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Parsley’s Goodness Packed in a Salad

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Back in India, I have never used parsley. Though available, I guess its popularity is obscured by the more commonly used herbs like mint, cilantro and curry leaves. I just knew it as a mouth freshener and a garnish. But here in Kuwait I noticed it being frequently served as a salad. Tabbouleh, the salad is Lebanese in origin and tops all parsley recipes.

What started as an argument between me and my husband about the off-white ingredient in the dish led us to dig into the recipe. My guess was that it was coarsely ground peanuts soaked in water whereas my husband thought that it was grated coconut flower. None of us was right as we later discovered that the stuff in question was “Burghul”(parboiled, dried and ground wheat).

Burghul - parboiled, dried and ground wheat

Burghul – parboiled, dried and ground wheat

By then we had familiarized ourselves with the recipe and the easy obtainability of all the items required encouraged us to try our hands at it. The recipe is easy peasy.

Ingredients:

  • Parsley –one big bunch
  • Burghul–2 tbsp
  • Tomato –1 big and firm
  • Onion    –1 big
  • Mint      –a few
  • Lemon  –1
  • Olive oil–1 or 2 tbsp
  • Salt         –to taste

Methodology:

  • Destem the parsley; swish the leaves in a bowl of water; repeat the process twice or thrice to get rid of all the impurities sticking to the leaves; thoroughly drain the water from the leaves; chop the leaves as finely as you can – I sometimes use scissors for this.
  • Soak burghul in hot water for about half an hour so that it absorbs water and swells. Remove the burghul from water and press it with a ladle to drain away the water from the grains.
  • Deseed the tomato; chop it finely.
  • If you notice, efforts have been taken to remove elements that may contribute to sogginess. The goal is to retain the crispness of the parsley leaves to impart a better textural effect to the salad. And don’t ever add the parsley stem as it has a different flavour altogether and changes the taste of the end product.
  • Chop the onions and mint leaves finely.
  • Add all ingredients one by one to a bowl, squeeze the juice of the lemon on to them, sprinkle olive oil, add salt to taste and mix them gently.
  • Refrigerate for about 15 min and allow the flavours to infuse before you serve.

Now, you can call yourself the maker of an authentic Arabic dish.

Servings: 2

Parsley’s Goodness:

Parsley is a storehouse of volatile oils and flavanoids. Among its volatile oils, myristicin is antitumorigenic and chemoprotective. It helps neutralize particular types of carcinogens like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke. Among its flavanoids, luteolin acts as an antioxidant and protects against free radical damage. It is also a rich source of vitamin K, beta carotene, vitamin C and a good source of folic acid and iron.

Vitamin K helps in the synthesis of osteocalcin and sphyngolipid. The former is a protein that strengthens bones and the latter a fat that maintains myelin sheath around nerves. The vitamin has a role in blood clotting and it prevents calcium build up in tissues that lead to heart diseases.

Beta carotene on conversion to Vitamin A in the body maintains the integrity of mucous membranes and epithelial linings and boosts the immune system.

Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of collagen-the main structural protein in connective tissues and promotes wound healing.

Folic acid ensures proper cell division, prevents neural tube defects and cancer of colon and cervix. It converts homocysteine into harmless molecules and wards off heart ailments.

As we all know, iron helps in keeping anaemia at bay.

Other “Do-good” Factors in the Salad:

Needless to say the dish also has anti-carcinogenic lycopene of tomato, anti-microbial thiosulphinates of onion, dietary fiber of burghul, digestion favouring menthol of mint, anti-scorbutic (scurvy preventing) vitamin-C of lemon and antioxidants of virgin olive oil. The salad serves as an excellent intermediary snack.

And come on, do I have to add more to make you try this!!!

Note:

Parsley fares in the “forbidden foods” list of kidney and gall bladder patients because of its oxalate content.


References:

Benefits of Mint Plant

Burghul-Cooking Tips

How to pronounce “Tabbouleh”?

How To Say “Burghul”?

Onions Are Beneficial For Your Health

Parsley

Six Health Benefits of Parsley

The Cook’s Thesaurus: Wheat

The Health Benefits of Bulghur, Bulgur or Burghul



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8 responses »

  1. Anusha Fatima

    That is a detail goodness of parsley. Goos knowledge. Minute things in our ingredient list such major things in our body. and we usually do not see the benefits of adding just a dash or parsley or mint or coriander to our recipe. Nice one maam

    Reply
    • Thankyou Anusha. Do you have any idea if burghul is available in our place? Anyway, Dahlia or Samba Rava can be a good substitute for burghul…but it may take a longer time relatively to get cooked.

      Reply
  2. Mam, very informative one, came to know about the goodness of Parsley and Burghul, even i had the same doubt of replacing Lapsi( samba rava) in place of burghul, but Dhalia may not be a good option,because of the size, i mean its not coarse right?

    Reply
  3. Hi Poornima,

    Some people use quinoa or couscous in the place of burghul. But I haven’t tried these or dahlia as burghul is readily available here. But for the size, dahlia would be very nearing in taste and flavour I think. Burghul also becomes soft on cooking…but should carefully drain away the water from it. Guess, should try the recipe with dahlia once and see 🙂

    Keep writing as it feels so good to be discussing about “our subject” with you all again.

    Reply
    • Thanks mam,
      Wheat ravva comes in three sizes the upma, daliya and one in between. the one in between i supposed is called samba ravva or lapsi. According to me it will be a good replacement for this recipe to be made here. Dalia is more like broken wheat and is more coarser.

      Reply
      • I understand that lapsi is the best alternative for burghul from what you and Poornima suggest. But I see people using “lapsi” and “dalia” interchangeably. I am still not sure if they are two different entities or lapsi is just a sweet prepared from dalia.

        Just check what this chef says: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YushVuiscVI

  4. About 75 g of Parsley (3 bunches) costs 150 fils here -approximately Rs.24. Can anybody tell me how much is it in India?

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Tabouli, Taboule or Tabbouleh « Spoon Feast

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