Al-Masri al-Yum readers clamoring for healthful alternatives having reached an all time high, we reached out to our correspondents to provide them with that for which they’ve been clamoring. “Members Only” Jaquette here offers a healthful (and vegan, for those keeping track) alternative to al-Masri al-Yum’s usual fare.
Certain things are predictable: the presence of at least one person you know in Horeyya on any given night, that party boats on the Nile will always be playing the “El-3aineb” song by Saad el-Sagheer (I shouldn’t knock, that’s how I learned my first colors in Arabic), that requests to unsubscribe from Cairoscholars will be sent to the list, and that every couple months I will suddenly lose taste for all the recipes I usually cook. The quest for new flavors usually starts with feverish internet browsing, which leads to kitchen experimentation, which most recently has lead to this gem of a recipe: Bulgur, Pumpkin and Chard Kefteh.
For all you with more savory hankerings than sweet teeth, this recipe is quick, healthy, and delicious – plus none of the ingredients require a trip to Metro, Alfa, or the like. The Cairo version is adopted from this recipe for Bulgur and Winter Squash Kefteh (thanks NYT!) and fulfills a craving for whole grains and dark leafy greens. Those are the kinds of food cravings I fall victim to, at least.
Recipe after the jump.
Bulgur, Pumpkin and Chard Kefteh
1/2 kilo pumpkin (other winter squash are suitable too), peeled and cut in chunks – winter squash are easy enough to spot at your local vegetable seller, but I picked up a pack of pre-cut pieces at Alfa in Zamalek as I wasn’t exactly sure what I would do with an entire pumpkin…
1 bunch chard, chopped – called sal’ in Arabic, this variety of chard is entirely green, without the rosy shades of the Swiss chard I’m used to, but assuredly still delicious. I haven’t seen chard in supermarkets here yet, but our local vegetable seller keeps his chard stashed in the back of his cart with the herbs and celery.
1/2 cup bulgur – easily found at your local mahal
1 small onion, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin OR 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Place the bulgur in a bowl, mix with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cover with hot water. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes until the bulgur is al dente. It will soak up more liquid from the rest of the ingredients, and become mushier over time, so especially if you don’t plan on eating the dish immediately, drain the bulgur before it’s completely tender.
2. Meanwhile, steam the squash for 15 to 20 minutes until thoroughly tender. Remove from the heat, and mash with a fork.
3. Cook the onion in a skillet over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until soft and golden. Stir often.
4. Steam the chard for 5 to 10 minutes until mostly done, but still with a slight crunch to it.
5. Add the cumin and a pinch of salt to the onion, and stir together for about 30 seconds. Stir into the bulgur. Add the pureed squash and chard and stir together.
6. Mix in the parsley, the mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve as is, or heat in the oven just before serving.