Growing up I wasn’t really introduced to many cuisines around the world. In my town there was Mexican-tons of Mexican—and there were plenty of Chinese restaurants. Not Thai or Vietnamese or Japanese, just plain egg rolls and fried rice Chinese food. But a few months ago I ate bulgur for the first time as part of a yummy Middle Eastern dish.
I was hooked.
The bulgur was fluffy with the perfect amount of salt and it was made with just a little bit of turmeric to give it a nice smoky flavor. Served with some succulent chicken and beef soaked with coconut milk and seasoned with cumin and curry and a variety of spices. Needless to say I have spent the last few months trying to perfect the taste of the bulgur to no avail. Although bulgur requires the same 2 to 1 ratio as rice, it requires much less time to become too soggy to eat.
So to maintain the integrity of bulgur’s flavor, I just added a sautéed onion, a few cloves of garlic and 1 scallion once the cooking was done. Of course you can always choose to treat it as pasta or rice and add tomato sauce, béchamel or pesto, but I prefer it mostly naked.
The key to fluffy bulgur is the fork; it’s important. And monitoring because, unlike rice, you can feel free to check it as it cooks without worrying about screwing it up. Once it’s done let it sit for a few minutes (3 to 5) then fluff it with a fork. I promise it’ll make all the difference in the world.
Oh, and the best thing about bulgur is that it goes great with just about any type of vegetable or protein.
4 oz. filet of Salmon
2 cups fresh spinach, washed
¼ cup roasted red peppers
½ cup bulgur
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 oz. chopped feta
½ tsp. spicy paprika
1 tsp. dry basil
1. Bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil then stir in bulgur.
2. Let water return to boil, stir bulgur then simmer 15 minutes or until water has evaporated.
3. Remove from heat and let sit for several minutes before fluffing with a fork.
4. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
5. Season salmon with salt, pepper, paprika and basil on both sides.
6. Place in oven-safe dish and bake 15 minutes or until flaky & delicious.
For The Rest
7. Add olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat and add onion, cook for 5 minutes or until transparent.
8. Stir in 2 garlic cloves and scallion and cook for 3 minutes or until garlic browns slightly.
9. Add mixture to bulgur and stir.
10. Meanwhile, add last garlic clove and red pepper to skillet and cook for 2 minutes, then add in spinach and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until it begins to wilt.
11. Stir spinach mixture and feta cheese in with bulgur and serve.
I made the bulgur two ways because HE eats spinach and I don’t, and had salmon instead. If you make it all with the spinach, cook all 3 garlic cloves with the onion.