Freekeh, farik, fireek, freeky or freek, as it is known in Syria up to Algeria, is the hard,green wheat, which is roasted during his production process.
His history starts in 2300 b.c when a town in eastern Mediterranean, was about to get attacked by a hostile troop. Being worried that they may lose their crop and starve, they gathered the wheat green and stored it.When the town went up in flames, the green wheat got burned, and it was that moment that the citizens, after rubbing away the seeds, discovered, that they are not only edible but also delicious and nutritious.
Freekeh is mentioned in a cookery book written in Baghdad, in the beginning of 13th century as ‘farīkiyya’. It is usually manufactured by unripe seeds of hard wheat, while they are still soft and opaline.
This stage of preparation is of great importance.The moment that the leaves are starting to turn yellow is perfect. Then, it is gathered in small pills and stays one day in the sun to get dried. Then, the piles are carefully set on fire, so that only the straw will get burned and not the seeds.The high moisture in the seeds -only in the hard wheat-prevents them from getting burned. The whole procedure needs to be carefully conducted for a perfect result.
The roasted wheat undergoes further threshing and drying in the sun, in order to obtain consistency in flavor, colour and texture.This threshing and grinding accounts for the product’s name, farīk, which means «the one that has been ground». In this stage, it breaks into smaller pieces and looks like green groats..
The result is a wordly, smoked, unique flavor.It is heralded with great enthusiasm in Syria,Palestine and Jordan, while you can find very famous, delicious dishes with freekeh in Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
Freekeh is more nutritious than the rice,mainly in roughage, proteins, vitamins and metal elements.Green in colour, liquid and sticky in texture, with a smoked flavor and taste like nuts, freekeh can be intergrated in many dishes.
Stuffed pigeon with frekeh is a common dish in Egypt, green wheaten pilaf in Turkey,soup with knuckle and freekeh soup in Tunisia,Lamb or chicken and nuts, in Syria and Palestine.
Many people regard freekeh as a superfood, one of them is chef Jamie Oliver as well. Its nutritious profile is very interesting.It is a high-protein, low-carb food and it has a low glycemic index. It is not recommended to people that suffer from celiac diasease, as it contains gluten,which is transmuted, due to her early harvest and production.
This ancient seed would rather get soaked before cooking.In addition, it can get ground in flour, which offers breads of great flavor and dough for pizza. Freekeh is found very often in Middle East and in Lebanese dishes and replaces rice e.g in a pilaf or in a tabbouleh.
Consider it as a healthy addition in soups and vegetable burgers, as an ingredient for meatballs or stuffed peppers, in order to offer a special flavor and texture, but also in order to give a special flavor in stuffings and dishes with different seeds and cereals.Chefs that have discovered freekeh were really excited and the ones that try it agree with them. It replaces the boring couscous and quinoa, it is a unique product as well as a superfood!