Turkish Tabouleh

As seen in the book Istanbul Cult Recipes by Pomme Larmoyer, this is a dish both sweet and sour which will surely delight your tastebuds and takes next to no time to whip up 

Kısır is Turkish tabouleh, traditionally made from burghul, tomatoes, capsicums (peppers) and fresh herbs. Hande Bozdoğan, the lovely founder of the Istanbul Culinary Institute, gave me her version, which is both sweet (from the beetroot) and sour (from the pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar). The pomegranate molasses used to dress this salad is very different from pomegranate juice, and far more like a thick vinegar. Do not overlook it because it has a unique sweet–sour flavour.

Preparation time 15 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes Serves 4

150 g (51/2 oz) fine burghul (bulgur)
2 beetroot (beets), trimmed, cooked and peeled (see note below)
extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 bulb spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
3 or 4 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs, finely chopped
2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
pul biber (Aleppo pepper) or other chilli flakes
1 generous teaspoon pomegranate molasses (available from Turkish or other Middle Eastern food shops, some supermarkets and online)

Bring 300 ml (101/2 fl oz) water to the boil in a saucepan, and add the burghul. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, then set aside.

Purée one of the beetroot in a blender or food processor with a little olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Dice the other beetroot, and add the diced beetroot and the purée to the burghul.

Next, add the spring onions, parsley, thyme, a pinch of chilli flakes and a good pinch of salt. Stir through, then add the pomegranate molasses and a little more olive oil. Stir through again, and serve cold.

Note: To cook beetroot, wrap them in foil and roast in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 1–11/2 hours. (Insert a knife into the flesh to check whether they are done: they are cooked when they are tender and the flesh is easily pierced.) Peel once they are cool enough to handle.

Image and recipe extracted with permission from Istanbul Cult Recipes, by Pomme Larmoyer, 2016, Murdoch Books, $55 

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