Saima Khan traded banking for the catering business, and she's never looked back – read more of her story here. She shares her recipe for green freekeh salad with pomegranate and smoked almonds. "This one is close to my heart," Khan says. "I cooked this in the Syrian Refugee Camp and in Calais Camps, and this made a lot of the refugees emotional. The grain we buy supports a baker in Aleppo who spends all the funds baking fresh bread every day for displaced people in the city."

Ingredients

  • 500g of freekeh
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch chopped fresh mint
  • ½ bunch dill
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and tossed in a pan with smoked cumin and paprika
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • Pinch cumin seeds, ground, toasted and ground
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or puréed (optional)
  • Glug of pomegranate molasses
  • Glug of date vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbps extra-virgin olive oil
  • Scattering of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 whole pomegranate, de-seeded
  • Black olives, destoned
  • Handful smoked almonds, coarsely cut

Method

  1. Heat a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and add the freekeh. Toast in the dry pan, shaking pan or stirring, until the freekeh becomes fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the freekah to a pan of boiling water, the grain should be whole but soft when pressed by your fingers, roughly 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the freekah, and run under a cold tap to stop this cooking and becoming mushy.
  4. In a large bowl, combine freekeh, chopped herbs, and chickpeas and toss together.
  5. In a another bowl, lightly whisk together lemon juice, oil cumin, garlic, salt and olive oil; toss with salad.
  6. Scatter pomegranates, black olives, smoked almonds and the pumpkins seeds on the top and give it one last toss and its ready.
  7. Serving suggestion: Serve right away or let sit for up to 1 hour before serving. Serve with chicken, lamb or fresh bread or on its own as a salad. It'll keep for three to four days in the fridge.

thehampsteadkitchen.com