Here is an Algerian freekah soup that has become a regular at home after it was introduced to me few years ago by my very talented Palestinian friend Sawssan Wafi for Iftar in Ramadan. The first time she gave me this soup, I was clueless of this new ingredient "Freekeh". Nevertheless it was very filling and I was sure to learn how to make it from her, owing to its taste and texture which we all loved, especially my little one. "We have different ways of stirring it up, but we love the Algerian recipe which my mom learnt on her stay there". says Sawssan. She was kind enough to share not only the recipe but bags of freekah grain every now and then from her stash which is specially sourced for her household, that I never had to buy one myself till date! Thank you Sawssan for being the gem of a person that you are! For assisting and guiding me in soo many things from our cuisine discussions, to passion towards acquiring knowledge and cultural exchange, we have a lot in common and contrast to give and take.
Coming to the "Freekah", seems like its actually trending off late as the latest "super food" or "Super grain". Its basically whole wheat kernals that are harvested early when they are still green. Its then parched, roasted, rubbed and broken. It has a apparent green color and can be found as whole grain, partly broken or crushed form. It is a 100% whole wheat grain and research says that since it is harvested at an early stage, it is loaded with fibres, protiens and minerals that can leave behind the regular processed wheat and even surpass super foods like Quinoa and brown rice in terms of health benefits! Moreover it is easily available and can be incorporated not only in soups, salads and main-course but also in dessert! When I took some Freekah for my mom, thanks to her sweet tooth she actually made an indian dessert/porridge called kheer out of it. Well thats for another time to share, lets first begin with the humble one pot meal/ soup. "Meal" because you can increase the amount of Freekah in this dish to actually turn it into a grainy main course meal.
Here are some benefits of this Supergrain!
1. Aids Digestive system- It contains high fiber and prebiotics that nourish the good bacteria living in our gut.
2. Loaded with minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium and more.
3. Helps in weight loss since it is high in protein and low in fat which gives a feeling of fullness and satiety, thus avoiding unnecessary nibbling between meals.
4. Stabilises blood sugar- Freekah has a low Glycemic index which plays an important role in one's blood sugar rate. The lower the Glycemic index, the less is the increase in blood sugar level post meals. Freekah GI- 45, Rice GI- over75, White Bread GI- 70, Quinoa GI- 53. So now you know who is the boss!
5. Helps build muscles since its rich in glutamic acid.
6. Rich in Carotenoide which promotes eye health.
- Mutton- 200gms (chopped) Can use beef or chicken as well.
- Onion- 1 medium (chopped)
- Garlic- 2-3 cloves (crushed)
- Celery- 1 stalk
- Tomato- 1 medium- chopped
- Green chilly- 1 or more as per taste (chopped)
- Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp (chopped)
- Parsley leaves- 1/4 cup (chopped)
- Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
- Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder- 1tsp
- Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Water- 1 ltr
- Freeka grains- 3tbsp
- Olive oil- 2-3 tbsp
- 1In a pressure cooker heat olive oil, add onion and crushed garlic, saute for 3-4 mins. Add mutton and saute till it slightly changes color (about 2-3 mins).
- 2Add all the spice powders i.e turmeric, coriander, cumin and blackpepper. Stir fry for a min.
- 3Wash freeka grains and add into the cooker along with chopped celery, tomato and salt. Add green chilly, coriander and parsley leaves. Add half a litre of water and cover the pressure cooker and cook for about 15 mins, or until the grains and meat turns tender to pinch.