I’m always excited when I discover a new whole grain. By new I actually mean one of those ancient grains that were known centuries ago but are new to the market.
Kamut is the brand name for khorasan wheat. According to Andrew Weil, it was “rediscovered” in Egypt in 1949, which is why it is sometimes called “King Tut’s Wheat.” And some people believe that it was the "Prophet’s wheat" that Noah took into the ark.
It has another name too: turanicum, the name that attracted me because I’d never heard of it and it was a new featured product at my local supermarket. I wanted to know what it was and whether I would like it for the ways I use other grains — in salads, soup, casseroles, pilafs and stuffings.
I bought the turanicum not knowing it was kamut, but that’s okay. A rose by any other name ….
Turanicum, kamut, Prophet’s wheat, King Tut’s wheat, khorasan wheat —- call it what you will — this is good stuff. The grains are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with iron and other essential minerals and fatty acids, and has a higher protein value than other forms of wheat. They contain gluten and are not appropriate for those on a gluten free diet.
Turanicum grains are large and have a sweeter flavor than other grains (such as standard wheat, farro, bulgur and so on).
At summer’s end turanicum/kamut/whatever is lovely in a salad: cook it, add some raw or cooked vegetables, fresh herbs and homemade vinaigrette — the possibilities are endless.
Here’s one version:
Turanicum and Vegetable Salad
1 cup turanicum
2 cups water
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup diced yellow squash
8 medium mushrooms cut into bite size pieces
1 cup chopped tomato
1 small, ripe avocado, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the turanicum in a bowl, cover with water and soak for one hour. Drain and place the turanicum in a saucepan. Add the 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for about 45 minutes or until they grains are tender, but still slightly chewy. If there is any liquid remaining, discard it and place the turanicum in a bowl. While the turanicum is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions, squash and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften them. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the turanicum. Add the tomato and avocado. Toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and basil together until well blended. Pour over the salad and toss. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 6 servings