a little time travel: kamut kisir

kamut kisir
The myths behind the whole grain, Khorasan Wheat (Kamut), are the food equivalent of an Indiana Jones-type boys own story; rediscovered in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh, the ancient grains were sent to the US and replanted by a farmer in Montana. The truth is sadly more prosaic. But what is indisputable is that khorasan wheat had fallen out of use over centuries, very largely because yields are relatively low and farmers started to develop higher yielding grains.

Khorasan wheat (Kamut) has been commercially produced in the US since that 1970s and is growing in popularity as people began to discover its health benefits; it is high in protein and can be tolerated with people who have a wheat sensitivity. From a cook's perspective it needs a bit more preparation than other grains but there are definite rewards; it has a nice chewy texture and a gloriously nutty and buttery flavour. 

Kisir salad is both delicious and healthy and any leftovers make the perfect lunchbox meal, with pitta bread and crisp lettuce to scoop up every tasty morsel. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients; it is really worth the effort and you can always pretend, as I often do when eating ancient ingredients, that you are travelling back in time!

200g Kamut (khorasan wheat)
600ml vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
2 tbsp chopped nuts (hazelnuts and walnuts)
3 spring onions, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp caster sugar
½ tsp Aleppo pepper (or crushed chillies)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp tomato paste


  1. Soak Kamut overnight. Drain and rinse. Bring stock to boil and add Kamut. Simmer for about 60 to 90 minutes! The grains will puff up and be a little chewy. Drain. (Reserve the cooking liquid as it has a fabulous buttery flavour and makes a good thickener for soups and stews).
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together (olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, chilli, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add a little water if necessary.
  3. Stir dressing into drained Kamut. Mix in nuts, vegetables and chopped herbs. Set aside for about 20 minutes to allow flavours to get to know each other.
  4. Adjust seasoning before serving.

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