Healthy Mediterranean Salads Summer

Learn About Turkish Couscous Salad “kısır”

About Summer, that season of the year full of invitations to barbecues, dinners, and picnics of the type “that each one brings a dish”. kısır is one of them. Admit it, this phrase gives you the same amount of laziness as tremors: in these first decades of the twenty-first century, social gatherings that involve bringing homemade food have become real minefields.

If there are twenty guests, there can easily be forty diets, intolerances, allergies, and various nonsense. And you, raised on lentils with chorizo and resident in a country where the vegetable sandwich carries tuna, are torn between carrying a boring hummus or a predictable tabbouleh, but you have the hunch that you will not be the only one to resort to them.

The most consumed summer salad in Turkey is called kısır and is basically a distant cousin of tabbouleh. If the star ingredients of tabbouleh are mint and parsley, those of this meze -appetizer in Turkish- are a tomato concentrate called Salçası and another of red peppers called Acı Biber Salçası. The tabbouleh is green and refreshing, and the kısır is reddish and also refreshing, but with a very characteristic spicy touch.

There are as many ways to prepare this salad, There are those who mix the two concentrates, like us, and there are those who choose to use only one. As it is impossible to find Salçası and Acı Biber Salçası in our stores, we have replaced them with standard tomato concentrate and harissa, the Maghrebi paste of red peppers.

If you are not from cans, replace the concentrates with more tomato, pepper, and fresh red chili; it is a very versatile recipe that supports thousands of variations. For example, you can add white or red onion, garlic, green or yellow pepper, pickled pickles, pomegranate seeds and molasses, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, dill, coriander, cumin, cayenne or paprika and serve it together with large lettuce leaves.

Kısır is one of those dishes that almost tastes better the next day when the ingredients have been soaked in the juices. This summer do you have to work to lift the country? Let you know that this cold salad is a great office cup. Ah! And if you think there will be celiacs in the minefield, replace bulgur with quinoa or millet.

One of the most popular dishes

Kısır salad is by far one of the most popular dishes in Turkish cuisine. Each home cook makes a variation of kısır, and you’ll also find it in many restaurants serving casual and homely Turkish food. What makes kısır so popular? one, it contains fresh, nutritious, and inexpensive ingredients.

It’s also very easy to do, and a little bit is very, very long. Kısır is great for entertaining: its flavor improves as the salad rests so you can prepare it advance. It will keep very well in the refrigerator for several days.

You will recognize the kısır as soon as you see it. The pepper paste gives the bulgur a beautiful orange hue, and the mixture of fresh vegetables and herbs adds festive color. Kısır is most often served, believe it or not, at tea time along with other sweet and savory cakes. But since it complements grilled meats and chicken, it’s also perfect as part of a barbecue menu.

What is bulgur?

Bulgur, sometimes referred to as broken wheat, is a staple in Turkish pantries and is one of the most common ingredients in Turkish cuisine. It is used to make garnishes such as bulgur pilaf, added to thicken soups, kneaded into meatballs, and, one of my favorites, is included in cold salads such as bulgur salad and fresh herbs and kısır.

Bulgur is made by cooking, drying, and cracking (or grinding) wheat berries. It is usually made from durum wheat, but it can vary and can be in small or large pieces. Wheat, is not without carbohydrates, but it is a whole grain and high in fiber and folic acid.

How is kisir different from tabbouleh?

If you look at the ingredient list, you’ll probably recognize that many are also in tabbouleh. But there are two key differences:

The dressing for kisir is much thicker. It still includes lemon and olive oil, but it also has tomato paste and usually pomegranate molasses.

While some versions of tabbouleh that you’ll see abroad have a very Bulgarian base, it’s traditionally a very dense salad of herbs. Kisir uses a much smaller amount of herbs, cucumber, and tomato.

Turkish salad dressing from bulgur kisir

Some versions of kisir use a kind of semi-spicy red pepper flavor along with tomato paste, but for my part, I don’t feel this should be spicy.

In theory, you could omit pomegranate molasses, which is basically a syrup made from pomegranate juice. However, for me, it’s an essential part of the flavor and is easier to find than you think (you can get pomegranate molasses online if you can’t find it in the store’s affiliate link).

bulgur kisir Turkish salad mix

Kisir is traditionally served as part of a meze dish, where many small plates are served together at the beginning of the meal. However, it would be just as good as a garnish of grilled meat or vegetables, for example. It holds up well to transport you for a shared meal or a boxed lunch.

However you serve it, kisir is an easy and versatile salad that’s full of flavor. The soft bulgur is deliciously acidic from the dressing, with enough crunchy cucumber to add texture. Be sure to add it to your to-do list!

using different vegetables and herbs

Every Turkish household makes kısır with a slightly different mix of vegetables and herbs. Some like spicy and others like more onion and garlic. The best thing you can do is get creative with ingredients like colored peppers, green onions, crushed nuts, and even chopped beets, and pickles. Anything goes as long as it is fresh, colorful, and crispy.

You can find pepper paste in most grocery stores in the Middle East, Greece or Turkey or on websites that sell Turkish ingredients. Another alternative is to finely grate fresh red peppers of your choice and strain the juice to make your own pepper paste.

Turkish bulgur kisir salad sideways

Looking for ideas to serve with kisir? Try these:

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