Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net
  • Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}
Posted on February 7, 2017

There is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now. And it’s left me feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and at times, small and insignificant.

Like, am I suppose to just sit here and talk cheerfully about a guacamole recipe, all while our elected officials are planning to build a wall at the Mexican border? That doesn’t feel right to me. It seems silly to be excited about food when there is so much hate and fear circulating around us.

But then I remember that sharing food, and the stories behind our food, is a big part of who we are. It defines us on every level: as individuals, as families and as a nation. To share food and food stories is to be human. So no matter what happens over the next few years, I’m going to continue to do that.

We are a nation of immigrants. And today, myself and some other food bloggers are celebrating that fact by sharing our #immigrantfoodstories. I hope you feel inspired and uplifted. And I hope you feel the urge to share your immigrant stories as well (both food and non-food related). Because I don’t think we can afford to be silent any longer.

Armenian Power | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’m half Armenian. All four of my Great Grandparents on my Mom’s side immigrated from Armenia in the early 1900’s to escape the Armenian Genocide. My family, like so many other Armenian families during those years, found safety and security here in America. In time, they became dedicated community members in their newly found country – raising families, erecting churches and managing small businesses. One of those businesses (now called Donabedian Bros.) is still in operation today, and is owned and run by my Mom and Uncle.

I grew up being mainly influenced by my Armenian side of the family (simply due to the proximity of where we lived). They were a hard working and proud group of people. But never too proud. The Armenian Genocide had inflicted a deep scar that still ached from time to time. A scar that was often kept covered and hidden away from prying eyes.

There was a lingering shame and a general quietness about them.

Except when it came to matters regarding food. Then there was no holding back! As a family of great cooks (and even greater appetites!), meal times and Holidays were always a celebration of our traditional foods. My Great Aunt Margaret proudly made the best toorshi (pickled vegetables). My Great Aunt Dorothy made the best lahmahjoon (flatbread with ground lamb) and roejeeg (grape juice and walnut candy). And my Mom always had the most sought after paklava in town!

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

Today, I’ve recreated my Great Aunt Carrie’s recipe for Eetch (also sometimes called mock kheyma or meatless kheyma). It’s a bulgur based-dish that can be served either as a salad, or spread onto crackers/bread. It has a somewhat similar flavor profile to tabbouleh, so if that’s something you enjoy, then I would encourage you to try Eetch. It’s also a recipe that gets better with age. So it’s a great dish to make for a party or potluck, because you can prepare it up to a day in advance. {Oh and if you’re curious, those little round baked goods in the photos are something called simit, an Armenian bread/biscuit that I’m still trying to get just right.}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

I want to leave you with a few excerpts from an essay written by my Great Aunt Beatrice that details the experiences of her Mother Agnes (my Great Grandmother) in Armenia during the Genocide. It was a school assignment in which she had to write about someone she admired. It’s pretty powerful.

Be sure to check out the hashtag #immigrantfoodstories to see more inspiring stories and recipes.

Cheers,

Liz

Armenian Genocide Letter | www.floatingkitchen.net

“Sure enough, in the winter of 1985, while Agnes was still an infant, a massacre took place. The women and children of Harpoot fled into the nearby mountains, while the men and older boys tried to fight off the Turks and protect their homes. Mrs. Soorsoorian, carrying Agnes and pulling and coaxing the four other children, was having a difficult time of it. The path up the mountainside was narrow and steep. She was making no progress, as the children stumbled and fell on the rocks. The child in her arms was an extra burden. Despairing and in tears, she dropped little Agnes into a snow bank and helped the other children ascend. I suppose she thought that if one of the children had to die, it would have to be the youngest.”

“Soon the Turks gave the order that all the Armenians who were not fighting where to abandon their homes and leave the country. Agnes, now twenty years old, and her aged parents where among the thousands of unfortunates who were forced to leave their homes. It must have been a sad procession that marched away from it’s native soil. Thousands were massacred, and I don’t know whether my mother’s parents were among these, or whether, exhausted, they fell on the wayside, but I do know that they died during this time. I have never asked my mother about these facts, because I know she refuses to discuss this horrible phase of her life with anyone.”

“In two years she had money enough to purchase a steamship ticket, which she did without wasting anytime. A few weeks later, her boat docked at New York Harbor. Agnes’ brothers were there to greet here. In one way, it was a happy reunion, but on the other hand, it was pitiful to think that these three were the only living members left of their family. Agnes lived with her brothers for two years, after which she met my father George Kerkorian, whom she married. They came to Newburyport to live, and here their two daughters, my sister Louise and I, were born.”

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad

Serves 4-8

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (also called dried cracked wheat)
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the bulgur and tomato sauce to a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired.
  3. Refrigerate until well chilled. You can serve this as a salad, or as a topping for bread and crackers.
  4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/armenian-bulgur-parsley-and-tomato-salad/

28 Comments


  • I loved reading a little more about your family Liz! It makes me realize that I don’t know nearly enough about my own heritage (Swedish? Who knows!) and I need to dig into it a bit deeper. I’ve had a similar salad to this at my husband’s Iranian family celebration, but now I’m excited to try your version. Thanks for standing up and speaking out dear friend. xo

    Reply

    • Thanks for reading, Abby. I’d love to try some of your husbands Iranian recipes sometimes!


