I was thinking of from which recipe to stary my Turkish cuisine favorites. It had to be easily done anywhere in the world, it had to be fit and healthy and definately should be at the top of my list! So the answer is easy, that is KISIR !
Now, there is one issue, it is difficult to pronounce KISIR as the “i” without the dot does not exist in English! But anyway, this is not a problem to enjoy this great food!
One might say that it is the Turkish style Tabbouleh but I prefer not to as any variation to the original recipe of kisir is not a kisir for me! The ingredients are similiar but there are some additions and it is those variations that makes it so unique and delicious! First of all bulgur is such a divine product and is always at the top of my list when you talk about “superfoods”. It is nicely explained in this site:
“This Middle Eastern staple sounds more exotic than it is; bulgur is what’s left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed. This cereal grain has been a food staple for years because it offers an inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a wonderfully nutritious addition to your low-calorie meal plan. High in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, bulgur is another food that offers bulk and nutrients to fill you up without adding pounds. One thing to keep in mind, a cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.”
According to NYT blog Well, it is also a great substitute for rice because it has more fiber and nutrients and is also a low glycemic index food. To me, it is delicious, it is healthy, it is something that’s never enough and that you can make tens of different recipes, all are nothing but great!! I am from Istanbul and I did not know these delicous different recipes until I got married to my husband and met his great family, from the Middle-East part of the country. There, bulgur is like the basics of nutirtion, on the table in different forms almost everyday! So I had the chance to taste many different recipes since then. Here is a great example of one of those tables from Aunt Fatoş, where you can find Sini Köftesi, Kisir, İçli Köfte all together, what a feast!
So, as you can see, you can basically make different forms of pilav, salads or köftes using bulgur and mixing it with spcices, herbs and sometimes meat. You can use all you creativity for it! Below is my second favorite, bulgur and red lentil köfte …
Finally, our family secret recipe of Kisir! It is originally from my mother-in-low Gülseren Ayik and I assure you that it is one of the best you can eat. I hope you can find all the ingredients you need. Even in geneva, I can find most of it in the Middle-Eastern corners in supermarkets or some specific stores that sell them.
2 cups of fine brown bulgur (it is not the usual yellow one, but a darker color and finest version – you can find in Manor in Geneva)
1 cup boiling water
2 medium onions
1 bunch of mint, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 bunch of green onions
3 tablespoons dried and crushed mint
2 teaspoon dried and crushed red pepper (paprika flakes)
1 teaspoon isot pepper (dark, dried and crushed red pepper)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper paste and 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses/sauce (condensed pure pomagranate juice without sugar but if you can not find, replace it with lemon juice. There is a recipe here but make it without sugar if you can to have the original taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more if you like more juicy and oily)
Chop the onions very very fine (with a knife preferably although it is painful!)
In a deep pot, add bulgur, tomato and pepper paste, onion and mix well
Add the boiling water (some add boiled tomato juice instead of water to make it even more tasty!), stir well and cover again to rest about 20 minutes. Bulgur should be somewhere between soft and al dente (if bulgur is not soft enough you can increase the amount of water but add very little).
Meanwhile, chop all the greens very fine.
At the end of 20 minutes, first add all spices (mint, cumin, red-and-black peppers) and mix thoroughly. Tomato paste and spices should be evenly dispersed everywhere.
Add the finely chopped greens.
Finally add olive oil-lemon-pomegranate molasses. Mix well and add a little more of the spices or sauce according to your taste. I love it with lots of cumin, very sour and medium spicy.
You can serve your kisir in different ways as below, in portion cups with a slice of lemon (and even some lettuce would be good) or inside nacho shells with some lettuce to decorate.