Sunday, May 11, 2008

Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir) & Grilled Lamb Chops

Bulgur is whole wheat that has been parboiled and cracked for quick and convenient cooking. They come in course, medium and fine textures and can be used in place of rice or couscous since they contain higher nutritional value. In Turkish cuisine, the fine-textured bulgur is often used to make kısır, which is a variation of tabouleh. It’s usually served as an afternoon snack or meze, but I like it just fine as a side dish. This recipe is from S’s mom who also brought him a bottle of homemade pomegranate syrup from Turkey. Yummy!

Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kısır)
(Yields 4 Side Portions)

  • 1 ½ cups of fine bulgur
  • 1 ½ cups hot water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste
  • 1 big clove garlic, minced
  • 8 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 banana peppers, seeded & finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp pul biber
  • 1 tsp mint flakes
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ to ½ cup fine extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded & diced

Pour bulgur into a large bowl and cover with hot water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and blot with towel to remove excess water. Toss bulgur into a salad bowl along with the tomato paste and pepper paste and use your hand to mix thoroughly. Next, add the rest of the ingredients except tomatoes and toss well. Adjust seasoning and then fold in tomatoes near the end so that salad does not get mushy. Chill for an hour and then serve.

To complete this meal, I rubbed some fine sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, ground cumin and oregano flakes onto several lamb chops and brushed them with olive oil before throwing them on a hot grill. This was such the perfect pairing and was a most satisfying meal!