Arabic cuisine may offer more than just delicious food for those looking for its origins and stories. It also reflects the extent of cultural exchange that has taken place between the various civilizations, peoples, and countries that have passed through the Arab countries since the dawn of history. Perhaps one of the most beautiful stories witnessing this exchange is that of this delicious salad called “tabbouleh”, made from various ingredients: parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, lettuce, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and bulgur.
Lebanese celebrate “National Tabbouleh Day” every year on the first Saturday of July, since 2001, as an initiative to “preserve this kitchen heritage.”
The term tabbūle comes from Levantine Arabic. The meaning of this word in this language is that of “slightly spicy”. Originally from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon, tabbouleh has become the most popular salad in middle eastern cuisine.
In the Arab world and in particular, in Syria, it is normally served among the meze and garnished with lettuce. The Lebanese variant uses more parsley than bulgur, while in the Syrian and Palestinian variants this second element is present in predominant quantities.
There is a variant in Turkish cuisine of this dish, known as kisir, while a similar dish in Armenian cuisine is known as eetch. In Cyprus, where the dish was introduced by the Lebanese, it is known as tambouli.
In Lebanon, the variant of wheat brine, grown in the region of Hawran, in the mountains, and in the valley of Bekaa and Baalbek was considered in the nineteenth century the best to make bulgur for the preparation of tabbouleh.
Tabbouleh: The History Of The Dish
According to legend, tabbouleh was invented by the Chaldeans in Mesopotamia, in 1800 bc.c., who took their recipe, through history and geography, to where the Phoenicians were, near the coast of the mediterranean sea.
Etymologically, the root of the word comes from an imperative verb of the Chaldean language that means to mix vegetables, which happened when the people mixed all kinds of vegetables on a plate and offered them to the sages. Its development and diffusion are due to Lebanon, which gave it the name of tabbouleh alluding to the mixture of food and spices.
It is unknown exactly when wheat was introduced as an ingredient in salad, it is presumed that it was in the Mamluk era, in the Bekaa region, from the spread of wheat cultivation in the valley. This traveling dish is an icon of Lebanese food and has reached over time to other latitudes, such as Latin America, where along with other dishes it has become very popular.
As an anecdote, Lebanon holds the Guinness record for the largest plate of tabbouleh in the world, made 13 years ago by several representatives of the country of cedars.
The Secret Of Tabbouleh
This salad is considered typical of the Bekaa valley or the beca (Bekaa), located in the eastern region of Lebanon. On some occasions, it is served as an accompaniment to the hors d’oeuvres or mezze typical of the area. For its freshness, and being a cold dish, it is frequently prepared during the hot summer months, made with parsley in abundance, burghul, tomato, onion or chives, a touch of mint, olive oil and lemon juice.
It can be done with couscous too, the difference is very subtle. Basically, burghul is a thinner and smaller variety of wheat than the normally known and is used very frequently in the middle east, in the case of couscous it is wheat semolina used to prepare different types of Arabic food. Formerly, the wheat was cooked for hours over low heat and then allowed to dry in the houses, managing to lengthen its conservation time with this process.
The secret of a good tabbouleh is in the use of genuine olive oil and lemon, in addition to the right amount of salt, and make it with the freshest ingredients.
What Is Bulgur?
Bulgur seems to be native to Anatolia – it is difficult to trace exactly to so many centuries ago.
The degree of grinding and the size of the grains depends on the use: a large grinding is suitable for soups and soups, while the average is perfect for pilaf, fillings, and salads – which is the one that we most commonly find on sale and the one that interests us for our recipe.
Bulgur is a valuable food, rich in fiber and mineral salts such as iron, potassium and magnesium, rich in fiber and vitamin b, and e. Nevertheless, it is suitable for low-calorie diets as 100 grams of bulgur is equivalent to about 340 kca.
Differences Between Bulgur and Couscous
Similar in form and use and often confused with each other, couscous and bulgur are not only different in origin but also in history, taste and shape. As we have seen, the bulgur was born in the middle east and is the result of cooking and subsequent grinding of sprouted seeds of whole wheat, we find it in different forms and more or less large grains. When we talk about couscous instead, we think of food derived from a long process of processing the unpropertied grains of durum wheat semolina and water, born and consumed mainly in north Africa.
Does Tabbouleh Cause You To Gain Weight?
