if you can replace the Frik with bulgur. And if at least "angel hair" type noodles, rice or small pasta such as "bird tongue". But I think if you can find good Frik, please use it, because this soup is a real treat with crushed green wheat in the inimitable flavor and texture ...
And BTW frik makes an excellent breakfast cereal ... even more nutrious then oatmeal. I also use it in stuffings, cold salads and a nice rice and frik dish I may just do sometime in the near future! 

Now on to the recipe ... this is special recipe that came with love from my best friend Lynda! (Love ya girl!)


Chourba frik
  • A few morsels of chicken cut into small pieces (for me I use the backbone of the chicken in soups)
  • Large handful, maybe 150g ground meat1 onion, diced fine1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 small courgettes
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 bunch of parsely, chopped 
  • 1 sprig of celery, chopped 
  • 115g - 1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight  
  • 4 fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned (or canned ) 
  • 2 TBS tomato paste  
  • 150 mL - about 3/4 cup Frik (crushed green wheat)  
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  •  Oil, butter or Smen(for me I use olive oil)
  • Salt/ black pepper
  • Optional harissa or other hot pepper
 Garnish:  chopped fresh cilantro and dried mint
  1. In a large pot sauté the onions in the oil or Smen (or butter) cilantro, celery and spices for about ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken and triple the volume of water as ingredients. Add the carrots, 1courgette, potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, tomato paste, hot pepper (if desired) and cover with water. Simmer on low fire until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Skim the soup as needed. 
  4. Soak the frik in water. About double the volume of water to frik.
  5. When the chickpeas and meat are nearly at the end of cooking, remove them from the pot. Set aside.
  6. Using an immersion blender puree the soup.
  7. Now place the soup back on the fire.
  8. Add the frik and the other courgette into the soup. Keep stirring regularly to avoid that it sticks. The frik should take about 15m to cook. Allow to thicken the soup. 
  9. Now toss in the ground meat and chicken. Heating the chicken through should be enough for the ground meat to also get cooked to temp. 
 Serve the soup hot immediately, decorated with chopped cilantro and dried mint. Serve aside to finish with a loaf of bread. But for the ultimate Algerian ifter serve with Bourek L'adjaine.

Trick:
To easily skin tomatoes, place them boiling water for a few minutes until the skin softens. Or much easier, simply grate the tomato against a grater - the skin and seeds just fall right away!




I am entering this soup into Kouky of Cuisine de 4 mains' Ramadan Soup event ((( (((click here ))))) to see the details!

And I pray all of our fasting and prayers are accepted! 

Saha Ftourkoum!


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