Looking for a super delicious but easy-to-make side dish? Something that you can prepare beforehand for your lunch break at work? Mix it up a little with this classic of Anatolian cuisine! Kısır, or Kisir in English, is a traditional Turkish bulgur salad. It is served cold and mostly like a side dish or Meze but can also be found as a main dish sometimes. Kisir has a typical reddish color and its taste ranges from piquant to fruity.
Classic Kisir mainly contains bulgur, spring onions, tomatoes, parsley and mint with a seasoning of olive oil and spices. A popular addition is Nar ekşisi, Turkish pomegranate molasses, which gives the salad a special fruity-bitter flavor. As a Meze, a traditional Turkish appetizer, people often serve Kisir with or on big leaves of Romaine lettuce that can serve as edible spoons. Great accompaniments are fresh Pide or Simit. The bulgur salad can be easily stored in the fridge for a couple of days. For that reason, it is a great dish to prepare beforehand, especially since it usually tastes better on the second day, when all ingredients have blended and soaked well.
What’s the difference between Kisir and Tabbouleh?
Many people confuse Kisir with Levantine Tabbouleh or use it as a synonym. Although they are somewhat similar, you can easily spot the differences when taking a closer look. First of all, Tabbouleh consists of couscous and not bulgur. Also, it contains way more parsley than its Turkish counterpart. While Kisir is a bulgur salad with some parsley, Tabbouleh is rather a parsley salad with some grains, it that case couscous.
The use of these cereal foods in the middle east is not without a reason. Since the cultivation of wheat originated in the regions of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, it is no wonder that bulgur salad has been a basic aliment for centuries. Bulgur is cracked wheat that has been partially cooked. There are different grades of milling used for different dishes. While coarse bulgur finds use in rice-like eats, finely ground bulgur is best for salads like Kisir.
Kisir is a super fast and simple dish that is great as a side or to complement your barbecue. The traditional bulgur salad is vegetarian and even vegan. Thus, give it a try with our authentic recipe:
Tabbouleh from Lebanon and Syria
Eetch from Armenia
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Photos by SunnySideCircus