In fact, all the ingredients of tabbouleh contain a large percentage of dietary fiber, which can stimulate bowel movement, thus helping to prevent the ingestion of infections in the body and thus eliminate all toxins in it. Apigenin and myristicin, found in parsley, enhance the efficiency of liver enzymes that detoxify the body.
Dietary fiber also helps to fill the stomach and promote a feeling of fullness for long hours, thus reducing hunger, thus preventing overeating the main meals.
Most ingredients in tabbouleh are fat-free. The bulgur used as the basis for this salad does not contain a cholesterol content and contains less than 0.1% fat. Parsley, tomatoes, and onions added to the bulgur in tabbouleh are also fat-free. Olive oil adds relatively little fat to the dish, but the fat in olive oil is not saturated.
Does Tebbouleh Help You Lose Weight?
Yes, tabbouleh helps significantly to lose excess weight, and the secret is to achieve it because it contains a few calories in addition to the fact that lemon is one of its main ingredients, which helps burn fat in general, and tabbouleh is a common food commonly traded among people for a number of reasons, including:
- It fully contains vegetables or paper that are of high interest to your body.
- It tastes rich and makes you feel alive and useful no matter how much you eat.
- It can be served with different types of cuisine and its taste is consistent with a wide range of main or side dishes.
- Contains a large amount of antioxidants that increase blood efficiency in oxygen transport, which increases the rate of metabolism and increases the rate of fat burning and thus weight loss.
Health Benefits Of Tabouleh
Tabbouleh contains beneficial ingredients for the body which are the reliance on leafy vegetables, bulgur, and lemon juice.
Improves digestive health: this health benefit is due to the fact that the bulgur contains a high percentage of insoluble fibers. Thus, these fibers improve digestive health, facilitating the passage of food through the digestive system and helping to prevent constipation, maintain colon health and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Bulgur is a good source of vitamin b6, folic acid and pantothenic acid, and these elements play an important role in activating the enzymes that regulate metabolism in the body. Folic acid is an important element, especially for pregnant women. Folic supplementation is taken within the first three months of pregnancy because it is harmful to the health of the child in this period. In addition, folic acid promotes cell growth and regulates metabolism. Pantothenic acid promotes the health of the immune system and facilitates the formation of red blood cells, neurons, and antibodies.
Benefits Of Leafy Vegetables:
Leafy vegetables are the most important element in tabbouleh because a single vegetable pack contains nutrients, and in general leafy vegetables provide health benefits to the body because all leafy vegetables are low in calories and packed with dietary fiber, which means that they help to increase the feeling of satiety. Fiber also improves digestive health. Dark vegetables such as turnips, lettuce, and spinach are packed with vitamin e, c, a, k. Green mustard also supplies the body with vitamin b. These vitamins improve the health of the immune system, protect the bone and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Energy should be included as a main course when eating meals because it provides the body with the protein and amino acids needed to build the body’s muscles.
In addition, it provides the body with healthy fats that are a crisis for the body’s health.
Benefits Of Lemon Juice:
Maintaining The Health Of The Heart And Blood Vessels:
One of the most common benefits of lemon juice is that it has a high ability to improve circulation performance. This is because it contains a high percentage of calcium. It also helps protect the heart and control high blood pressure. Its benefits may even extend to the brain because it can help relieve dizziness, stress, and depression, and increase relaxation.
Ability To Treat Kidney Stones:
Lemon juice helps treat kidney stones because it helps form urinary jackets and prevents the calculus from being broken down. When mixing lemon juice with olive oil, it helps treat gallstones. In addition, it helps protect the body from bacteria.
Treatment Of Digestive Problems:
Due to high ph, some individuals may experience digestive problems and find lemon juice a good treatment. This is because lemon juice helps relieve nausea, indigestion, cramping, bloating and constipation as well as treating stomach burning. It also helps the body digest food better because it helps the liver secrete more bile.
Onions have countless benefits, the most important of which is that eating onions fresh, cooked with oil, ghee, or grilled reduces the incidence of a blood clots and has been shown to be the factor in the composition of onions, which prevents clots and reduces the incidence of them is not affected by heat and does not dissolve in water.
It can also be used to cleanse the mouth as chewing onions or garlic for 3 minutes is enough to kill all the germs in the mouth.
It has also been shown that inhaling or eating onion vapor leads to the permeability of sulfuric pilot oil in it to human blood, leading to the eradication of pathogenic germs, so that onions can be used to treat respiratory diseases caused by infection of germs such as acute rhinitis as well as sore throats, trachea, and bronchi such as bronchitis.