  • Thanks for sharing your story, Liz. We ARE a nation of immigrants, and I’m so proud that this country has been a refuge for so many fleeing horrors in their native countries. (On a lighter note – I’ve been looking for a wintery bulgar recipe and your looks perfect.)

    Reply

    • Thank you so much. I’m so proud to be able to share my families story today, and to be part of such a lovely blogging community. XOXO.


  • Amazing, Liz! What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing this special recipe with us. It’s so interesting to hear about everyone’s backgrounds like this. xoxo

    Reply

    • Thanks for the lovely words, Sara. XOXO!


  • This is so very powerful, Liz. I’ve loved reading the bits and pieces you’ve been sharing on facebook and am so happy to see it brought to life here in such a loving, important way. I’ve never heard of this dish but it sounds amazing. (I’m also salivating just over the sound of lahmahjoon…can that be next?) Here’s to the diverse group of immigrants that make up this country and to continuing the important conversations both in and outside of the food world. <3 you, my friend.

    Reply

    • Thanks, for the kind words today (and always). I’m so happy to be able to share my families story. And it’s inspiring to read so many others. Hugs to you. And yes, lahmahjoon should totally be next. It’s one of my favorite Armenian dishes!


  • Thank you for sharing your story, Liz! The excerpt of the essay is so chilling, and I’m so sorry that your family had to go through that horror. America has such a rich history of people leaving their native lands in search of a more hopeful future. Thank for reminding us about these immigrant stories and how it weaves into the fabric of our nation. I hope we all don’t lose sight of that now.

    Reply

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Lisa. Hugs!


  • Thank you for sharing your family’s story…the pain & suffering they endured during that horrible time in history is unimagineable – we have much in common as my hubby’s Greek family had to flee Turkey for the same reasons as yours.

    Reply

    • Thank you for sharing, Bella. Seems like many people have similar stories. I hope it unites us and not divides us.


  • My heart aches reading about your great-grandmother and her family, Liz. We share that same sad family history. Honestly, between the two of us recently discovering we share an Armenian heritage and choosing to share the same recipe today, I’m thinking we may be truly related.

    Can’t wait to try your version of this salad…it sounds amazing!

    Reply

    • We are definitely sisters of some kind!


  • I can’t imagine the anguish, terror and heartache your family has endured. Thank you for sharing with us Liz… your heart, your family, your courage… your story. Despite the rhetoric, we’re being told form the head of US government, stories such as yours are bringing awareness and light to the misguided actions being taken by the new administration. Keep sharing, so matter what the forum. Truth will prevail. This salad looks fabulous… simple yet rich in flavor and history. I love a good, hearty grain salad. I’m looking forward to your post on simit! xo <3

    Reply

    • Thanks for the kind words, Traci. They mean so much. I was certainly nervous to share this today. But I think it’s important. And I’m also very proud of my family and my heritage. XOXO!


  • Well, I LOVE tabouleh so will definitely save your recipe for Eetch to try. And thank you for sharing your heritage and your family’s story – I can’t begin to imagine what they went through. x

    Reply

    • I think you’ll really love Eetch, since the flavors are so similar. Basically the same ingredients, just different proportions and the use of tomato sauce instead of actual tomatoes! Thanks for your kind words. Peace and love.


  • Oh Liz, thank you for sharing your family’s story. So sad and moving, I’m sorry to hear what they went through. Thanks for sharing this beautiful dish💕

    Reply

    • Thanks for the kind words, Kelly. I think it’s an important time in our lives to speak up and share!


  • This is such a lovely tribute to your family’s story and I’m so glad to be able to read it. You’re fighting the good fight. 🙂 (And also- this looks SO DELICIOUS- I love bulgar but I never cook with it! Total miss, I have to try this.)

    Reply

    • Thanks, Carla. It’s been so interesting to read everyone’s stories. All so different, but also all so similar. I hope you try the salad. I know you’ll love it!


  • Liz, thank you for sharing your story. I started reading #immigrantfoodstories from one blogger to the next one. Each story is uplifting and full of grace.

    Reply

    • Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Carlos! I’ve been loving reading everyone’s experiences. I think it’s so important we share our stories AND our food! Thanks for visiting.


  • I am so glad you shared this story, Liz. I’ve also been really struggling with how to handle my blog during a time like this because it feels weird to talk about cakes and sprinkles when so many awful things are happening. But like you said, sharing stories is important and reminds us why we do what we do. And when it comes to food, it can remind us of where we came from. 🙂 I will definitely be checking out the hashtag and other immigrant stories. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

    • So glad you found some inspiration, Beth. Yes, I’m struggling too. But silence kills. Literally. So I figured it was time to touch of some important topics. Hugs to you. Thanks for reading and sharing.


  • Thank you for sharing your powerful story, Liz.

    Reply

    • Thanks for taking the time to read it, Aimee. That means so much!

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