Kurdish bulgur and turnip pilaf (Grar ba-shyallem)

December 16, 2014  • 

Bulgur pilaf

While the food world is getting entranced with quinoa, I am steadfastly sticking to bulgur. I was delighted to find out that it is a whole-grain created by Kurdish tribes during the Crusades, around the 11th century. So much for some historical trivia. This is super easy and satisfying in a rustic, wholesome way. A special thanks to Chef Asma Zeito for the recipe from Mardin (Turkey).
INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings
• 1 1/2 cups bulgur, coarse (#3)
• 1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)

1. Heat the oil and fry the chopped onion till golden.
2. Add turnips and bulgur and fry for 3 minutes over medium heat.
3. Add 3 cups of water and bouillon cube and bring to a simmer; cover the pot and let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes; uncover, check by tasting one bulgur grain and turn off the heat or cook a bit longer till the stock evaporates and the mixture is dry but moist.
4. Serve the pilaf warm with fresh veggies such as radishes and cucumber and a yogurt drink.

Comments

6 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A scrumptious way to cook turnip!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Joumana says:

    @Rosa; it was certainly straightforward! 🙂

    @Maureen: A way to get a heartier taste of turnips!

    @Ozlem: Likewise, I am forever delighted to learn and discover the many facets of Turkish cuisine and its rich history and peoples.

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    What an interesting dish. I’ll admit that I’ve only used a bit of bulghur in tabouleh and that’s it. I think we’d both love this turnip dish.

  4. Ozlem's Turkish Table says:

    A gorgeous take on beloved bulgur, I am so with you, I love this ancient grain. And this pilaf is just delicious; I love Mardin and its cuisine, delighted to find it here. And love the new look of your blog, fabulous! Best wishes for the festive season and the new year, Ozlem

  5. Lilliana says:

    Prepared by such ancient civilizations as the Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrews, bulghur has been a staple since at least 4,000 BC with some sources suggesting 6,000 BC. Romans, Arabs and Egyptians have recorded its use as early as 1,000 BC. Common in the more easternly Mediterranean regions, it is also has a long history in the Ukarainian and Central Asian cuisines where both bulghur and cracked wheat are used along with kasha, or braised buckwheat groats.

    Ancient Romans called bulghur cerealis, Israelites degan and in some Middle Eastern regions it is still called arisah, translated by Biblical scholars as ‘the first of the coarse meal’ and was originally prepared as a porridge.
    http://www.epicureantable.com/articles/agrainbulgur.htm

    So much for burgul beeing a Kurdish invention.You only had to google it.

    • Joumana says:

      @Lilliana: I am not a historian, but what I have read so far suggests that Kurdish/Medes tribes have been around for over 10,000years in the region. We can debate this fo hours and I am not really interested in this. All I care is that it is a Kurdish lady chef who showed me this recipe and told me that her folks used to prepare it at home when she was a child growing-up in the Mardin area.

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