The Bhoys from Khorasan

IMG_0466

Khorasan wheatberries also known as Kamut®

The land called Khorasan has a 3,ooo  year old history.  It is debated that the area was settled during the Bronze Age.  It came into being as part of the Persian Empire. Today, it would emcompass parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. During this time span it’s borders contracted and expanded. Various armies came and went as invaders to the land, from Alexander to the Romans from the west and Kushans from the east and many others besides. Khorasan was not recognised as a political state under the third century AD.

IMG_0449

Home made breads from the ancient grain, Kamut®.

It was not until 647 AD that the land of Khorasan was invaded by Arabs. And for the remainder of it’s history was kicked around by various dynasties and more armies coming and going. Some of these players included Genghis Khan and the Soviet Union.

The land of Khorasan has also lent it’s name to a form of grain or grass. Whilst not exactly wheat, it’s DNA is not that far off and it could certainly sit under the same umbrella as spelt, wheat or farro. And also be utilised the same way in the modern kitchen, eaten in it’s whole form or to be milled into flour.

There are romantic stories and legends regarding this plants origins. Whether it is true or not that it was buried in a pharaohs tomb, it is still a long distance, physically, from Khorasan. However, in the modern era, the credit is usually given to farmers in Egypt for preserving this old grain.

IMG_0455

Homemade Kamut® brand Khorasan wheat bread fortified with sunflower seeds, unhulled sesame seeds and flax seeds. I grind up the flax seeds. This bread has a great crust and is very moist inside.

I can only imagine this grain, preserved solar power in a kernel, being a commodity that was hardy enough to last a desert caravan’s transit. It could arrive at it’s destination safely, a market in a city,  and be traded. I can only guess at the economics. But the Romans introduced many innovations for grain milling during their time in Egypt to sustain their legions.

Long story short is that this particular ancient grain fell through the cracks of agricultural development as we know it today and was  unknown in the US until comparatively recently. It is still a largely unknown grain in the modern marketplace. And it’s current preservation lies with Kamut, International. In it’s modern guise, the grain named after the land of Khorasan is called Kamut® brand Khorasan wheat. Kamut is an old Egyptian word for wheat, as the story goes. Nowadays, we have to contend with armies of marketers and lawyers.

IMG_0447

Winter composition of Kamut ®,smoked salmon, roasted cauliflower, and kale

This grain is worth looking up and researching via Kamut, International. I like the whole idea of minimal processing of foods. I like the foods that I eat to have a story or energy behind them and this ancient grain adds to the pantry and repertoire.

As far I was I was concerned, I made out like a Phoenician bandit. No matter where you are from simple foods seem to win out all the time. And over time. Time and again. Timeless.

And just like the bhoys from Khorasan, you have to eat well, so that you can be strong, so you can fight back. Eat like a peasant.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s