Wheatberry Kisir

By • August 14, 2011 12 Comments

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Author Notes: My sister came back from a year in Berlin raving about a Turkish tabboleh salad called kisir, made with pomegranate molasses. In the meantime, I've been experimenting with wheatberries, available from a local grower at my farmers market. It occurred to me that I could use whole wheatberries, rather than cracked and par-cooked bulgar, for a nutty kisir with extra bite. The sweet cherry tomatoes from my farmers market pulled together this salad with a hint of tomato paste, as well as harissa, cumin, and lemon, in the dressing. Note: I recently tinkered with this recipe some more after a kisir cooking lesson from my sister, and I like this version (with sauteed onions) even better. Fairmount_market

Serves 4-6

  • 3/4 cup wheatberries (soaked overnight, if you remember)
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 10 sprigs mint
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  1. Rinse and drain the wheatberries and cook them by simmering in about 2 cups of salted water over low heat until tender but still firm, about 90 minutes. When they are tender, drain them if necessary, transfer them to a serving bowl, and stir in the harissa and tomato paste.
  2. Peel and dice the onion. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, and then add the diced onions. Cook until they are thoroughly cooked through but do not let them brown. Add the cumin and cook for one more minute. Then pour the spiced onion oil over the wheatberries and mix.
  3. Scrape them into the bowl with the wheatberries and stir. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or harissa as desired.
  4. Peel the cucumber and chop it into lengthwise into quarters or sixths and then widthwise into 1/4 inch pieces. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes or chop the large tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Fold the cucumbers and tomatoes into the dressed wheatberries. Serve at room temperature.

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