The Recipe - Armenian Itch

As Maggie Saab, whose family was from Kilis, Armenia (today part of Turkey), taught Lindsay Sterling in Falmouth, MA, in August 2015.

Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
6 oz. tomato paste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sumac*
2 tsp salt
1 cup fine grain (#1) bulgur wheat*
3 cups water
1 head fresh lettuce or 1/4 head cabbage or fresh grape leaves
6-12 sprigs fresh spearmint
6-12 sprigs fresh parsley
Small dish of delicious olives with pits (optional)
6 pita bread or flatbread (optional)
8 oz. mild white cheese such as hallum (queso blanco also works) (optional)
6-12 small sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

*you'll likely need to find these ingredients online or at a Middle Eastern market.

In a large pot with lid, saute onions in oil until soft. Add tomato paste and three cups water and bring to a boil. Add salt, sumac, lemon juice, and salt. Once this boils, stir in the bulgur wheat and cover. Let the mixture sit off heat for about 40 minutes.

(If after resting it is not a paste, stir in a little bit more bulgur, which will soak up more liquid. The ideal texture is a soft yet firm paste. If the mixture is too firm and dry you could stir in little bit more water. If adding water or bulgur, let the mixture rest again before serving so the bulgur has time to soak up liquid.)

Serve on a platter and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with fresh leaves of lettuce, cabbage, or grape vine. Add a spearmint and/or parsley leaf to each bite. Delicious! Armenian itch also goes well served with olives and pieces of pita with slices of mild white cheese and a sprig of fresh thyme.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2015