When I travel, of course I love to see the sights, especially when it’s something like the Pyramids, the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower. The times that are most memorable to me, though, are those experiences I have with the local people. And one thing you can count on, especially when traveling outside of the United States, if you mix in with the locals, there is a 100% chance that food will be part of the experience!!
I have been so fortunate to have been able to travel quite a bit. Egypt tops my list as the place most traveled to outside the States. Having been there nine times, those Visas have definitely filled up my passport…so much so, my friends in Egypt tease me that I am part Egyptian!! Each time I go to Egypt, of course I visit the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. I couldn’t miss that…and even after seeing them so many times, they never fail to disappoint or amaze.
Sometimes things get built up so much that when you experience them in person, they are disappointing. The Pyramids are NOT one of those things…not even close. Even now, when I see them, I am blown away by their magnitude. They definitely do not disappoint and I HIGHLY recommend you put Egypt on your bucket list.
The coolest part for me is that when I go to Egypt, I am always traveling with some new folks and so I get to experience the country as if I were visiting for the first time. And one thing I always love to share with my new travel companions is the amazing food.
This Tabouli recipe is one of those that was inspired by my travels to Egypt…and one that shares its name with a fantastic Lebanese restaurant, Taboula, in the Garden City area of Cairo. They also have a location in Zamalek and now in Heliopolis. Each time I make it to Cairo, Taboula is on the must do list for places to eat. Tucked away in the Embassy district of Cairo, you walk downstairs to this intimate underground restaurant with just enough light to set the perfect ambiance for a great meal.
One difference I notice eating in the States versus eating in other places around the world is that lunch or dinner can last an hour…or two…or more. Sure, it’s about the food, but more, it’s an experience. Part of the experience is investing in each other’s lives…and I can’t think of a better way than over a great meal. Warning: this means there will be a LOT of food.
The first time I arrived in Cairo, I remember sitting down at a restaurant on the Nile for lunch at around 5 p.m. Yes, 5 p.m. Dinner’s at 10 or 11 p.m. I’m a night owl so I love those late nights!!
Anyway, they brought out a whole variety of dishes…hummus, hummus with meat, baba ghanoug, kafta, spicy sausages, meatballs with pine nuts, you name it, the plates went on and on, along with basket after basket of pita bread that was puffed up the size of my head. The best bread I’ve ever eaten!! I stuffed myself…and then…
…grill after golden grill of steaming vegetables and meats came marching out like a parade. What I had eaten first was not the meal, it was the mezze, or appetizers. I couldn’t believe there was so much of it! And it was all so good. That meal lasted at least three hours. I just love the Egyptian culture and Middle Eastern food; Tabouli is definitely one of my favorites.
Real quick note: one thing I have learned is that every food is spelled so many different ways…in this case, Tabouli, Tabouleh, Tabboula, Tabbouleh, Tabula, Taboula, Tabbouli or تبولة. I say, who cares how you spell it, it’s amazing!
It takes longer to decide on how you want to spell it than it does to make it. It literally is one of the simplest things to put together. That’s why I love it for the Tiny Kitchen.
Sometimes people associate simple and easy with bland and boring. Not the case here. I promise you this will become your new favorite salad! Tabouli is so fresh and tasty and holds up for a couple of days in the fridge, so don’t be afraid to make it ahead of time. The parsley and bulgur absorb the lemon and oil and all the ingredients just seem to marry together perfectly.
Bulgur is made from the parboiled groats of wheat and you’ll see that it comes in many sizes from #1 – #4 (#1 is fine, #2 is medium, #3 is coarse and #4 is extra-course.) I like to use a #2 or #3 for this recipe, but whatever you find at the store will work. Because it is parboiled, it doesn’t take a ton of time to make…all you have to do is boil it. Just follow the package directions. I like to add some chicken or vegetable stock to the water when I am boiling the bulgur because it add some extra flavor. If you don’t have that, just add some salt to the water. Also, as I note in the YouTube video, if you are gluten-free or have an intolerance to wheat, you can substitute quinoa.
I could talk all day about how much I love Egypt, the Egyptian people, the food and this salad…and if it were over an Egyptian meal, I would! But, since it’s not, I don’t want to keep you from making it and experiencing it yourself. When you do, please drop us a line.
Also, share with us some of your most favorite places to travel to and let me know if you’ve ever been to Egypt and what’s been your favorite part!
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Prepare Bulgar according to package directions. Let cool.
- Mince Parsley, Mint and Onion and place in Mixing Bowl.
- Remove seed from the Tomato. Mince tomato and add to the Mixing Bowl.
- Zest lemon into the Mixing Bowl.
- Add Olive oil and the juice of the Lemon to the Mixing Bowl.
- Finish it off with Salt and Pepper.
- Stir until thoroughly combine.