From my Travels..., Quick Meals, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Bulgur Wheat Pilaf

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I’ve been trying to incorporate different grains into my diet given the bad press white rice has been getting of late for having no real nutritional content. Out of all the grains that I’ve tried, this is the one that has stuck: Bulgur Wheat has bundles more nutritional value than white rice, which virtually has no fibre in it. It also takes half the cooking time to prepare. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked away from a pot of rice and come back to a bowl of porridge or where the grains are jellied together so much, I would have to either scoop or slice may way through it. Bulgur wheat however, does not need as much TLC, it can be left to stand alone in a bowl of hot water and unlike rice I find works well hot or cold (e.g Tabbouleh).

Living in North London, just off the infamous Green Lanes, your eyes will catch Bulgur Wheat Pilaf flashing you a smile practically out of every Turkish Restaurant window, of which there are plenty. It normally sits sandwiched between some stewed up Lamb Shank surrounded by potatoes the size of your fist, and fighting for the top spot the Potato Hash /Mixed Sweet Pepper tray smothered with a greasy tomato sauce. I have never tried the Pilaf from any of their restaurants, but I have always been fascinated by how they achieve the bright glossy red colour through the dish, day in and out. Well here’s to my version of Bulgur Pilaf, which I enjoyed on its or you can have with the Chicken Kebab featured earlier in the blog.

Bulgur Wheat

Ingredients

2 cups of Dry Bulgur Wheat

1/2 can Plum Tomatoes
1/2 medium Onion – finely chopped
2-3 Garlic Cloves – crushed
1 tsp finely chopped sweet pepper (green)
1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper

‘Dry Seasoning’
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
3 Cardamom Pods, ground
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1 Bay Leaf
4 Whole Cloves
Salt (to taste)
1/2 Vegetable or Chicken Stock Jelly
Vegetable Oil

Rocket (to Garnish)

Method

Put the Bulgur wheat in a bowl with water to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a deep saucepan under a medium heat, saute the onions, garlic and green pepper for about 5 minutes. Then to the same pot add the ‘dry seasoning’ and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes.

While this is frying blend or chop up the tomatoes, then add this to the pot with the scotch bonnet pepper and stock cube. The sauce may appear to be thick so you can add 1 cup of water after about 2 minutes under a medium heat.

When you have added the water, allow the sauce to simmer for 1-2 minutes before adding the (drained) bulgur wheat. Stir in the wheat for about 2-3 minutes under a medium flame, you should see the wheat beginning to plump up as it soaks up the liquid. There should still be some liquid remaining, you can always add 1/2 a cup, make sure you taste the sauce at this time. If you are happy with the taste then lower the heat, place a lid on the saucepan and allow it to simmer for 5-6 minutes. You can stir it at intervals (with a fork).

After 5-6 minutes you can add a knob of butter or margarine to the dish, stirring it in and removing the scotch bonnet pepper before it bursts. Don’t worry if the wheat still looks a little wet, once the dish has cooled down completely all the moisture will be gone.

Serve with the Marinated Chicken Kebabs, also on the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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