KISIR (bulgur salad from Turkey, for six)
1 cup fine bulgur (you need fine, not medium, bulgur for this, available I natural foods or Middle Eastern stores)
½ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted in a small dry skillet and ground in a coffee or spice grinder
juice of 1-1/2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh red or green chili pepper, finely chopped, more to taste
5 to 7 scallions
3 tomatoes (about 11 ounces), diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ English cucumber, diced
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves, more to taste
small lettuces, like Bibb or Little Gem (baby romaine), for serving
1.Put the bulgur into a bowl, pour the boiling water over it, stir and leave for 15 to 20 minutes, until the grain is tender. Don’t be tempted to add more water since the juice from the lemons and tomatoes will soften it further.
2. Add the cumin, tomato paste, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, chili pepper and some salt and mix thoroughly. Trim the green tops off the scallions, then slice the bulbs finely and add them to the bulgur mixture. Stir in the diced tomatoes, green bell pepper and cucumber, together with the parsley and the mint, and mix well.
3. Serve with the small lettuce leaves stuck around the edges of the salad. Another way is to roll the bulgur mixture into ovals the size of a small egg and to place each one in the hollow of a lettuce leaf.
NOTE: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses to the dressing for a sweet-and-sour flavor. A tablespoon or so commercially prepared Turkish hot red pepper paste (available from Middle Eastern markets) also is a frequent addition.
FINE BULGUR, PACKAGED
adapted from Claudia Roden, Arabesque