Recipe Courtesy of Bethany Kehdy
Bethany Kehdy is a cook, author, presenter, and champion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African cuisines. She utilizes traditional Middle Eastern ingredients in new and unique ways. Her love for Middle Eastern cuisine is evident through her work conducting educational food tours within Lebanon (@TasteLebanon), her cookbooks, and her supperclubs (@SwingingMawsam)!
Tabouleh Quiche by Bethany Kehdy
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt and sugar and pour in the oil, then mix well with your hands.
Add the yeast to 150ml/5fl oz/scant 2/3 cup lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Pour the water and yeast mixture into the flour and oil mixture, little by little, combining it with your hands as you go, until a ball is formed. Depending on the age and brand of flour, you may find that you need more or less water
Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and continue kneading it until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough ball to the mixing bowl, then score the top with a knife to loosen the surface tension. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
Slice the parsley into super thin threads using a very sharp knife. Put in a salad bowl along with the mint and tomatoes. Season the chopped spring onions with the allspice and then add them to the salad bowl. Add a little of the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave it to sit for an hour or so and then strain the tabouleh well of its juices and reserve them for serving. The salad should be quite sharp to contrast with the bland dough.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knock it back, then knead gently before rolling it into a log. Divide the log into two balls of equal size, each weighing about 220g or 7 3/4 oz each. Lightly flour the work surface once more and use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, re-flouring the surface as necessary. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle about 24cm or 9.5 inches in diameter. Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for a further 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230 ̊C/450 ̊F/Gas 8 and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm up. Baking one loaf at a time, spray a loaf lightly with water and bake for 1.5 minutes just until a pocket of air has formed (the cooking time depends on the heat of the oven and the thickness of the bread) but not until the top and edges are lightly golden as you’ll need to be able to work with a pliable and not a brittle bread.
As soon as you remove the first loaf from the oven, use a damp tea towel and go around pinching the edges of the bread to create a wall or rim. You’ll need to do this as soon as the bread comes out the oven or the bread will be too dry and it will be hard to shape the rim. A damp tea towel will make handling the very hot bread easier. Once the quiche wall or rim has been shaped then very gently begin removing the top layer of the Arabic bread pocket making sure you don’t tear the base layer. Remove as much as you can but sometimes you’ll have little bits that will just stick to dear life and will be impossible to pull away from the base layer. That’s fine. Set aside the flatbread quiche and repeat the same process with the remaining loaf. Keep the oven on as you’ll still need to bake the assembled flatbread quiche.
There are two ways to do this part: you can either crack and beat two eggs for each quiche in a separate bowl or, as the ladies of the bakery do, place the flatbread quiche on a baking tray, crack the eggs into the prepared flatbread quiche and gently whisk within the walls. Once you’ve whisked two eggs into each flatbread quiche, sprinkle the strained tabouleh over each flatbread quiche.
Transfer to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set and the edges are golden and crisp. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon or some leftover tabouleh juices. You can also allow the quiche to cool and serve at room temperature- it’s equally delicious.
This recipe combines two recipes from the book with some adaptations to suit the recipe. The tabouleh recipe listed here is half the original recipe in my book and makes enough of a portion for two quiches and is based on having a handful of tabouleh that’s sat in its juices overnight. It’s very important to strain the tabouleh of its juices so you don’t end up with a soggy quiche. Do bear in mind that the amount of lemon juice you’ll end up using to flavor the tabouleh is very dependent on the quality of lemon you have on hand. The ladies in the bakery have been making these quiches for over 20 years and, as would be expected, they really make creating the rim or wall look rather easy. They do not use a damp towel but as I do not have asbestos fingers, the only way I’m able to handle the hot bread is to use a damp towel to slightly protect my fingers. I’ve also discovered that this also helps to keep the bread more pliable as you go around the edges. I also have a meaty lamb filling (lahm b’ajeen) in the cookbook which would make for another alternative.