Turkish Tabbouleh (Kısır)
Kısır is the Turkish and different version of a Mediterranean/Arabic dish called tabbouleh. Although there are many differences between these two dishes, the main one is that the Turkish tabbouleh has tomato and pepper paste. In Turkey the recipe for kısır varies from region to region. In Adana they use more water than anywhere else or in Antakya (Hatay) they don't use water at all; they knead bulgur with tomato and pepper paste until it gets soft. However it's made, kısır is made everywhere in Turkey and is loved dearly. It is served sometimes with the afternoon tea, sometimes as a meze, and sometimes as a great summer dish you can enjoy when it's boiling hot outside.
2 cups of fıne bulgur
2 cups of hot water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pepper paste (preferably hot)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 small onion, cut in thin half rounds
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cucumber, finely chopped
2 banana peppers, finely choped
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
juice of 1 or 1/2 lemon (you have to taste and add less or more lemon juice)
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp mint flakes
1 tsp cumin
romain lettuce leaves
-Put tomato and pepper paste in a big bowl and melt them with boiling hot water. Add bulgur and 1 tsp salt into this mix. Stir once. Cover with a thick kitchen towel and let it soak the water for 10 minutes.
-Cut the onion in half first, then into very thin half-moon shapes. In a little bowl, knead onion with 1 tsp salt. Rinse salt and squeeze excessive water.
-Fluff bulgur with a fork. Add pepper flakes, ground pepper, cumin, mint flakes, oil, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, and kneaded onion. Mix well. At this point taste to see if it needs more lemon juice. Kısır should be a little bit sour.
-Add banana peppers, spring onions, cucumber, and parsley. Mix well.
-Kısır is served and eaten with lettuce leaves and tomatoes. We don't add tomatoes to kısır, because tomatoes make it mushy. So kısır is usually served on a lettuce bed (you can wrap some kısır in a lettuce leaf and eat like that) with slices of tomato on the side.
Although tabbouleh and kısır are different they have one ingredient that unites them: parsley. Parsley is a must-have both for tabbouleh and kısır. Don't even think about making tabbouleh/kısır without fresh parsley (parsley flakes would not work either) or substituting it with something else. That's why I thought this is a good recipe for WHB with its emphasis on my favorite herb parsley. WHB is back at home at Kalyn's this weekend.