As sugar is reduced in diabetics, onions have been found to contain glucose, an insulin-like substance, with a similar or close effect to insulin, which helps reduce blood sugar.
In addition, onions are used in the treatment of asthma attacks because they have a superior ability to expel sputum from the airways, which causes the tightness of these people, resulting in difficulty breathing and asthma crises.
This also demonstrates the success of onions in the treatment of colds and flu, fever and cold treatment, wisdom treatment, bronchitis, high blood pressure treatment, bacterial infections, and oral and throat infections.
It has been scientifically proven that eating half a medium onion per day reduces the risk of stomach cancer, as it has been observed a decrease in the likelihood of developing this serious disease in onion eaters compared to those who do not eat it at all, and the researchers attributed this to the stinging sulfur compounds available in onions, because of their ability to attack the ulcer-causing bacteria and therefore may help prevent the development of stomach cancer, which affects more women twice as much.
How Is Tabbouleh Made In Different Countries
tabbouleh is one of the most famous salads in the Arab countries and can be made in more ways, each country has a way of distinguishing it from others, let’s know the different ways of making tabbouleh.
How Is Syrian Tabbouleh Made
Here’s how the Syrian tabbouleh is made, which is the most famous and distinctive taste, as follows:
- 3 tomatoes, cut into small pieces.
- 1 cup chopped parsley.
- 1 cup chopped mint leaves.
- 2 green onions, chopped.
- 2 cucumbers, chopped.
- 1/4 cup bulgur.
- 1/4 cup water.
- 1/4 cup lemon juice.
- 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Lettuce leaves for garnish.
How To Prepare Syrian Tabbouleh
- Mix the chopped parsley with the chopped mint after washing thoroughly.
- Soak the bulgur in the water, set aside for 15 minutes, then wash and drain from the water.
- Add tomatoes, cucumbers and onions to the bulgur, as well as parsley and mint.
- Add lemon juice, spring onions, salt and pepper, and mix all ingredients well.
- Gradually add olive oil to the previous mixture and place it in a serving dish after decorating it with lettuce leaves.
How Is Lebanese Tabbouleh Made
You can make tabbouleh iLebanesebanese way, and the way the Lebanese tabbouleh is as follows:
- 1 cup chopped parsley.
- 1 cup chopped mint.
- 4 tomatoes, cut into small pieces.
- Medium onion and chopped.
- 3 tablespoons washed soft bulgur.
- 2 lemon juice.
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses.
- Cup olive oil.
- A pinch of cinnamon.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
How To Prepare Lebanese Tabbouleh
- Soak the washed and drained bulgur in lemon juice for 15 minutes, then remove from lemon juice.
- Mix the chopped onions with a cinnamon sprinkle.
- Bring a deep bowl and put in mint, parsley, tomatoes, onions and bulgur and mix well.
- Add pomegranate molasses to the previous mixture and add salt and lemon.
- Gradually add olive oil to tabbouleh and serve alongside the main dishes.
How Is Turkish Tabbouleh Made
This method has a different taste thanks to the special additions used in it, and the Turkish tabbouleh is made as follows:
- 2 cups soft and washed bulgur.
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley.
- 1 cup finely chopped mint.
- 2 tbsp tomato paste.
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses.
- A pinch of red pepper.
- Chopped green onions.
- 2 chopped tomatoes.
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped.
- A pinch of sumac.
- Juice of 2 lemons.
- A pinch of cumon.
- 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
How To Prepare Turkish Tabbouleh
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl, add boiling water with more bulgur, and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Mix onions, tomatoes, mint, parsley and garlic.
- In another bowl, mix tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and spices.
- Drain the bulgur from the water, add the olive oil mixture, add the vegetable mixture and mix well to be ready to serve.
Tips For Making A Healthy Tabbouleh Salad
In order for tabbouleh to work to be healthy, follow the following advice:
- The vegetables used should be washed well, preferably using vinegar in washing them.
- Fresh vegetables should be selected to make tabbouleh so that they are chopped and chopped at home.
- Eating tabbouleh as a snack between meals is not required to be eaten with the main meals, but can be eaten alone in case of hunger.
- Do not over-salt the tabbouleh, as it causes health damage and hinders fat burning in the body.