This sharp-tasting, orange-coloured wheat dish often appears as part of a meze on restaurant tables across Istanbul. Every cook makes it differently, depending on where in Turkey they come from: some add crisp lettuce and chopped cucumber; others make it with dried mint or fresh dill. Treat this is as the base recipe and experiment with different ingredients. It’s not dissimilar to tabbouleh and is great as a side to cooked meats or as a hearty salad. If you don’t have Turkish tomato paste or red pepper paste you won’t get the bright colour, but don’t worry, just add extra fresh tomato and perhaps half a finely diced red (bell) pepper.
© 2019 Rebecca Seal / Hardie Grant Books · Reproduced with permission. · Istanbul by Rebecca Seal (£25, Hardie Grant) photography: Steven Joyce
You Will Need
Cook or rehydrate the burghul wheat according to the packet instructions and taste to check it is not still hard and grainy (I usually cover it with boiling water and leave for 15–20 minutes, then fluff up with a fork). When cool enough to handle, add the tomato paste, pepper paste and onion and gently rub everything together with your hands until it is thoroughly combined and an even red-orange colour. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly again. Taste and season, if necessary. Add more olive oil, pomegranate molasses or lemon juice too, if you like. Chill for 30 minutes before serving (if you have time).