The bulgur salad looks deceptively easy, but the dressing requires peeled and seeded tomatoes, which is a huge, time consuming pain in the butt. That said, it's a fabulous dressing. It has just the right amount of spiciness for the chicken, and the lemon and ginger stop it from being too tomatoey.
The star of this meal was definitely the bulgur salad. It was great with the chicken, and I ate the leftovers for lunch two days later! This recipe comes from Saha, Greg Malouf's first book on Middle Eastern cuisine; it features dishes from Lebanon and Syria. It's thinner than Turquoise, so it has fewer recipes. I like how Saha has several different spice mixes and sauces that can be used in the main dish recipes.
|Keepin' it klassy with a posh serving dish for the dressing.|
Since this dish requires making four distinct things: spice mix, sauce, salad, and kebabs, I opted for speed. If you have a good food processor, don't bother dicing and mincing the ingredients for the dressing. The original recipe calls for a mixture of olive and walnut oils. Since I would prefer not to send my husband to the emergency room, I omitted the walnut oil and just used extra olive oil.
Peel and seed the ingredients as needed and then just coarsely chop them, the processor will do the rest. A great way to peel tomatoes quickly is to cut an X into the bottom of each tomato, place them in a bowl, and cover them in boiling water for about 1 minute. The skins should begin to curl a little. Remove the tomatoes with tongs and wait until they are cool enough to touch, then peel them.
The bulgur salad and dressing are vegan.
Golden Spice Mix
Makes about 3 Tbsp. I halved it for this recipe and still had some left over.
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp ground turmeric
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/4 Tbsp chili powder (I used Penzey's medium hot)
Mix all ingredients together and keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Original Recipe (Except for Golden Spice Mix)
2 small or medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/8 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp Golden Spice Mix
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
1) Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks. Place it in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Mix well and place in the fridge while you make the Spicy Tomato Dressing and Spicy Bulgur Salad.
2) Then, preheat your grill. Skewer the chicken on metal skewers and grill until cooked. It can also be made in a grill pan, just leave out the skewers. (Unless your grill pan is huge, mine isn't).
Spicy Tomato Dressing
Makes enough to serve with bulgur salad and over chicken kebabs. I don't think it would keep very well, so reduce as needed.
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 red chili, seeded and sliced thinly (don't worry about the slices being too chunky so long as you have a good food processor)
1 small clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 Tbsp peeled, grated ginger (use a micro plane, it's fast. Or just chop it up a little, it all goes in the food processor)
1 Tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
4 oz olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
1) Put all ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Puree until all ingredients are well incorporated. Then, with the processor running, slowly pour in the oil. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Spicy Bulgur Salad
serves 2 with leftovers for lunch
3/4 cup bulgur
1 Tbsp raisins, chopped
3/4 cup water
1 tsp Golden Spice Mix
1 red chili, seeded and diced
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
1) Place the bulgur in a strainer and risne it. Then, place bulgur and raisins in a saucepan and cover with water. Sprinkle the Golden Spice Mix into the pan and stir well. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. (This took me about 10 minutes, but YMMV).
2) Place bulgur mixture in a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well, using a fork to break up chunks of bulgur, if any.