December 20, 2010

Moghrabieh (or Mograbeyeh)

Can I talk to you about moghrabieh? Also spelled mograbeyeh. And mograbieh. A.k.a. Lebanese couscous and Syrian couscous.

It was a learning experience.

For those of you familiar with Israeli couscous (which I am not) perhaps moghrabieh won't seem so foreign. But for those, like me, who only ever use the pin-head sized couscous, moghrabieh is a whole 'nother country.

What is it? Well, as the photo above shows, it's slightly irregular balls of buckshot-sized pasta.

What the photo doesn't show, however, is the fantastically chewy nature of these little beasts. Moghrabieh is incredibly starchy, so much so that, if you want to cook it pilaf style as I tried to, I would recommend parboiling it first to get rid of some of the starch.

Not that it wasn't a hit at my house. It was. But it had the just-ever-so-slight "fish eyes in glue" tapioca pearl-bubble tea texture. This is a beloved texture chez moi, so we were good with it, but for those who aren't, I'm just sayin'—parboil.

Nosing around on the web, I came up with a recipe that used it in soup, which seemed like a shockingly simple and good idea. All the starch these little balls give off would serve to thicken a soup and give it body. So I dumped my leftover moghrabieh into this soup recipe, except that I accidentally added curry powder instead of cumin and then thought "what the heck" and threw in a few handfuls of dal and added some leftover homemade cilantro-garlic paste from my fridge. (I love to use up leftovers.) But I'm sure the recipe is great as is, so go ahead and make it. The Vegetarian loved this soup, and I added some diced spanish chorizo to my bowl to satisfy my carnivorous lust.

Another moghrabieh recipe that intrigued me was this one. Also, I think if you steam it for, like,  two hours, you can use it like regular couscous.

And I'm thinking of using it instead of nokedli the next time I make chicken paprikas. Mainly because my cousin borrowed my nokedli maker and hasn't returned it yet. (I have lots of cousins, but if you're reading this, nokedli-maker-borrowing cousin, you know who you are.) Nokedli, for those of you who are not Hungarian, are the spaetzle-like dumplings that get served with chicken paprikas and, if you're my kids, are the only reason for having chicken paprikas, really.

So there you have it. Moghrabieh.

Try it. You'll like it.


Unknown said...

There is another substitute for nokedli, TARHONYA, which is small balls of egg dough dried. Acini Pepe in Italy is similar. As I never had Meghrabieh I don't know if that is similar.

Millicent Meng said...

Yum! Love your blog... I am going to make this soup!

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