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. Two popular condiments of Turkish cuisine often come into play. Nar ekşisi, Turkish pomegranate molasses, gives the salad a special fruity-bitter flavor while the tomato and paprika paste called Salça adds a tangy touch.
As a Meze, an expression for traditional Turkish appetizers, 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. Especially since the traditional Anatolian bulgur salad is not only vegetarian but even vegan. There isn’t much that can go wrong with this true allrounder. Just make sure that you use the right amount of water for the bulgur so that the salad doesn’t get too soaked or too dry. Using fresh herbs will make all the difference to any ready-to-eat version you can buy at convenience stores. Thus, give it a try with our authentic recipe below.
And if you are still on the hunt for other extraordinary dishes to spice up your buffet with some Mediterranean flair, you must check out Midye Dolma. I don’t think any seafood lover out there will be able to resist these incredible, rice-stuffed mussles from Turkey.
Here’s All You Need
Kısır: Traditional Turkish Bulgur Salad
- 300 g fine bulgur (köftelik)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Salça (spicy paprika paste)
- 3 spring onions
- 150 g tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp Nar Ekşisi (pomegranate syrup)
- 1- 2 tsp salt
- 1 clove of garlic
- dried mint
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 Romaine lettuce (optional, for serving)
- Wash the bulgur and fill it in a big bowl. Add the salt
- Heat up a pot with a good amount of water
- Pour the boiling water (amount according to the instructions on the bulgur pack) over the bulgur
- Let the bulgur soak until it becomes soft. If the water has disappeared completely and the bulgur is still hard, add more hot water
- Wash the spring onions and cut them into fine rings
- Wash the garlic and cut into fine cubes
- Wash the tomatoes, remove the cores and cut them into small cubes
- Roll the lemon on the kitchen counter, cut it in half and press out the juice
- Wash the parsley, remove the stems and cut finely
- When the bulgur is soft, add tomato and paprika paste, pomegranate syrup as well as olive oil and mix everything well to achieve an evenly red color
- Gently fold in the parsley, spring onions, garlic and mint
- Season the salad with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
- Let everything soak for a while in the fridge
- Serving option: wash the Romaine lettuce and pluck individual leaves. Place them on a plate and spoon a good serving of Kisir onto each of them
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of SunnySideCircus in your inbox!
Tabbouleh from Lebanon and Syria
Eetch from Armenia
Find more food and drinks from Turkey here.
Images by SunnySideCircus