Recipe Corner: Helen Heghine Deraprahamian’s (Modified) Eech Recipe

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Eech (or eetch) is a traditional Armenian dish consisting of fine bulgur, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, bell peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, green onions, parsley, and seasonings, incorporated to create a robust and fragrant presentation. It is served as a salad, a side dish, or as a spread on fresh pita bread, lavash, or crackers. A common Lenten dish, it is also known as “mock kheyma” or meatless kheyma, but can be enjoyed any season of the year.

Helen Heghine Deraprahamian was born on September 11, 1931 in Aleppo, Syria, the second of eight children of genocide survivors Vahan and Sara Der Barghamian from Kharpert ( Elazig), Turkey. Helen was a devoted member of the St. George Armenian Apostolic Church in Hartford CT, and the Ladies Guild Association. Helen passed away in December 2019. In her honor and memory, we present this modified version of her recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup fine (#1) bulgur

1/4 cup olive oil, or a little more

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1 large onion, chopped (cook half of it in oil and save the other half to mix with parsley for topping)

1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or a little more

1/2 large bunch parsley, chopped (use 3/4 of it in mixture and save 1/4 to mix with onion for topping)

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried mint

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil

Salt and pepper

Dash of paprika, cayenne pepper or Aleppo pepper

1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half (as garnish)

1/2 large bunch green onions, finely chopped (as garnish)

Romaine lettuce leaves and fresh lemon wedges

Preparation:

Sauté the onions and bell pepper in olive oil until soft. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, lemon juice, and seasonings. Stir, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or a little longer. Check seasonings and remove from heat.

Add the bulgur to the tomato sauce mixture, and stir. Stir in 3/4 of the chopped parsley. Check seasonings and set aside.

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. When mixture is chilled enough to handle, scoop up a handful and shape into oval rolls (or use a 1/3 cup measuring cup for a uniform shape when it is inverted.)

Place on a platter and sprinkle with reserved onion and parsley mixture. Garnish with tomatoes and green onions, and serve with Romaine lettuce leaves and lemon wedges. It can also be served in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil, and garnished with the onion and parsley mixture.

Also see the late Buzz Baxter’s recipe for Armenian Eech from Fresno at: http://www.thegutsygourmet.net/arm-eech.html

 

 

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