Kamut comes from the ancient Egyptian word for “wheat”. Considered by some to be the great-great grandfather of grains, Kamut is a variety of high-protein wheat that has never been hybridized. Kamut’s kernels are two-three times the size of most wheats. It carries a nutty-flavor with a higher nutritional value than today’s wheats. The whole wheat kernel can be used in soups, pilafs, cold salads, or can be milled to be used as a flour in your baked goods, pastas, and breads.
In the Greek culture the Kamut Berry is used in a religious dish for funerals called “Kollyva”. Presentation of this dish can become very detailed and fancy. Every Greek home has their own recipe, but often raisins, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds, and powdered sugar are used for the recipe. The sugar-coated almonds adorn the “kollyva” with the symbol of the cross. Dragees of all shapes and sizes are important in the design of the dish.
The priest will bless and distribute the “Kollyva” to the guests after the ceremony. This ritual is taken from the ancient funeral feasts, and is the symbol of the deceased body.
The Christian belief for everlasting life and hope is symbolically represented by the mound of “koliva” on the tray bearing the deceased initials in Greek along with the cross.
A symbolic Christian scripture is read during the ceremony: Truly,truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John:12:24
This recipe is from the professional book, Ancient Grains from Maria Speck.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup Kamut berries,soaked overnight and drained
- 2½ cups shredded carrots 9about3 medium)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds – optional for garnish
- ( I used dried cranberries)
- Bring the water and the Kamut berries to a boil in a heavy- bottomed saucepan.
- Decrease the heat to a low simmer,cover, and cook for 50-60 minutes until tender.
- Drain and transfer to a bowl. Cool.
- Add the carrots, raisins, to the Kamut.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange and lemon juices,,honey, cinnamon, and salt.
- Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream.
- Pour the dressing in the bowl and toss to combine.
- Taste and adjust for salt.
- Let it sit at room temperature for flavors to mingle.
- Add walnuts and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
As I cook the Kamut berries, it’s important to taste as you go, for the temperature of your flame will vary. The grain may take longer or shorter time to cook. You want it soft, but not mushy.
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