Reader Feature: KHEYMA – Ourfatsi-style from the family of Ara Kassabian

Ara Kassabian is one of my go-to people for certain Armenian recipes. A few years ago, he shared several Lenten- appropriate recipes with The Armenian Kitchen in the comment section of another post. Since readers might not have seen it, I’m presenting his family’s Kheyma recipe as a Reader Feature. I have already posted Ara’s Turluh (tourlou) recipe, which is really delicious. Kheyma isn’t just for Lent; it can be served any time of the year.

Kheyma – Ourfatsi-style

In reference to Kheyma Ara stated, “This is a recipe that
comes from my aunt’s sister-in-law (Digin Arshalouys). My aunt married into a
family of Ourfatsis and this recipe is from that region. I am reproducing the
recipe as I received it from my mom.”

– Ourfatsi Style
4 to 6

1 (16 oz.) can of
chickpeas, drained, BUT save the liquid – and – reserve 2 Tbsp. chickpeas for garnish

(NOTE: It’s best to remove and discard any loose skins from the chickpeas before proceeding with Step #1. It’s tedious, but worth it!)
 1 1/2 cups (or
a little more) #1 (fine) bulgur (available in Middle Eastern stores and some    specialty grocers)
 salt, pepper (Aleppo red pepper is preferable) – to taste
 cumin, to taste, optional
  2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
  1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  Red pepper
paste mixed with the tomato sauce (optional)   
  juice of 1 small lemon
  2-3 tablespoons
of tahini (sesame seed paste) mixed with a little water.

  1small onion,
   2-3 green
onions (scallions), finely chopped
   A bunch of
Italian flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped
    Garnishes: Reserved whole chickpeas, minced parsley and red pepper slices (fresh or roasted red peppers may be used)

Draining chickpeas; saving its liquid for Step #1
Chickpeas mashed with fork


1. In a medium sized bowl, mashed the chickpeas with the back of a spoon or fork, leaving it fairly
coarse. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, add the chickpea liquid from the can. Add the bulgur and stir until it is combined with the liquid. 
Set bowl aside until the bulgur softens, about 15 minutes.
3.  After the bulgur softens, add the mashed chickpeas and stir to combine. Add salt, pepper, and cumin and garlic, if using. Stir in the tomato sauce mixed with red pepper
paste (if using).
  Mix them until well-combined.
Add lemon juice, tahini,
onion, green onion, and parsley. Add more lemon juice or
water if it is too thick. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

4. Mound the kheyma on a platter and garnish with the
reserved chickpeas, minced parsley, and red pepper slices.

Serve with Romaine lettuce leaves, fresh grape vine leaves (in season), red pepper slices, crackers, or just put some in a bowl and eat with a spoon! 
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