My love affair with all things bulgur continues despite a totally bulgur-less 9 days in England!
Back in my own kitchen and getting back into my old routine helps. And I really am a big fan of this nutty grain: I like its taste and the fact it’s so healthy and easy to cook.
I am also a pulse devotee: ie when I see lentils, red or green, mentioned in a recipe, the odds are that I will read on and in all probability try it.
Refika Birgül, the celebrity chef whose fab kitchen in Kuzguncuk is the one I have been using for my cooking classes, also has a similar recipe to this one which I have actually made and posted about. It’s called Mucandara Pilavı and originates from Cyprus while the origin of this one is Arabic. Are they related? Who knows? Both pilafs use green lentils, this one with walnuts, the other with sesame seeds. This one using butter and Refika‘s olive oil. But this one is a bulgur one while Refika‘s is a rice-based pilaf.
I actually think I prefer this one! The instructions are clearer apart from anything, and so are the measurements! This recipe comes from the book Bulgurun Halleri/Ways with Bulgur, that I mentioned recently, written by Nursen Doğan along with Refika.
- Boil the washed lentils in the water for 10-15 minutes. Do not overboil but do check for doneness.
- When they are cooked, do NOT throw away the remaining water in which they were cooked. Add the bulgur and 1 tsp salt to the pan. If necessary, add a little more hot water. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the grains have swelled and softened. Remove from heat.
- Heat the butter gently in a small pan and pour half of it over the pilaf. Then place the lid on top and leave to ‘rest’.
- Gently cook the chopped onion in the rest of the melted butter. Add 1 tsp salt and the sugar and cook till the onion caramelizes.
- Place the bulgur and lentils in a serving dish with the caramelized onion on top.
- Take the walnuts and heat them through in the pan in which you cooked the onion. (1-2 minutes).
- I needed to boil my lentils longer than the time stipulated here before they were done. I think it’s because they’d been in the store cupboard for some time so were that much harder and dryer.
- When you chop the onion, you may think it looks like a lot: in fact, once it cooks, it looks a whole lot less. I think a second one wouldn’t come amiss!