Bulgur Pilavi - Places & Spaces

Bulgur Pilavi

The first time I ate Bulgur Pilavi was during my trip to Istanbul with my bestie Loran. After strolling around in the Grand bazar we were hungry. So we settled down at a small restaurant that was hidden behind the bazar. It wasn’t anything fancy. We ordered two small dishes: a small plate of rice with chickpeas and something I thought was rice with tomato sauce: bulgur. I took a bite and my tastebuds went nuts. “HOLY MOLY, THIS SHIT IS GOOD!” … that was my first thought.


Photos by Ivar de Jong

Bulgur is like rice but better. It is made from durum wheat and is full of proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. It is a good substitute for rice, pasta, couscous or potatoes. Not only you can use it in savory dishes but it works in sweet dishes as well. In India they eat it with milk and sugar for breakfast. In South- America they make burgers during Carnaval. In Turkey, they just cook it in a tomato sauce and serve it as a side dish. I can tell you this is my all-time favorite dish, ever. It’s really a bowl of comfort and admit it, who doesn’t like comfort food? It’s even better when you eat it with some Zahlouk.



You can find different types of bulgur, fine or crushed. For this recipe we need some crushed Bulgur. You can buy bulgur at basically every Middle-Eastern store. If you don’t know which you need to have, just ask them. They can probably tell you everything about it. You can also find it at your local whole foods market or if you have a awesome fancy local supermarket you will also find it there.

Bulgur Pilav
Serves 2

1 cup Bulgur Pilavi (make sure you buy the crushed one)
1 shallot
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
Knob of butter (if you are vegan you can substitute with coconut oil)

Heat up a knob coconut oil in a medium sized pan. In the mean time, mince the garlic and the shallot. When the butter has melted, throw in the garlic and shallots with two tablespoon of tomato paste and a good pinch of salt. Give it a stir and let it sit until it becomes fragrant. Don’t burn it! When all the ingredients release the flavors put 1 cup of bulgur in and stir until the bulgur is covered with the tomato mixture. Turn down the heat a little bit and pour 2 cups of water, and put a lid on it. Let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure that it won’t burn.
After 15 to 20 minutes the bulgur should have soaked up all the water. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a good 10 minutes. Taste the best when you serve it warm with some fresh mint leaves.

Note: If you want to serve it as a salad make sure it is cooled down before you add the mint leaves.


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