Turkish Bulgur Pilaf
EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: EXOTIC BIRYANI AND PULAO
RECIPE: TURKISH BULGUR PILAF
Turkish Bulgur Pilaf is a healthy, nutritious, tasty, vegan one pot meal that comes together within 30 minutes. Especially popular as a side dish or as a main meal, the main flavour is from the herbs, onion and tomato.
As a matter of fact, Bulgur Pilaf is a common Middle Eastern side dish served with kebab, grilled meat. However, many families enjoy it on its own with some plain yogurt or tzatziki.
What is Bulgur?
Bulgur, Burghul or Bulgar is a wholegrain that contains more fiber and protein. Specifically, it is a staple in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Cuisine. In fact, it is cracked wheat that is parboiled, dried, and then broken into various smaller pieces.
Interestingly, bulgur wheat comes as fine, medium, coarse and extra course. Usually, the fine variety is used for salads like Tabbouleh. Generally, is not cooked but soaked in hot water. On the other hand, the other sizes need to be cooked in water or stock like we do with rice. However, cooking time depends on the size of the bulgur. Actually, to make a good pilaf, it is best to use coarse or extra coarse bulgur. You don’t need to wash bulgur before cooking it.
Is Bulgur Wheat and Dalia (cracked wheat) the same?
Certainly, they are not. Though both are wheat based grains, bulgur is parboiled and cracked while dalia or cracked wheat is not parboiled. Raw wheat berries are crushed for dalia.
A bit about the group:
In brief, every month a new theme is chosen by members. Furthermore, the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme. As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group. Afterwards, the others try and guess the secret ingredients. Towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Furthermore, this way members get to know each other and interact with each other.
This Month’s Theme
This Month’s Theme, EXOTIC BIRYANI AND PULAO, is suggested by Swaty who blogs at Food Trails. In short, her suggestion was to make any biryani or pulao Indian or International using any grain that we want to. I made up my mind to use bulgur wheat.
Swaty has a huge collection of biryanis and pulao. Check out her 24 different dishes. From the list I definitely want to try out the Gatte Ke Pulao and Pearl Pulao. The ‘pearls’ are small fried paneer balls. As for this theme, Swaty has prepared an exotic, delicious Kathal ki Biryani/Jackfruit Biryani.
This month I teamed up with Priya Iyer who blogs at The World Through My Eyes. In brief, from her blog I would love to try out Fragrant Lemon Scented Rice using the famous Gondhoraj Lebu. This fragrant lemon is very popular in West Bengal.
We gave each ingredients that we normally would use to make biryani or pulao. While Priya gave me mint and garlic which worked perfectly well for my Turkish Bulgur Pilaf, I gave her shahi jeera and garlic. Using those two ingredients she has prepared a lovely, inviting Matar Pulav.
My Favourite Rice Dishes
Turkish Bulgur Pilaf
Since the time enjoyed Bulgur Pilaf at a Turkish Restaurant in Montreal – Avesta, I’d wanted to try out the recipe. At the moment, the airbnb hubby and I are staying at, the nearest supermarkets on either side are about 25-30 minutes walking distance. Both did not stock coarse bulgur wheat.
Indeed, Hubby and I have been trying to walk everyday, our steps ranging between 5000 – 10,000 or more. Making the best of good weather, walking paths before winter sets in. My son recommended we try out an Epicerie which sells Middle Eastern goodies. In fact, the walk to that place and back was nearly 10,500 steps. Armed with a bag of extra coarse bulgur wheat and fresh tomatoes, was ready to make the delicious quick meal.
Can I Add Other Ingredients To The Bulgur Pilaf?
Most certainly you can, ranging from meats, other vegetables to vermicelli. Add feta, nuts, olives, herbs of your choice, lentils, etc. However, the basic one is with onion, tomatoes and herbs.
In general, to make it into a wholesome and filling meal I added some chickpeas. Overall, with plain yogurt it was really tasty.
Ingredients Required For Turkish Bulgur Pilaf
- Bulgur – coarse or extra coarse
- Chickpeas – cooked. Can use canned or soaked and cooked ones. Can replace it with mixed vegetables, or meat.
- Olive Oil
- Red Onion – peeled and finely chopped
- Bell Pepper – usually green one is used but I used the red one. Deseed and finely chopped.
- Garlic – peeled and minced
- Tomato Paste – you know the really thick variety you get. Like cirio, cento, hunts, etc. Use good quality.
- Chopped Tomato – prefer to use fresh ones. But can used canned ones too.
- Stock or Water – I used vegetable stock.
- Cinnamon Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Red Chilli Flakes – optional
- Pepper Powder
- Salt – add according to your taste
- Fresh Parsley – finely chopped
- Fresh Mint – chopped
Check Out The Easy Step By Step Video
TURKISH BULGUR PILAF
- 1 cup bulgur wheat coarse or extra coarse
- 1½ cups chickpeas cooked
- 1 medium red onion peeled and diced
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 2 cups stock or water
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp pepper powder
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp mint chopped
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add garlic and chopped bell pepper. Stir fry and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, mix well. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, salt, cinnamon, cumin and pepper powders and mix well.
- Add bulgur wheat, chickpeas and stock or water. Mix well.
- Cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes.
- Check if the bulgur wheat is cooked. If not add a little more water and cook. Mine was done in 15 minutes.
- Add chilli flakes, parsley and mint. Mix well. Switch off the heat.
- Cover the pan and allow the bulgur pilaf to rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with some yogurt or with grilled meat, kebabs.
- The general rule to follow is for every cup of extra coarse bulgur you need 2 cups of liquid.
- Add vegetables or meat of your choice.
- Serve with feta cheese and olives.
- Adjust spices according to your taste.
- Don't omit adding tomato paste as that adds a tangy or umami flavour to the pilaf.
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