Kisir with walnuts
Ottolenghi recipes have been on my to do list for ages – I’ve been fawning about how awesome they would be…and never actually making any of them, until now. This kisir (which is apparently a Turkish dish with the core ingredients being bulgur*, tomato and parsley) has egged me on to try more of the exciting recipes on the blog, and eventually when I save up enough, one of the books.
*I got mine at Liberty Market who sell it in bulk, but Piko also sell it. EDIT: Actually I saw some at the supermarket in the bulk aisle too! It’s about $5-6 per kilo, which isn’t bad considering it’s quite good for you and also super quick to cook (a bit like couscous). I was worried it would be too hard but it has a really nice texture – not as soft as cous cous, and a bit chewier but in a nice way.
This is maaaybe because the recipes I’ve been looking at have a bajillion ingredients in them. Not just lots, but I mean…pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses? In the end I just shrugged and made a simplified version of Ottolenghi’s kisir, something which I can happily switch up a little with things I have lying around. It still exceeded my fawning expectations too! Past experiences with pomegranate molasses were delicious but exceptionally fruit. This managed not to let any of the otherwise domineering flavours elbow everyone out of the way. They all played together lovely: savoury and rich with a hint of fruitiness and a warmth from the cumin and depth provided by two simple herbs (spring onions and parsley). Now I really want Plenty.
This dish really defied a lot of things I thought I knew about making tastiness happen. Usually I always brown my onions, but their slight crunchiness here were perfect. I did not think bulgur would cook like couscous, but it basically does, and does a wonderful job of soaking up the flavours here. To replace the pomegranate seeds I added some walnuts for extra richness and crunch, and they worked really nicely in this. However I feel I have even more faith in Ottolenghi’s recipes now, so feel free to go by the original. Consider this the slightly pared back version if you like, when you want luxury and lightness and flavour…but on a weeknight. Plus the walnuts make this much a complete meal. Any other ideas about what to switch in? I’m thinking olives could be yummy, or lightly browned and still crunchy cauliflower.
Kisir with walnuts
serves 2 for dinner on its own, or 4 as a side – the bulgur expands like nobody’s business!
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- a few Tbs cooking oil
- around 300ml tomato passata or puree, or 1 T tomato puree + 2 chopped tomatoes
- 60ml water
- 200g fine bulgur (about the size of couscous)
- just under 1 Tbs pomegranate molasses
- juice of half a lemon
- chopped fresh parsley, spring onions and mint (I didn’t have mint)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin (if you like cumin you can up this amount a little)
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling/serving – you can really taste this in a good way, so it’s worth using here
- two handfuls or walnuts (you could also use toasted pine nuts…this is probably where you can experiment with different additions)