Hye Thyme Cafe: Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma)

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma)

Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma) : Hye Thyme Cafe

No matter what you call it, this is one of those things that we can never go very long without making a batch of. Whenever we attend any kind of event, party, dinner, etc., we are always asked to make this ... and of course Paklava, but we'll save that for another day ... and yes, I know, most of you call it Baklava!  😉

Strangely, until two years ago, I had never seen this outside of my own family. I thought it was some random family recipe or a local regional item where my grandmother was born in Armenia, but apparently not!

I was at a bazaar at St. James Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, MA, with a friend of mine, and because there was a long line on the way in, I happened to look at the menu. Usually, if you go for lunch, there is either Losh Kebab (Armenian Hamburgers) or Shish Kebab with Pilaf, Salad, etc. Because we don't make Losh Kebab very often at home, that's what I always order, so I apparently never looked at the menu before. When I saw Eech, I had to ask what it was. When my friend told me it was the red Tabouli, I had to laugh. Although that doesn't explain how I never saw anyone eating it until then?!?

As far as Kheyma goes, that's the Armenian equivalent of Steak Tartare. Since Eetch has been around a lot longer than vegetarians, my first guess was that this was the "poor man's version" of Kheyma. After thinking about it, and putting it together with the fact that Armenia was the first Christian nation, I wonder if this was  actually their answer to no meat during Lent or something. I have no idea when that practice came about, but I suppose that's a possibility. Whoever started it, no matter when or why, I'm just glad they did!!


Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma) : Hye Thyme Cafe
INGREDIENTS :
1 c fine bulgar  (if numbered, use #2)
1 can (29 oz) Hunt's Tomato Sauce
1 large onion, diced fine
1 large green bell pepper, diced fine
3-4 scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste



Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma) : Hye Thyme Cafe
Go ahead and stir the tomato sauce and lemon juice into the bulgar and set that aside while you're chopping your veggies. That will give it a head-start at absorbing.



Eetch (Red Tabouli / Mock Kheyma) : Hye Thyme CafeIf you're short on time - or don't care what it looks like so long as it tastes great - go ahead and run the veggies through your food processor. I just prefer the look of the little chunks of green pepper, etc. Stir in the peppers, onion, and scallion, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne and refrigerate for several hours to allow the bulgar to absorb the juice and soften.

I had a roommate several years ago who loved this stuff so much, he would actually put it on hot dogs like relish! I really can't wrap my brain around that one, so I stick with crackers, pita chips, bagel crisps, celery stalks, endive spears or lettuce leaves. More recently, I started eating it in TOSTITOS® SCOOPS!® Tortilla Chips. Last night, I had some for dinner on Triscuit®.

If you're anti-wheat, you can also make it with Quinoa. See that recipe here.



13 comments:

  1. Glad you like Eetch (Itch) as much as I do. I live in Watertown and am so happy to have the Armenian stores just down the hill from my house. See my blog entry today (June 8, 2011) about Itch. I buy my ingredients at Massis Bakery.

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  2. That's where I usually shop when I'm in town. Sometimes at Eastern Lahmejune, but I most DEFINITELY get my Lahmejune at Massis!! Can't wait to check out your blog. :)

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  3. Yum! I think I'd like that on seem protein-rich flax crackers I just saw at the grocery. Now, I have a reason to go back and buy them!

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    1. I'll eat it on pretty much anything ... except hot dogs like my old roommate ... or salad, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but not so much! ;)

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  4. I love how your recipes have a bit of history in them. This recipe sounds delicious. I love Tabouli and I love tomato sauce so I am interested in trying it out. Oh I also like BAK-lava ;-)

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  5. I really like tabouli, but I have never had this. It sounds really good. Visiting from TALU.

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    1. We always make sure to do a double batch for holidays because we know everyone will want some in their doggie bags along with the rest of their goodies. :)

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  6. Even though I'm half-Armenian from California's Central Valley, I'd never had eetch (or even heard of it) before today, when I got some at an Armenian food festival in San Francisco. I have a couple of potluck gatherings with friends coming up in the near future, and I think I know what I'll be bringing!

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    1. People are always asking me to make this. I make it with quinoa sometimes now instead of the bulgur. I have been eating it my whole life but never heard of it referred to as Eetch (Itch) until just a few years ago lol. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. :)

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    2. I made a batch for a Thanksgiving get-together, and people seemed to enjoy it; I certainly did. Cayenne and black pepper "to taste" in my case meant that I cranked up the spice a fair amount. I also made an even spicier batch to eat at home by replacing the normal tomato sauce with El Pato Mexican hot style. Thanks for the recipe!

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    3. Glad you enjoyed it. Boy, you really did kick it up a notch, didn't you? I'm automatically programmed to make it the way I do, but I'll have to look into trying your version. Sounds right up my alley. We're kind of split in our crew when it comes to heat, but I'm all for super spicy. :)

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