Recipe By Joumana Accad
The word keshké refers to keshek, a traditional staple in the Lebanese larder made up of yogurt mixed with bulgur, fermented in the sun and ground into a powder. In rural areas especially, keshek is made at home and is considered an essential food. Bulgur and yogurt are combined until fermentation and left to dry out on large sheets on straw rugs on the flat roof of village homes. When the bulgur and yogurt paste is completely dry, it is ground through a sieve and kept in jars to be used throughout the year; keshek will sustain for the long days out in the field. In addition, keshek has many health benefits, a long shelf life and is incorporated to soups, stews, sauces and as a topping on flatbreads or a filling in savory pastries.
Keshké salad evolved from the traditional keshek; the difference is that here the bulgur and yogurt are combined, not fermented and not ground, simply eaten fresh as a salad with herbs. I have modernized this traditional salad of yogurt and bulgur by adding some fresh produce and legumes gathered from the farmer’s market: Zucchini, fresh fava beans, Italian parsley, green onion and green pepper are dressed with a yogurt sauce spiked with garlic paste and a touch of tahini and drizzled with some olive oil. A hearty and rustic salad that could be eaten as a main dish.
- 1 cup of coarse bulgur (#4)
- ¼ cup of packed minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup of minced green onions
- 1/3 cup of boiled fava beans
- ½ cup of diced zucchini, sautéed in olive oil till tender but still crunchy
- 3 cloves of garlic mashed with a dash of salt in a mortar
- 1½ cup of yogurt, drained in a mesh sieve over a coffee filter or paper towel for one or two hours
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of tahini
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (can replace with paprika)
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Juice of half a lemon
- ½ cup of toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts or pine nuts
- 1. Bring a quart of water to a boil; place the bulgur in a bowl and pour the boiling water on top of it. Let it swell for 15 minutes or longer until soft. Drain the bulgur of its water. Add to the bulgur the diced zucchini and boiled, peeled fava beans as well as chopped parsley.
- 2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, tahini, garlic paste, lemon juice, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the bulgur mixture and combine. Serve at room temperature.