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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kishkeh Khadra: Yogurt, Whole Grain and Walnut Spread

Kishkeh Khadra is a protein and fiber packed dish that is a traditional breakfast item in Syria. I love preparing it because it comes together very quickly, can be made in advance, has versatile uses and is HEALTHY. I make a batch of this right before the weekend and we enjoy it for SavvyChef's legendary Sunday brunches and then as quick sandwiches throughout the week.

Traditionally the preparation process was lengthy and had to be planned for in advance. Fine bulgur (cracked whole wheat grain) would soak on a counter top for a few days until the bulgur had softened and the yogurt had soured. Then the "green" ingredients (onions and parsley) would be added and the toppings (Greek kalamata olives, walnuts and olive oil) would complete the meal.

Around these parts I've condensed the process into as little as 30 minutes...without compromising flavor or authenticity! I've done this by providing an optional hot water soak of the bulgur to soften it before adding to the yogurt and by adding a splash of lemon juice to achieve the sour tang to the yogurt that typically takes a couple days to accomplish.  Most days I'll quickly mix the yogurt, bulgur, salt and lemon juice the night before and pop it back into the fridge until I'm ready to add the rest of the ingredients. This is a handy meal for entertaining because of its "make-ahead" qualities.

Kishkeh Khadra always finds a place on my brunch displays and most people who haven't grown up eating it still love it and request the recipe. I can't tell you how many times I've texted it to friends or sat around a table as the hostess verbally shared the steps involved. Everyone's way varies slightly. Some people replace the yogurt with sour cream (don't try this, its not good) but here I'm going to give you the quickest and most authentic method. Warm pita bread and a sweet cup of tea take this this dish to higher levels of bliss :)

I go out of my way to expose my children to foods that are out of their comfort levels and to treat wholesome eating as a way of life, not as an effort that needs to be made. Knowing that my children are consuming high amounts of protein (yogurt and bulgur), whole grains and fiber (bulgur), healthy fats (walnuts and olive oil) and iron (parsley) really encourage me to keep this option available. This also makes a great post workout snack with some carrots, cucumber or celery sticks!

Serves 4-6

-2 cups plain yogurt (Full fat really makes a difference in the creaminess and flavor)
-1/2 cup fine bulgur (cracked wheat, labeled as #1)
-1/2 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
-1 cup chopped parsley
-3/4 cup diced greed onions
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

**If using 30 minute preparation method you will need 1/2 cup boiling water**

-kalamata olives
-chopped walnuts
-extra virgin olive oil

To make
-Mix together yogurt, bulgur, salt and lemon juice in a container. Return to fridge and leave overnight (or up to 1 week). QUICK OPTION: Soak bulgur in boiling water for about 25 minutes (or until soft) then mix together with yogurt, salt and lemon juice.
-When you are ready to serve stir in chopped parsley, green onions and walnuts. Taste and adjust salt and water content. If the mixture is too stiff add water or yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time until you have the consistency of a chunky dip or something resembling hummus.
-Spread mixture on to a serving platter or bowl and top with kalamata olives, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.
-Serve with pita bread and tea, veggie sticks or as a spread in sandwiches.

I'd love to connect with you! Like SavvyChef on facebook and follow Savvy_Chef on instagram. Tag @SavvyChef in your creations  :)

Looking for more brunch items? Try my other go-to dish: A delicious yogurt, pita and garbanzo bean dish called Tisi'yeh!

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