Bulgur in yogurt sauce (Labaniyet al-burghul)
September 18, 2010 • Category: Main Dish
Grand opening festivities of theBeirut Souks, starting with an Elie Saabrunway fashion show (Lebanese designer of the Hollywoood stars), an exhibit featuring young and hip Lebanese designers and closing tonight with a Jean-Michel Jarre concert. As well as a fireworks extravaganza (we are in Lebanon after all!).
The Beirut Souks and the entire renovation of downtown have been the topic of intense debate. If one forgets that the past ever existed and looks only at the present, downtown Beirut is absolutely beautiful.
The Souks, a contemporary interpretation of the traditional ones, are luxurious, highly secure, flanked by the Mediterranean on one side, renovated Ottoman-era buildings on the other and cupped by a range of mountains. I was able to take my mother shopping there because the Souks have been designed with handicap-access, a rarity here.
Far from upscale retail stores, sourced in rural Lebanon, this meal epitomizes simplicity.
Nutty, wholesome, extremely easy to prepare and refreshing, this is labaniyet al-burghul (from laban meaning yogurt in Arabic), inspired by a recipe in Chef Ramzi’s The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon.
- 1 1/2 cups of coarse bulgur, preferably whole-grain (not bleached)
- 4 cloves of garlic mashed with a dash of salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fat-free (or whole) yogurt
- a handful of pine nuts
- olive oil or butter, as needed to fry the pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses (optional)
- 1 chili pepper, diced and seeds mixed with the garlic for extra heat (optional)
- Rinse the bulgur and soak for thirty minutes in about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water; taste to make sure the grains are soft. Drain of any excess water.
- Mash the garlic with a dash of salt in a mortar, adding some chili pepper seeds if you like a little heat. Mix the mashed garlic with the yogurt. Melt some butter in a small skillet and fry the pine nuts till caramel-colored.
- Mix the yogurt mixture with the bulgur, adding some pomegranate molasses if you wish, and sprinkle the fried pine nuts on top. Add some diced peppers to the bulgur if you like as well.
37 Comments • Comments Feed
On September 18, 2010 at 11:34 am
This looks like really healthy comfort food. I just love the sour taste of labne. I bookmarked this page. I must have this for dinner one night this week.
On September 18, 2010 at 11:43 am
ton boulgur est une invitation au voyage merci !!Pierre
On September 18, 2010 at 11:55 am
Would love the opportunity to go check out this new souk! Now this recipe looks amazing but when I first saw the tittle I expected something sweet, not savory lol. I love bulgur and different grains but always forget to use them. Nice inspiration.
On September 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm
Sounds really exciting in Beirut these days! By the way, are you ever coming back to the US, that is the longest vacation I’ve ever heard off 😉
On September 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Oh I love Labaniyeh, simple and wholesome!
On September 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm
It is wonderfull how many cretan foods looks like yours foods!
On September 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Hi Joumana just did a 7 hour stint in Beirut Souks (cant feel my feet but i think they are still there) off to bed now will try the burghul tomorrow cheers…
On September 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm
Food Jihadist says:
It is wonderful that the new souks are handicap accessible. It’s something close to my heart, and here in Egypt, there is painfully little that can be safely accessed with a wheel chair. Do you ever use low-fat yoghurt or a mixture of the two. I try to like the non-fat stuff but just can’t seem to.
On September 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm
2Foodjihadist: to be honest, I use full fat yogurt most of the time; I am just trying to change the habit, but I think as soon as this pot is gone I will go back to the full fat, it is just way too much better!
On September 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm
Kitchen Butterfly says:
It looks lovely, I love ‘labneh’ and this looks great – I would use almonds instead as I’m not a pinenut fan. But what would you eat it with? Is it a side or a main?
On September 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm
@Kitchen Butterfly: This can be a main dish or a side dish; I had it for lunch so I was happy to eat it and nothing else.
