Freekeh is an ancient grain; it’s been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. It’s indigenous to the Land of Canaan, modern day Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Freekeh is not the name of the grain itself, but it describes the process of carefully flame roasting young, green wheat and then stripping away the burnt husks from the grains. (Freekeh means ‘to rub’ in the ancient Aramaic language.)
Because roasting stops the starch formation, cooked Freekeh is firm and slightly chewy, like Farro, but with earthy, smoky characteristics. It is low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and protein.
Freekeh could be cooked like other grains you might have in your pantry. Tossed with herbs, currants, pinenuts and a bright vinaigrette, it becomes a salad. Drizzle pomegranate molasses on. It could be added to soups or stews for texture. But my mom cooks it like a pilaf and serves it warm with poached chicken, cooked spinach or chard and yoghurt.
This combination is one of the many definitions of my mom.