Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews has been a perennial favorite at Kolbo. The images are stunning, the recipes scrumptious, and the story that Poopa Dweck shares of the Syrian Jewish community is spell-binding.
Dweck, a first-generation Syrian American, has captured generations of oral history in the form of these recipes and made them accessible and engaging to a modern audience. Recipes and photographs are interspersed with insights about the connections between food and Syrian Jewish culture.
Among the many inviting recipes in this book, we were excited to try out this vegetarian and pareve recipe for bulgur patties.
They call for ouc (pronounced OO-r), which Dweck calls “the sour secret to Syrian cooking.” This tamarind concentrate flavors many Syrian Jewish dishes, giving dishes a subtly sour, tangy taste. Many Indian, Asian, or Middle Eastern markets carry a pre-made tamarind concentrate if you’re not feeling adventurous enough to try out Dweck’s recipe on pages 41-43.
Kibbeh Neye w’Khidrawat | Vegetarian Bulgur Patties
From the author’s introduction to the recipe on page 64: “Kibbeh neye w’khidrawat are a perennial favorite among Aleppian Jews because their neutral, or pareve, kosher designation makes them compatible with both meat and dairy dishes.”
Yield: 25 patties, about 10 to 12 servings
- .5 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 to 5 scallions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 small green bell peppers, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1.5 cups red lentils, washed
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups fine bulgur (cracked wheat), rinsed in cold water and drained
One 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or .5 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
.5 cup ouc (tamarind concentrate, homemade or store-bought)
1. Combine the parsley, scallions, red and green bell peppers, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix together with half the onions and set aside.
- 2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat the lentils in 1 cup water with the remaining onions until the lentils and onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
- 3. While the lentils and onions are hot, add them to the minced vegetable mixture in the bowl; add the olive oil, and stir. Add the bulgur, tomato paste, cumin, Aleppo pepper, and salt. Blend the mixture thoroughly by hand and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Cover with foil, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the mixture solidify.
4. Form the mixture into torpedo shapes, about 3 inches long. Serve the kibbeh at room temperature with ouc if desired.
by Joanna Lubkin