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Tag: turkey

Bulgur wheat pilaf with chickpeas and tomatoes

We all would like to eat healthy but delicious food, I know for a fact that people are scared of healthy eating thinking it will be just be plain salads and soups. But we can eat healthy by incorporating more whole wheat grains in our diet. Epidemiological studies find that whole-grain intake can be protective against health conditions like cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, diabetes and obesity. Bulgur wheat, sometimes also called cracked wheat, is a lesser-known type of whole wheat durum grain. Compared to refined carbohydrate foods made with enriched or refined wheat, bulgur wheat is a much better source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

The difference between bulgur and most types of wheat flours used in many packaged products is that bulgur hasn’t been stripped (or “refined) of its bran and germ, which are where many of the nutrients are actually stored within a whole grain. Also it’s naturally cholesterol free.

Now that we know it’s good for us, how do we eat it? Bulgur is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and used in salads, kebabs and pilaf. Readers of this blog will know that I have earlier shared the recipe of Turkish kebab using bulgur. Today I will show you how to make a pilaf. It’s a simple hearty recipe that can be eaten just like that or goes well with yoghurt or as an accompaniment to any meat dish as served in Turkey.

Recipe:Bulgur wheat pilaf with chickpeas and tomatoes

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil for cooking

1 red onion finely chopped

1 red pepper finely chopped( I used a green one as didn’t have a red one at home, red pepper just adds to the color of the final recipe)

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

Chilli flakes as per taste

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 cup bulgur

1 can chopped tomatoes (I have used canned for convenience, you can use fresh tomatoes)

¾ cup vegetable stock or chicken stock

1 cup chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled

Salt and pepper as per taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Method

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion and pepper cook for 6-8 minutes till you can see the onion turning translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, chilli flakes and the tomato paste, cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the bulgur and stir well so that it well coated in the mixture. Add the chickpeas, tomato, stock , and salt and pepper; let it come to a boil on high. Reduce the heat and cover it for ten to fifteen minutes. Before serving garnish with the mint and parsley. Tastes awesome hot, but goes well as a salad, cold too.

Bulgur wheat pilaf

Bulgur wheat pilaf

 

 

Turkey in my thoughts-Turkish Bulgur Kofte

Reading the newspaper is a pain, every single page is full of murder, mayhem, suicide and bomb blasts. It is very easy to overlook and get used to this kind of news, but not when you have a connection, you are familiar with the place; its different. The past few weeks I have been reading about the military coup, the airport blast and the suicide bomb attacks in Turkey; and I compare it to the image of the Turkey I remember.

The Turkey I remember was of happy people , trams on congested roads, lots of café displaying mind boggling array of sweetmeats, and people sipping tea along the roads lined with tea houses and cafes.   We stayed in the Sultanahmet square in Istanbul and everything from the Grand bazaar to the blue mosque was in walking distance. Every morning I would start from hotel exploring the Grand bazaar or catching a tram to some other part of the city. The Bosphorus cruise was amazing with seagulls flying close to our ferry and how can I forget the  awesome seafood lunch in one of the numerous restaurant along the Bosphorus bridge.

But my most endearing food memory is the Turkish kebabs and the salad bar at various restaurants, the mind boggling type of kebabs, the variety of greens and the delicious bulgur kofte at the salad bar; and also a strawberry and cream on a pie dessert which I gorged on , but I unfortunately do not remember its name. But If you are ever in Istanbul, look for it in any café, just ask for the strawberry desert.

As I was reminiscing about Turkey I tried to make some Turkish kebabs at home, and I definitely wanted to use the bulgur I brought back home from Turkey, so here’s how I went about it.

Turkish Bulgur Kofte

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Ingredients

1/2 kg ground lamb

1/2 cup bulgur

1 –2 green chillies finely chopped

1 tsp chilly flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 big onion grated

handful parsley finely chopped

3 clove garlic minced

1/3 cup mint, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and ground pepper

Method

Pour hot water over the bulgur in a bowl, to barely cover it, let it stand for 10 minutes to soak, till done.

Add the rest of the ingredients  and salt and pepper to your taste.

Shape them into oval patties, cook them in a non stick frying pan with little oil, brown on both sides.

Turkish Bulgur Kofte

Turkish Bulgur Kofte

Spice up your life|bringing turkey home

Spice Market|Grand Bazaar; Turkey Source:weekendblitz.com

Traveling is a passion and the thing that I most look forward to when I travel is too roam the local markets and discover the hidden treasures. Buy souvenirs for friends and bring back memories from the travels which last beyond the journey. So as a habit before I travel I definitely scour the internet to understand which are the definite buys from the country I plan to visit.

While I was doing research for the trip before turkey, I discovered that the country is well known for its spices and particularly for a kind of red pepper unique to the country. Red pepper which is flaky in texture; intense red or orange in color and is also known as pul biber. It’s a pepper which without burning your palate gives a unique color and flavor to the food. It has a unique aroma, with a touch of saltiness (as salt is used while drying) and raisin like flavor. It can be used in place of red pepper or paprika.

 

So the mandatory trip to Grand bazaar was made (in my case multiple times), made easier by the fact that we were living right next to it. Nothing you might have read or heard about it really prepares you for the sight that this bazaar is! Even if you are a person who generally dislikes crowded places, which I must confess I am, cannot help but enjoy the spirit of this centuries old bazaar. I was mesmerized, hooked and enjoyed myself thoroughly bargaining with the shopkeepers.

So coming back to home I was desperately looking for ways to incorporate this exotic spice that I had brought back. I just didn’t want to substitute it into any other recipe for red pepper. Easier choice would have been to try and make a kebab of sort like the locals, but I am recently trying to eat healthy and was looking for such an option.

I finally found the Moroccan carrot & beet grated salad from simplyrecipes.com ( Moroccan Grated Carrot and Beet Salad )as the perfect platform to try out this exotic spice. I just simply substituted the paprika in the recipe with the pul biber. I have never had a more flavorful salad and also a very tasty way to incorporate beets into my diet. Please find the recipe below:

 

Moroccan grated carrot & beet Salad

Ingredients:

  1. Two cups carrots(grated)
  2. 1 cup beet(grated)
  3. ½ cup raisins
  4. ½ teaspoon pul biber(or paprika)
  5. ¼ tsp ground cumin
  6. ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Pinch of cayenne
  9. 2tbsps lemon juice
  10. 2tsps honey
  11. 2 tbsps mint leaves (optional)

Method

Wash the grated beets gently under water to remove the excess color. Remove the excess water and mix with the carrots & raisins. In a small bowl mix together the balance ingredients to prepare your dressing and mix gently with the carrot & beet mixture. Rest the mixture for an hour to let the dressing blend in well. Blend in the mint leaves last before serving, however I choose to skip it, it’s up to you to use it or not. Serve chilled.

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Moroccon Carrot & beet grated Salad

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