On September 19, 2010 at 12:17 am
This is a cool dinner that tastes like summer, and screams freshness, it is a true texture of explosion, you can prepare this dish without slaving away for hours, or worrying over too many steps, I like how the yogurt adds creaminess and richness, and the pine nuts that extra crunch. Joumana dear, ladle this lovely meal into my bowl please, so that it will transport my taste buds to faraway Beirut.
On September 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm
Magic of Spice-Alish says:
That sounds like such a grand event…I am pleased that you were able to take your Mother along shopping. I have been looking for the pomegranate molasses, but have been unable to find it (maybe I could infuse? 🙂 This dish seems simple but amazingly flavorful 🙂
On September 18, 2010 at 8:11 pm
Thanks Joumana, this is another one that I will be trying very soon!
On September 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm
Sushma Mallya says:
looks delicious and healthy
On September 19, 2010 at 12:59 am
You must have a lot of fun there. This recipe has all my favorite ingredients.
On September 19, 2010 at 1:50 am
Ooh the pomegranate molasses sounds amazing! This sure does look wholesome and satisfying. I’d love to taste it!
On September 19, 2010 at 2:07 am
I love this dish!! Healthy and tasty!
On September 19, 2010 at 3:50 am
This is so fascinating…but as are all your dishes. It almost seems like a breakfast dish to me. I can’t imagine this as a wholly savory dish though…There seems to be such an intricate play of flavors. I love it!
On September 19, 2010 at 4:53 am
Angie's Recipes says:
Looks very special and delicious!
On September 19, 2010 at 7:05 am
A Canadian Foodie says:
Is that a photo from your apartment window? I thought you had a garden? Doesn’t the pomegranite molasses make all the difference. It sounds YUMMY to me. Garlic. YUM!
On September 19, 2010 at 8:47 am
Katie @Cozydelicious says:
The bulgur looks amazing! But taht fashion show sounds even more amazing… awesome!
On September 19, 2010 at 9:58 am
What a beautiful use for bulgur! It looks very creamy and satisfying. Love the bulgur’s nutty flavor too!
On September 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm
the day at the Souks with the fashion show et al sounds very interesting!
On September 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm
Whoa, looks just delicious, I have some bulgar in my kitchen that I now know just what to make.
On September 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm
It’s delicious and wonderful!
On September 20, 2010 at 5:50 am
Wow, looks so healthy and delicious.
On September 20, 2010 at 6:47 am
Fantastic. I have been wanting to do some fresh olives as they grow here in Florida. Thx. I also really like the yogurt recipe but I want to find some pom molassas; that sounds divine.
On September 20, 2010 at 8:34 am
wow i cant thank you enough for showcasing so many delectable arabic vegetarian fare 🙂 🙂
On September 20, 2010 at 8:49 am
T.W. Barritt says:
What an easy way to enjoy bulgur wheat – I really like the combination of flavors.
On September 20, 2010 at 10:06 am
Loved reading about the opening festivities, Joumana. What fun!
I must confess I don’t eat a lot of bulgur, but I love the looks of this. I bet the pomegrante molasses gave it such an unusual touch. Your photo is fabulous. Who could resist?
On September 20, 2010 at 11:25 am
Joumana, hi! Thanks for your comment – we’ve just had the most amazing summer – we were away for nearly 2 months ^_^ Did you know Beth at DIrty Kitchen Secrets is having a monthly mingle with Lebanese recipes? I might have to get some advice from you, I have no idea where to start!
On September 20, 2010 at 11:50 am
Beautiful dish. I am always fascinated by savory yogurt dishes as I just don’t think of doing it!! And can just taste it with a dash of pomegranate molasses. Delicious!
On September 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm
The renovated souks must be fun to explore. And, this dish sounds fantastic with the pomegranate molasses!
On September 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm
now that’s a bowl of creamy goodness if ever i saw one!
On September 23, 2010 at 10:20 am