What are ptitim!?!
Ptitim are a very common food in Israel that can be cooked up in a million different ways: creamy like risotto, in tomato sauce or as a base of a salad like in this recipe. In the US, it is called ‘Israeli couscous’ or ‘pearl couscous’. Now that you’ve heard of ptitim, do you want to hear a ptitim fun-fact? I know you do!
When ptitim were invented in the 1950s, they were called Ben-Gurion rice, named after the first prime minister of the state of Israel. He used ptitim as a cheap substitute for rice, which was in low supply. In Israel, ptitim is a very ‘homey’ dish that kids smother in ketchup, which is why Israelis are surprised to find it in five-star restaurants around the world!
Mediterranean salad Ingredients (serves 6)
1 1/2 cups ptitim (also known as Israeli couscous or pearl couscous)
2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp. olive oil + more for dressing the salad
1/2 tsp. cumin
cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh mint, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 artichoke hearts, cut in chunks
goat feta, crumbled
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp date honey (also known as ‘silan’ in Hebrew)
salt and black pepper to taste
Add the ptitim to a pot on high heat and toast them until they brown a little bit. This is a must-do for when you make ptitim.
Then, add the olive oil and cumin. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave it for another 7 minutes. Don’t open the pot until the 15 minutes are up.
Wait a few minutes for the ptitim to cool then add them to your salad bowl with the tomatoes, mint, parsley (chopped chunky), red onion, artichoke hearts and feta.
Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, date honey and salt/pepper. It doesn’t need much salt because of the cheese. It needs fresh black pepper.
Toss gently and serve at room temp. Enjoy this fresh and delicious salad!