Salikah: A Winter Tradition

Making the wheat dish called salikah – in Kurdish, danûk – is one of the time-honoured preparations for winter in the al-Jazira area of northeast Syria.

The process involves cooking wheat in a large pot over a wood fire. The boiled wheat is then spread over the roof of a house and left for three days, with continuous exposure to the sun ensuring it is completely dry.

It is then ground and made into several types of semolina and bulgur, essential for many popular dishes such as kibbeh and katlek.

A dish is also made using barley processed with a special machine, especially popular among children who gather around the pot waiting to take their share.

However, the tradition is threatened by the decline in number of those in the region with the knowledge of the long, complicated process required to make salika.

Vian Hessu followed the process and came back with these pictures.