Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Los Angeles's Kismet make these freekeh fritters as a playful take on Italian arancini. To get the creamy-chewy texture just right, they cook the lightly roasted green wheat called freekeh risotto-style, adding the water gradually while stirring the grain continuously. Slideshow:  More Vegetarian Appetizers 

May 2016


Credit: © Alanna Hale

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 30 mins
Makes about 2 dozen




Make the relish
  • In a small saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until just tender, 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry. In a skillet, toast the coriander until fragrant, 2 minutes. Pulse in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. In a food processor, pulse the peas with the olives, capers, spring garlic and coriander until coarsely chopped. Transfer the relish to a bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Fold in the herbs and season with salt and pepper; refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Make the fritters
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, bay leaf and 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the freekeh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are toasted, 5 minutes.

  • Add 3/4 cup of water to the freekeh and stir constantly until absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add another 3 cups of water, 3/4 of a cup at a time and stirring constantly, until the water is absorbed between additions. The freekeh is done when it's tender and suspended in a thick sauce, about 30 minutes total. Discard the bay leaf. Reduce the heat to moderate and stir in the Taleggio. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Transfer the freekeh to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

  • Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. Spread the panko in a third bowl. Shape the freekeh into 2-tablespoon-size balls; dredge in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip in the beaten eggs. Dredge in the panko, pressing lightly to help it adhere. Transfer the breaded freekeh to a baking dish in a single layer and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.

  • In a large, straight-sided skillet, heat 1 1/2 inches of canola oil to 325°. Fry the freekeh balls in batches until golden brown, 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Season with salt and serve hot with the relish.

Make Ahead

The freekeh and the relish can be refrigerated separately overnight.


Freekeh (pronounced FREE-kah) is a nutty-flavored roasted green wheat that tastes like a cross between brown rice and barley.