Farka - a Tunisian breakfast porridge
(If you love trying out something new, then do prepare something ethnic for breakfast, something different from your own culture and send it across to Glenna for WBB #14 by 27th August, 10 pm Central Time, details here).
Picking a recipe from a place I've never visited and preparing it to the best possible level using locally available ingredients gives me a kick of experiencing at least part of the culture of the place. After all, food is a large part of one's culture.
Ever since Glenna announced an ethnic theme for WBB, but different from your own culture, I have been doing searches and looking up a couple of world cuisine books to see what vegetarian breakfast I can make.
All the research narrowed down to a North African breakfast dish from Tunisia called Farka. According to Wiki Cookbook -
Tunisian meals have shown to incorporate various traditional cuisines from the surrounding ares of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and many Arab countries. For this reason, it is no surprise that Tunisian recipes incorporate many of these traditions including couscous and generous amounts of seasonings and spices. It goes without saying that it is almost guaranteed that any single Tunisian entree will be prepared with peppers, since the Tunisians enjoy a rather spicy meal. Also, Tunisian meals are considered social events, so expect a typical collection of dinner recipes to contain several appetizers, a selection of main dishes, and a vast array of desserts.
Traditionally Farka is cooked with couscous, sugar, oil water - enriched with nuts and dates, the mix is baked off in an oven and served with extra milk and sugar. While you would think, this seems like dessert, Tunisians actually have it for breakfast. And you could too....reduce the sweetness a bit and it is actually a healthy whole grain breakfast, high in fiber and protein.
I have modified the recipe to suit the availability of ingredients and the time on hand.
Category - Breakfast porridge, Whole grains
Time taken - Under 30 minutes
Serves - 2
Prepared ingredients for Farka
- Take ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the broken wheat along with chopped nuts to the pan and saute on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, keep 1 1/2 cups water to boil adding in the sugar, jaggery and grated ginger.
- Once the water has come to a boil and the broken wheat has turned golden brown, add the sweetened water to wok over the wheat. Close the wok with a lid and let this simmer (on a low flame) till wheat is cooked and the water is absorbed. This will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the broken wheat particles. (See pressure cooking shortcut in notes).
- Once the wheat is dry and almost cooked, add in 1/2 cup milk, stir well and keep covered for 2 minutes until it is absorbed and the grains are fluffed up. Switch off the stove and keep this covered for another 10 minutes, till all the moisture is absorbed and the porridge is dry.
- Serve warm with some extra milk by the side to add if necessary.
You can try this porridge with any whole grains you have on hand - eg. couscous, bulghur, semolina (not very fine).
Use of ginger is entirely optional, I prefer some spicy notes in any sweet dish to make it suitable for my kapha constituency (Ayurvedic body type). You could substitute it with cinnamon or cardamom too, or leave it plain. To find your dosha (Ayurvedic body type), take the quiz here.
Jaggery is my preferred sweetener, it also gives a rich golden colour to any dish. You could use plain sugar, demerara sugar or any sweetener that works for you.
Instead of cooking it off in the wok, you can also transfer the sauteed broken wheat with the water into a small pressure cooker and pressure cook for 5 minutes, taking care that there is enough water to prevent the mixture from burning.
Recipe Source - Adapted from here