Sheel Abour – how recipes make the rounds

Doug and I were invited to dinner at the home of Araksi and Onnik Dinkjian a few weeks ago. Their world-class musician son, Ara, and
his daughter, Arev were in town for a brief visit, so this provided us with the
perfect opportunity to catch-up on family news.

(Click here to preview some of Ara’s incredible music.) 

Araksi served a table full of scrumptious mezza items
before dinner, including ‘sheel abour’. As we slathered the sheel abour onto pita wedges, Araksi asked if I knew where
she had gotten the recipe. I truly had no idea. She said, “I got this recipe at your house from Betty Kabobjian** when
we were together for Mandy’s high school graduation party – in 1999.” 

It’s interesting to see how recipes make the rounds!

**A little family background: Dick Kabobjian,
Betty’s husband, and my dad were cousins, so we’ve known the two of them forever.
Betty was always the hostess-with-the-mostess and all around incredible cook.
Dick, like all of the other Dikranagerdsis I know, loved to party.  Whenever Dick and my dad got
together, you’d never know what juicy dialog would pop out of their mouths. Women
blushed in their presence – and – everyone who understood their dialect, had a good belly- laugh.

I digress… back to the recipe.

 I posted a similar recipe – ‘Sour Spinach and Rice’
from the “Assyrian Cookbook”, sent in by John and Pat Nashmy, but didn’t have the
Kabobjian version. Arkasi kindly provided me with a copy, which I will now share
with you.

Sheel Abour ala Araksi Dinkjian
Sheel Abour

2 – 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and
excess liquid drained
½ cup rice (short grain works well)
½ cup fine (#1) bulgur
Salt and pepper to taste
2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
½ cup fresh lemon juice (or more)
2 cups water
2 large onions, finely chopped
½ cup canola oil

1. In a large saucepan, cook together the spinach, rice,
bulgur, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, lemon juice and water  – first bringing the liquid to a boil, then
reducing the heat to medium-low and covering the pot – until rice and bulgur
are soft – about 25 minutes.
2. While the spinach-rice mixture is cooking, heat the
oil and sauté the onions until soft but not burned.
3. When the spinach-rice mixture is done, add the sautéed
NOTE: Serve as an appetizer with
pita chips or wedges of pita bread, or as a side dish. This can be served hot
or cold.
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  1. Anonymous July 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Is this the same as spinach pandjar?

  2. Robyn July 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I have found several recipes with the word panjar, pancar, or pandjaregheni in the name. The first, 'Panjar Aghtsan' is a beet salad with vinegar, oil and sugar. The next, 'Pancar Salatasi' is also a beet salad with butter, onion, and a yogurt-garlic sauce. Then there is 'Pandjaregheni Dzevadzegh', a vegetable omelet with leeks, spinach, lettuce, etc. Finally, 'Pandjaregheni Aghtsan', a vegetable salad with cooked Swiss chard, parsley, yogurt and garlic. Do any of those sound familiar?
    If you wish to continue the search, you can email me: Thanks!


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