12 September 2013

IHCC - You Made Me Love You ... Bulgur !

Let me introduce you to the perfect side dish ... this is a fruity, spicy dish of bulgur with sweet red peppers, sweet Vidalia onions, and a hint of tomato paste. It is such a surprise to me because I have tried bulgur in the past and it has always been too chewy, too coarse, to dry. But THIS bulgur is none of those things. Yotam Ottolenghi credits this dish to a friend - Itamar Srulovich. I fell for making it when I saw the illustration in YO's cookbook called Plenty. It reminded me of couscous and when I read the description of the bulgur needed (medium grind), I thought that I might have to try bulgur one more time.

Last evening we had this dish hot with baked codfish and a side of steamed green beans. Tonight, we went vegetarian with a casserole of potatoes gratin, more green beans and this dish cold from the fridge. Awesome both times!

The key is being savvy on how to chew each bite. There are whole coriander seeds and peppercorns that are softened when the bulgur is boiled/steamed. They get soft, but they still surprise you when you chew into them, especially since there are soft currants that are about the same size as the spice seeds. Chew sideways ... there are these little explosions of spicy flavour when you bust one of the seeds on your tongue ... so good! Sweet, peppery, green and spicy, soft and slippery, and there's that soft chew of the bulgur.

It's the perfect side ... but I already said that. Yup, Yotam. You made me love bulgur. Congrats!

Itamar’s Bulgur Pilaf
a reduced recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty


3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
1 large sweet red pepper, seeded, deveined and sliced into thin 2 inch slices
A generous tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. peppercorns (pink are best, but I used black)
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
⅓ c. currants
a generous ½ c medium grind bulgur
1 c. water (or vegetable broth)
Kosher salt and black pepper
A generous handful of chopped chives

Making the Dish:

  1. Heat a deep heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.
  2. Add the prepped onions and peppers and stir to combine. Sweat the vegetables until they are softened and glistening – 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the tomato paste, the coriander and peppercorn seeds, sugar, and currants. Stir and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add the bulgur and stir to toss with the other ingredients. Add the water (or broth).
  5. Bring the mix to a boil, stir it, cover it, turn off the heat and let the mix steam to a finish - at least 20 minutes.
  6. When ready to serve, fluff the mix with a fork and if it seems to dry, drizzle a bit of olive oil over top and toss a bit. Correct the salt and pepper and serve.


  1. I love bulgur already but is it possible to love it even more:D

  2. I love this... i've been maing and eating a lot of bulgar and couscous recently... I adore the way it just soaks up all those juices... gorgeous stuff!

  3. I do the same with couscous- but bulgur I haven't tried yet! I love all these quick grains- makes cooking so much quicker and at the same time are delicious and you can get so creative with what kind of liquid you let it soak up! Yum!

  4. I do love me some bulgur so this pilaf looks even more wonderful to me! ;-) Such great color in this dish too.

  5. I really love bulgur, Susan, but somehow I always forget to cook with it and tend to often use couscous instead. Thanks for the reminder I need to add a bit bulgur to the shopping list and give this one a try.

  6. I enjoy bulgur salads, so this looks really good to me. I like the way you described the little explosions of flavor. YO has a knack for that unexpected flavor and texture contrast.

  7. I grew up eating and enjoying bulgur but never prepared like this! Looks fabulous.

  8. Ha ha! I got a real kick out of reading this post :) I've never heard anyone share info on how to chew something, but I do think about those things when I'm eating. The things we foodies think of. I know I would love those flavor explosions that you described. Looks like a wonderful dish. So glad you liked it!!

  9. looks moist and colorful - I love your description of chewing the spices. there is an Indian sweet made with bulgur that you should try - it might make you like bulghur even more - it is called lapsi - It's on my blog if you are interested.


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