Freekeh is young green wheat. Full of fibre and protein, it's nutty, slightly chewy and makes a wonderful base for fragrant pilaf. You’ll find it at health food stores and well stocked bulk food outlets. This recipe also works well with millet or quinoa.
ghee or olive oil for sautéing
½ medium onion, peeled and diced finely
3 cloves garlic, diced finely
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 ¼ cup freekeh (you can also use millet or quinoa)
3 cups good quality vegetable stock
¼ cup soft raisins or sultanas
zest of one lemon
large handful fresh mint leaves, chopped roughly
½ cup light toasted almonds, chopped roughly
sea salt and cracked black pepper
200 grams good quality haloumi cheese
To serve: lemon wedges
Heat a generous spoonful of ghee or oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and gently cook until translucent. Add the fennel seed along with a little more oil and move around the pan for a minute. Add the freekeh and toss through oil before adding the stock.
Place a lid partially covering sauté pan. Bring to a boil before simmering for approximately 25 minutes until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Stir often. Once the freekeh is cooked, place the lid on the pan and leave to sit for five minutes. Remove lid, stir through raisins and leave to cool for 20 minutes before stirring through the almonds, lemon zest and mint. Season generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Heat a small amount of oil in another sauté pan over a medium–high heat. Slice haloumi as desired and fry for 1–2 minutes on each side until golden. Place on top of the pilaf and serve immediately. Garnish with additional chopped almonds and fresh mint. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for two days.